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Friday, August 5, 2011

Rath's Reviews: Captain America The First Avenger

As the final "piece" to Marvel's humongous, world-altering, nerdgasm-inducing Avengers movie due next summer, Captain America comes so so close to being the best of the bunch (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor).

Without giving too much away, lets just say that I was not expecting so much supernatural activity within the movie, especially concerning its main villain. This was not necessarily the main problem with the film, but I think the movie would have been better if the villain would have been Hitler himself or if it would have toned down the mythical aspects.

However, for me personally, the weakest part of the movie was directly after the beginning of the movie, once Steve Rogers essentially transforms into the Captain. This section of the movie seems slow, and while it is necessary to the story, there was just something about it that made me ask myself, "When is this movie going to get going?"

Gripes aside, the movie does pick up, and besides the first Iron Man, it has the most real characters of any of the other Avenger-to-be movies. I really believed that Chris Evans was a symbol for patriotism and that inside that ripped physique, he was still the small scrawny kid that is introduced initially. His love interest, played by the shockingly pretty Hayley Atwell, is by far the most real romance in the series of films, surpassing Robert Downey Jr. and Gwenyth Paltrow's easily. Also, I must make a shout-out to Tommy Lee Jones who is absolutely hilarious in the movie. As the gritty old general, his one-liners provide at least 90% of the film's laughs.


Another thing that I really like about the film is its style and aura that it creates. Their are two distinct time periods of the film: the present, and the past (during World War II). When the film is in the present the lighting is sharp and similar to most action movies today...just very crisp. But the film really shines when it is in the WWII era. The film's colors are softer, and there is a sort of "blend" between colors with a dimmer lighting technique. It helps to create the belief that this is an old movie, filmed with old cameras, and it really sets you in perfectly in the time period. The special effects, while no where near the best of the summer (that goes to Harry Potter and Transformers) are believable, and for some reason they seem to get better as the movie progresses.  The first action sequence I remember thinking that it looked pretty fake, and in the more-intense final action sequences, I was really immersed because of the effects.

Overall, Captain America does a good job of delivering the origin story of America's most patriotic hero and avoiding the "set-up syndrome" that plagued Iron Man 2 and Thor. It feels like a movie by itself, and besides the very beginning and end, you would really have no clue that it has to do with the Marvel Avenger movie. Just make sure to stay through the credits on this one ;-)

Pros:
  • Great visual style, reminiscent of classics
  • Real characters are focus of story, good romance
  • Tommy Lee Jones' one-liners
  • That costume...is so sick
  • Avenger's trailer gets the major hype-train rolling
Cons:
  • Weird middle section
  • Weak SFX in first few action sequences
  • Supernatural presence
  • Hugo Weaving's German accent
Rath's Review Score: 7.5/10

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