Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Captain America - The First Avenger: Movie Review

Captain America - The First Avenger: Movie Review

Captain America - The First Avenger
Rating: 6/10
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Dominic Cooper
Director: Joe Johnston
So, another film from the Marvel juggernaut heads our way ahead of the release of the super powered The Avengers next year.
This time, it's the turn of Steve Rogers aka Captain America to take the centre stage ahead of the launch of the franchise.
Rogers is a weedy, asthmatic runt of a man whose quest to sign up for the American army and take on the Nazis is continually turned down because of his imperfect physique.
Overhearing one of his pleas to join up, Rogers is co-opted by Dr Abraham Erskine (a brilliant character turn from Tucci) into a platoon run by Tommy Lee Jones' Colonel Chester Phillips which is aimed at creating a super soldier to win the war.
With the injection of a super serum, Rogers goes from weedy wannabe to buff bodied hero - however, at the same time, Nazi Germany is gearing up for takeover with the help of the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) who's using technology from Odin's world and the might of his underground organisation HYDRA to push the weapons as far as they can go...and take over the world.
Well, let's get the good out of the way - Chris Evans is very good as the all American pie hero Rogers/ Cap America; he brings a real extra dimension to what is essentially only a one dimensional character. Rogers' whole mantra is "I don't like bullies - I don't care where they're from" and it doesn't really make for an in depth character to root for. Plus the Captain could do with a dash of something to prick his pomposity, be it self deprecation or a bit of sly humour.
Adding to the experience are Tommy Lee Jones as the gruff Colonel (who's given the lion share of the best lines) and Stanley Tucci as Dr Erskine - their turns give it a dash of humour that it desperately needs. And Hayley Atwell adds the requisite amount of heart and glamour as a British agent who's got more than a passing romantic interest in Rogers before and after his transformation.
Hugo Weaving's Red Skull chews up a little of the scenery and is a reasonable kind of villain but his ultimate defeat is so brief, you suspect he'll be cropping up in the Avengers next year.
Credit has to go to the digital team who've done a great job of digitally shrinking Evans down into his weedier version pre-transformation - the work is seamless, visually impressive and ranks as one of the best effects committed to celluloid thus far this year.
The whole Captain America affair is a kind of Boys' Own derring do, Saturday matinee piece of patriotic fluff. As a set up piece and origin story, it's slight and feels inconsequential to the likes of Thor, Iron Man et al. It does score points though for a song and dance routine...
There's nothing inherently wrong with this slightly cheesy, cornball, slow mo action shots explosion fest but it does feel like it's been shoehorned into release schedules to ensure everything's in line for the Avengers. It's only credit to Chris Evans that the film manages to work.

Talking of the Avengers, if you want a sneak peek at said film from Joss Whedon, stay through the very original and nicely presented credits.

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