Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain...

Lack of spending cash has severely damaged my movie attendance in the last few years.  I was very disappointed when I missed the many theatrical showings this year, but my sons and I have enjoyed catching up on my husband's ridiculously-oversized TV at home.  Tonight's installment was the highly anticipated (at our house), "Captain America", which my second son has been talking about since it first went into development.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  As usual, I went into this movie not really knowing the back story, and (as with Thor), not sure the star was good-looking enough to impress me as the hero.  And (as with Thor) I was pleasantly surprised.  Chris Evans provides some lovely patriotic eye-candy.  

As far as the film itself is concerned, I was blown away by the computer-graphic animation (or whatever it's called) that was used to make Evans look much, much smaller than he really is.  It was seamless-- amazing!  They even made his face look slightly slimmer.  He was so cute-- like his own little brother.  Special effects just get better and better. 

This isn't Evans' first foray into the genre of comic-book movies.  He stole the show as "Johnny Storm" in the "Fantastic Four" movies a few years ago, but I wasn't sure he could pull off the sweet-kid-turned-soldier. I was impressed by his seemingly effortless performance. He's a lot more talented than I realized.  I completely believed he was a skinny, bullied young man, and I completely bought his physical transformation that didn't change who he was inside.  

I also enjoyed Hugo Weaving as the Captain's nemesis, Red Skull, but I had a hard time shaking the image of him as Elrond (a leader of one group of elves in the LOTR films), and that was distracting. Not his fault, just what got stuck in my head.  He was good, though, sufficiently evil and naughty.  

I had anticipated that, because the story is set in the 1940s, much of it would have a corny feeling, but the director and scriptwriters handled the cheesy, comic-book stuff really well-- it was amusing, and a little uncomfortable to watch the Captain performing for crowds, encouraging them to buy war bonds, instead of doing what he wanted to do and fighting against the Nazis, but the reaction of WWII-era children (especially those reading "Captain America" comics) was very well written and heartwarming.

There were a few unintentionally amusing things in the movie, which I wouldn't have even noticed had they not been pointed out by someone (so sorry, I can't credit whom, because I can't remember; if anyone knows, please tell me so I can give credit where it's due) such as the fact that the bombs heading for the U.S. were conveniently labeled "New York", "Chicago" and "Boston", in English, though the baddies were German.  Also I wasn't totally convinced that the Captain had to make the choice that he made at the end-- I understand the story has to go that way, but... really?  He couldn't turn the plane around?  I won't say more, I don't want to spoil it if you haven't seen it, but it seemed like a silly thing to do, really.

This was a four-star film, engaging, fun, adventurous, humorous and surprising.  Just what you go to the movies to enjoy.

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