Now my only problem is that the movie is called Captain America: The First Avenger. Well, actually he was the sixth Avenger.
With a movie like this I think of how I would recommend to a girlfriend, a comic book reader like myself and to my brother. My brother, who I have gone to movies with for 50 years, didn’t really read comics but likes action and adventure films.
I very much enjoyed this movie, rating it slightly higher than Thor. It would also be a good action and adventure movie for my brother. I think that it would be iffy as a date movie.
I enjoyed the 3D here and at one point, I actually ducked when the shield was thrown! It was used well and was not a distraction as it often is. I still hate the glasses after 20 minutes.
The storyline here begins and ends with the traditional Marvel link to what has happened and what will yet be. That is, Marvel has been leading up to an Avengers Movie.
Now the movie follows the original origin, but it really develops the early character or Steve Rogers and Dr. Erskine (not Reinstein) and follows the super soldier experiment very much like Kirby’s Captain America #109. The best part of the movie was the casting. Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci are just perfect in their roles. And I was surprised to discover that Chris Evans was also ideal. Tucci has the best line of the movie when he says something like, “When the Nazis took over the first country they invaded was their own.
But this is really a love letter to Kirby. They not only use Zeta Rays, but the Howlers, Armin Zola, Bucky, Tales of Asgard, the Cosmic Cube, Sharon Carter, and the Human Torch are shown. (Remember there is a Kirby Torch and he was played by Evans).
Most of the movie takes place during a two year period in the middle of WW2. The Red Skull, nicely played by Hugo Weaving, is the villain. He leads a group of Nazis who do scientific research. They call themselves: HYDRA! So Hydra’s Nazi origins, initiated by Jim Steranko, are developed well.
Seriously, I wished that the makers of the Green Lantern movie had seen this. It was fast paced, but stayed on target. They work hard to align the Red Skull’s origin with Cap so the movie doesn’t have to Segway into different plots. But Cap, in his first movie, fought his worst enemy. Green Lantern spent the whole movie setting on a confrontation for a sequel that might never come.
Please stay through the credits, there is more movies at the end of them. If you want more details, and comic connections, read on.
The last 90 minutes are really the Lee and Kirby Captain America that I had gotten to know.
Now, if you follow comics, you know that Steve Rodgers became a Capsicle, frozen in ice for 20 years before he was recovered by the Avengers. The movie begins with the finding of the frozen Cap (not by the Avengers) and then flashbacks to WW2
Now the movie follows the original origin, but it really develops the early character or Steve Rogers and Dr. Erskine (not Reinstein) and follows the super soldier experiment very much like Kirby’s Captain America #109. But here, the good doctor explains why he chose Steve Rogers. The pair become very close.
Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, a soldier and the love interest. To me this was the only immediately noticeable flaw in the movie. She pops up as a recruiter, trainer, soldier, radio operator and even file clerk. They pushed this a bit too hard.
There is now a formula to these movies.
1. We are introduced to the character and his supporting characters.
2. Character gains his abilities or powers.
3. Hilarity ensures as he discovers and tries out his powers.
4. He gets a costume.
5. He goes on “Superman’s First Night” (Remember that scene from the 1976 movie?)
6. Since Spider-Man, all heroes have to have a reason for feeling guilty. Spider-Man feels he caused the loss of Uncle Ben; Batman now feels that when made his parents leave the theatre it caused their demise. Even on Smallville Clark goes through this about Jonathan Kent.
Then we go through steps 1, 2 and 4 for the villain. Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, and now here change that just a bit. They incorporated the villain’s origin into the hero’s, eliminating steps 1 and 2.
Bucky is onboard as a soldier, not a sidekick. And when Cap goes on a mission, he takes the Howlers, or at least most of them. Nick Fury is saved for the end. And Yes, Cap goes though step #6 for Bucky.
Howard Stark, Tony’s father is featured in the movie. While we know who he is just by his name, they successfully make his a standalone character. And it is he who gives Cap his shield and tells him that it is made from vibranium.
The Director seems to go out of his way NOT to use Cap’s costume. And when he does, Cap is usually wearing something over it.
The movie ends with Cap in Present time, 70 years late for a date with Sharon Carter. After the credits there is a scene with the Avengers.
I got the Blu-Ray 3D edition, which has some Bonus features. I very much enjoyed these bonuses, but let me clarify something first. I almost never listen to the commentaries. These “lectures” always have times when the director has to feel you how great everyone was AND dead spots where there is little to say. But what is your opinion, we’d like to know. To me it is a boring way to see the movie again. I prefer an interview or feature with the cast and director.
First, continued from the Thor disc is a five minute mini movie, having nothing to do with Cap, but, apparently with the Avengers Initiative. It’s called, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.” A SHIELD Agent gets involved in a quickie store holdup. It was fun to watch, but not self-explanatory. You have to have had seen the Thor disc.
The extras are divided into several categories. First, are the special effects on how they created Steve Rogers and changed him into Cap. They not only explain how they did it, but why they did it that way. We learn that most of it was computer graphics but they also used a body double. There is also a feature with Joe Simon discussing how Captain America and the Red Skull were created.
The feature on the Red Skull surprised me. It was NOT all a mask, but his nose and chin were computer generated throughout the movie.
The feature on the Howling Commandos were fun. We meet the actors who played the various parts, many, I am sure, did not know who a Howler was until the made the movie. Many “new” Howlers were presented, and a few, sadly were not there. Here they also explain the change in roles for Bucky. It was OK in a comic to have Bucky be a “Robin” type character, but on the big screen, putting a teenager in jeopardy was not good.
I like, very much, when they don’t incorporate the deleted scenes in a movie then call it a Director’s Cut. Here, they show a few scenes, including a redoing of the last scene of the movie, and explain why each scene was not used. It runs about 10 minutes. The deleted scenes in the Thor DVD lasted about 40 minutes.
A few words about Blu-Ray: If you have a newer TV set about 40 inches or more, please consider getting a Blu-Ray player that converts. The picture is just far sharper, detailed and more colorful. An upscaler will improve the images of you regular DVDs. If you have a surround sound system, the vibrancy and detail in the sound is noticeable too.
Blu-Ray players start at $80 and my friend bought a Panasonic for $100 at Best Buy. You don’t have to replace all your DVDs but your new discs can be Blu-Ray. There is, however, at Amazon an $8 difference in price between regular and Blu-ray editions ($26 and $17), although the price differences are coming down.
One more point: I have bought, with great success, used discs through Amazon. There is no risk because they are guaranteed. The used Blu-Ray Cap is also $18 while the used DVD is $16.
My new TV does 3-D so I wanted to get just a few 3-D movies.