Friday, July 29, 2011

Movie Review: Captain America – The First Avenger

Days before the premier showing of Captain America, I intently did some research about this Marvel character who, admittedly, is the least of the comic book superheroes I’ve grown to like reading. It’s not that the story failed to interest me, but because among the comic books I got when I was young, Avengers copies were the most few. But as a former comic book aficionado, at least my knowledge about the Cap is not totally zero.

Like the X-Men, Green Lantern, and Batman, Captain America is included in my list of favorites. Why? Because they’re real people who eventually became superheroes. Their stories and ordeals are more veered towards reality. I am also glad to know the humble beginnings of Steve Rogers as a lanky, skinny and weakling guy who possesses the courage of a thousand men. It was also enlightening for me to find out that Captain America was actually used as government propaganda to stir up public patriotism during World War 2. Mr. Stan Lee found the story quite interesting that’s why it was resurrected in Marvel Comic books in the 1960’s.

As to the outcome of the movie, I found it funny how diverse are the views of a lot of people. For those who are not much of a comic fan, this film will never fail to entertain the viewers. It is an action-packed, exciting movie amplified by CGI animations filmed in 3D.

On the other hand, hard-core Marvel comic followers, who I think are the most sophisticated viewers, may find this a little unsatisfactory because it might miss a lot of their pre-conceived expectations. That is what happens when comic book fans become too immersed in the original story manuscript -- the comic book becomes like the “Bible” to them. Anything that is way off from the original is a betrayal of their anticipations. But the superb cinematography and CGI applications will surely get a lot of praises from the general movie goers and Marvel fans alike, most especially how they digitally super imposed the head of Chris Evans on the body of a skinny 90 pounder asthmatic person.

As to the actors and actresses who played the characters, discontent may also come out in some Fantastic Four fans that were accustomed to see Chris Evens as the “Human Torch” who is the kind of childish, easy-go-lucky type of character rather than the straight patriotic image that Captain Steve Rogers portrays. For the sophisticated movie Marvel gurus, it’s like an unspoken taboo for an actor to portray the personhood of two different super heroes where in this case the Torch became an Avenger character himself. It’s a bit awkward. But Hugo Weaving for me fits the character of Red Skull perfectly and the accent is exactly the way I pictured him to be. I’m also glad to see Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Philips because his caustic humor adds comic relief to the whole story.

Joe Johnston, the director of the film did superb work in connecting this Marvel installment to the much bigger Avengers story. Howard Stark also came into the picture which gave us bits and pieces of information about the story of Iron Man in the present. The biggest takeaway, of course, was revealed in the traditional Marvel films post credit sneak peek where snap shots of members of the Avengers were brought in to make us all excited to see them in action next year.
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