Captain America: The First Avenger is an origin story and a solid start to a comic book franchise. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a real American who lost both his parents in World War II. He hates bullies, so he wants to join the army to stand up to the biggest bullies of them all – the Nazis.
The set up to Captain America is slow. For the first half-hour, Steve Rogers is some sort of CGI, shrunken-down version of Chris Evans who has the body of Gollum. While I concede that Evans is not one of the twenty-four movie stars that exist today, I have seen him star in enough movies that I know what he looks like. The Gollum/Evans combination is kind of off-putting.
The early parts of the movie draaaaaaaaaag. It was cheesy and boring and I was already starting to think about how I would rip the film apart. The only things keeping the early film going were Stanley Tucci as the Victor Conte of WWII and Tommy Lee Jones as a cranky old Colonel. Jones ended up with most of the genuinely funny lines in the movie, though they were sometimes bogged down by the camp. I’m guessing it was only twenty minutes to a half hour, but it felt like forever. I hated it. My friend and I just looked at each other and shook our heads whenever the crowd would laugh at a cheesy joke.
(Did I mention that people said “Whoa!” when the 3D glasses first showed up on the screen? Sometimes you forget how awful people are and then you leave your house.)
When Gollum/Evans is finally transformed by the military into regular-hunky-Chris Evans the action starts. Basically, Captain America used steroids before they were cool.
This would be a good time to bring up the love-interest played by – I’m sorry to report – a well-covered up Hayley Atwell. Atwell’s Peggy Carter is your basic shallow, buxom, war hero. Before Steve Rogers becomes Captain Beefcake, she has no interest in him. The moral of this story? Chicks dig the long ball.
As I said, once Captain America is born, the action starts (in the movie, not Peggy Carter’s pants). The movie turns from cheesy and boring to cheesy and entertaining. There are explosions and punches and all that good stuff. Even if you’ve seen every battle in Captain America in other films, it was still well done. Captain America kicks plenty of Nazi – and then HYDRA – ass.
Once it gets going, the movie goes fast enough that you don’t have time to stop and question anything in the second half of the film until you’re walking back to your car. For instance, what makes Cap’s handpicked team so special? Presumably, they proved they were the best by getting captured by HYDRA and then downing pints once Cap got them back to safety. None of that matters though because *BOOM* If you’ve got a problem with any of the plot points in Captain America, he will kick you in the chest and make you love your country.
While the movie was an overall enjoyable experience, it was yet another film that forced me to wear 3D glasses. When will Hollywood to come up with a 3D movie that is worth our time? The 3D in Captain America is pointless. Just see the regular version of the movie. I can picture myself watching the middle hour of this movie on HBO a few times when it comes out. I can’t picture myself buying a 3D TV because 30-seconds of a shield flying at me was super awesome.
Finally, I have to mention that the beginning of the movie completely spoiled the ending. I’m not sure what the point of that was, but then again, what’s the fun of linear storytelling? You don’t see Tarantino wasting his time with that crap.
When my buddy and I left the theater, I was happily surprised to have enjoyed most of the movie. My friend was less pleased. He thought it was too campy and swore off superhero movies until Dark Knight Rises.
I’m not going to tell you to run out and see it, but if you’re headed to the movies because it’s 100 degrees in your living room, Captain America is a fine way to spend two summer hours.
[Images via Getty]