CAPTAIN AMERICA: The First Avenger (2011)

TMG Scale 8.5
Starring Chris Evans, Haylee Atwell,  Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Samuel Jackson (cameo)

It is WWII.  A scrawny but mentally tough and gung-ho soldier wannabe,  Steve Rogers (Evans)  is deemed unfit for military service (a”4F” in military lingo). Rogers is recruited by a US black project scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Tucci) to volunteer for a top secret research project that transforms his body  into Captain America—-a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals. In the interim, the new Captain America develops a romance for military specialist Peggy Carter (Atwell)  who follows his progress from pathetic war bonds salesman to real war hero.  Captain America’s  job is to kill Nazis and stop Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull (Weaving)  from using the same stolen technology for the Germans.

I would describe this film as a hybrid of Superman, Inglorious Bastards and Pearl Harbor. It really had the makings of a truly great film until it got bogged down in too many gratuitous fight scenes and comic book silliness. Tommy Lee Jones deserves much credit for making the movie a serious effort in both drama and comedy.

I had to laugh at the opening scene as being filmed worse than Ice Station Zebra (1968). Here these guys were almost at the North Pole in sub zero temperatures, blowing wind and fake snow and they did not remotely look or act a bit cold. The escape plane used by Red Skull, featured later in the film,  is based upon some fact. This  flying bat wing dates to a model from 1947, the Northrup YB-49. However it never flew until 1947—well after the end of WWII. It looks much like a modern B-2 Spirit.   TMG recently got to sit in the cockpit a of a B-2, and while a hundred times smaller in the cockpit than the plane featured in this film, the real B-2 is just about the coolest plane most people will never experience the inside of-—too bad. It never was explained why Captain America had to crash the plane rather than try to land it—a story tick conjured up to explain how Captain America re-appears 70 years later. It might have been better left for the sequel.

One take from this film is a new expression in the American nomenclature,  “Do you fondu?” This expression will certainly make the bar and dorm room rounds for months or years to come. This was a fun film that guys will relish. I think even many women will enjoy it,  despite its silly flaws.

Joy Lynn: The beginning of this movie was much more enjoyable for me than the last half.  The character development made it work. I was hoping for a relationship to bud between Captain America and Peggy like Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis but, it didn’t happen.  They both seemed to have a thing going, but it’s barely there.  I am not asking for graphic and explicit simulated sex scenes (See Friends with Benefits this week for that)  just more quality time together!  Steve Rogers turns in to such a fine looking man, it only seems logical that Peggy would appreciate what she saw. The special effects used to transform the diminutive (read: wimpy) looking Chris Evans into a total hero stud was amazing. I’m assumng the real Chris Evans is more the latter kind of guy.

One of my favorite parts in the movie was Tommy Lee Jones’ one liners as Colonel Chester Philips.  He delivers them with the dry wit he is so famous for.  I would have liked to have seem more of him. The final scenes where Captain American spends most of his time in combat could have been at least 20 minutes shorter. Save it for the sequet! I might rate it a bit lower than TMG, but it was a solid effort.

 

 

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