Monday, January 16, 2012

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - Review

There's one glaring flaw with superhero movies. They're formulaic. Some have managed to stand out as great action films, like the '89 Batman and the Spider-Man films, but lately it seems like every comic book movie is the exact same. And therein lies Captain America's biggest downfall: it blends in.

For one, the film misses the mark when it comes to the cast. Chris Evans, as title character/Steve Rogers, is pretty miscast, I think. He does a fine job, but this is a super straight-laced, almost Superman-like character without much of a personality to speak of. Thus, none of Evans' sarcastic charm shines through. Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull is actually rather bad. Nevermind that he's a paper-thin villain with the flimsiest of motivations, but Weaving brings absolutely nothing to the role, basically sleepwalking through the whole film. Tommy Lee Jones plays Tommy Lee Jones, and everyone else basically blends in.

The plot is pretty inconsequential. The alternate history idea involving WWII is pretty cool, though it certainly has been done before (Inglourious Basterds) and isn't focused on too much. Everything moves along as you might expect from any movie helmed by Marvel Studios; the only thing especially unique is that after the first action scene, the film slows down considerably for about 45 minutes, which is oddly long for an action movie. In fact, it's this chunk in the middle that's probably the most interesting, showing Steve Rogers rise to fame as Captain America.

That's not to say the movie is bad; it's pretty good for what it is, which is a generic action movie. There's a few pretty cool scenes. The fight on the train is rather cool, and the battle on top of a huge missile is admittedly innovative. But the whole thing feels rather heartless. You won't have a miserable time watching it, it's a fun enough movie. It's just you can only watch the same film so many times before it gets old; it's the same reason that 99% of romantic comedies are absolutely garbage. If you're a fan of the character or superhero movies in general, go ahead and give it a watch, but Spider-Man this ain't.

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