Sunday, July 24, 2011

Captain America: My new favorite comic book movie

Captain America Retro Poster by Paolo Rivera
My headline says it all.  Previously, my fav comic book film was Spider-Man 2.  Going into this year, I had anticipated liking Green Lantern or Thor more than Captain America.  Green Lantern fizzled for me and Thor was pretty good but I missed a lot of stuff from the comics.  The adaption of Cap’s origin by director Joe Johnston worked almost perfectly for me.  The flavor of the World War II era is reflected beautifully throughout the scenes from New York to basic training to a USO tour that Steve Rogers joins.  The casting was pitch perfect, all the way from Chris Evans as Steve Rogers to Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving.  The actors make this fantastic story come to life by establishing an emotional connection with each other.  I really believed Stanley Tucci as Doctor Erskine.  Even Weaving as the Red Skull, while going over the top, makes it believable.
Here are some of my favorite bits:
  • The easter egg at the World’s Fair.  Did you see the Human Torch in the glass cage?
  • The continuity tie-in with Thor’s father Odin and the World Tree Yggdrasil.
  • How Captain America punched Hitler in the US Bonds tour.
  • How Captain America #1 cover reflects Cap’s tour.
  • Bucky is portrayed more like Brubaker’s version.
  • The Howling Commandos in action.  Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan!
  • Every time Cap threw his mighty shield.
  • Every time the Hydra oath was recited.
  • The last action scene with the plane harkened back to truck scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Not only was the direction, writing, acting great, so was the cinematography and the soundtrack.  While the film is obviously fantasy, it is firmly grounded in a lot of imagery from World War II propaganda.  It was really a great touch with the closing credits, seeing all those famous images along with Alan Silvestri’s great music.  Nuff Said!


  1. I think you'll find that Cap 'threw' his shield - not 'through' it.)

  2. Thanks, Kid! I hate to make that kind of mistake. :-)

  3. Wow, I am stunned at how people love this movie. I thought there was little to no characterization (the Howling Commandos weren't even introduced, they were just all of a sudden... there), Chris Evans had no heft whatsoever, hated how the Nazis were quickly supplanted by Hydra as the villains of the film, thought the Red Skull was way too cartoony and in the end, it just felt like a two hour ad for The Avengers. To me, this was the weakest of the four superhero movies this year (yes, even more than Green Lantern).

  4. You bring up a good point, Pops, about the Howling Commandos. I suppose an outside comics fan would have difficulty knowing who they were. I was a bit disappointed that Fury wasn't part of the team.

    I thought Chris Evans did a great job in the role, though. Especially the scenes as young skinny Steve Rogers. The writers handled the transition from USO clown Cap to real Cap pretty well.

  5. Loved the first half until Steve was
    transformed and took out the Hydra spy who shot Erskine........after that i thought the film lost its way and never got back on track. Cap ridiculed by the troops was not the way i think he should have been potrayed, i would have had a montage of training here in the U.S. take the place of the whole USO sequence, and then cut to the tropps on the front in europe talking amonst themselves about some mysterious commando that is deep in enemy territory dealing huge blows to the nazis, gradually Caps presence is revealved, troops inherently admire him, civilians back home see him in newsreel footage, also helping to reinforce the "Legend" of Cap to the world at large. I also would have made Dum Dum and the Howling commandoes Caps instructors in the earlier training montage. Pre Cap Steve may have also been better served shown excelling at military strategy and history before his transformation, that way, all he would have been lacking would be the physical prowess to go along with his already formidable military and tactical know how. Cap is a leader of men and a unparalleled strategist, he certainly didn't aquire those abilities doing a USO tour across America........ And Bucky exited the movie WAY too early for me......he shoulda been there at the end on the plane.......but the Skulls plan is a whole other issue i have problems with. LOVED the production design and the Skull makeup was sweet. The New York/40's stuff was awesome. 6 outta 10......... liked Thor best so far this summer, x-men close behind it....neither perfect by any means.....but a bit more entertaining overall for me! havent seen GL yet........

  6. I agree that X-Men First Class was a lot of fun. Thor had some good moments, I loved the Asgard stuff, but wish Thor had been able to kick ass on Earth a bit more.

    The USO stuff did not bother me. I liked it because it was part of the WW2 propaganda and money raising machine. It was almost meta-textual, as Cap himself was created in this WW2 frenzy of imagery to defeat the Third Reich.


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