I love Chris Evans super hard. I have to get that out of the way first and foremost. I don’t particularly care for the spoofy “Scary Movie” type flicks that continue to both annoy and rape audiences across the country, but I loved him in “Not Another Teen Movie.” I continued to love him in “Fantastic Four.” Then I loved him again in “Push.” Shortly there after I… wait a minute. Goddamn it, Chris! You’re making it extremely hard for me to justify my deep, penetrating guy-love for you with a resume like this! Give me something to work with here!
So like I was saying –
Anyway, getting back to my –
We get it. You can also do awesomely underrated movies that perform like shit at the box office. But seriously, the point is that the guy can both act, AND choose to work on some fantastic movies. He’s like an expensive, high class prostitute who also happens to be married to a Nobel Laureate. He’s got the boyishly good looks to pull off the clean, crisp, all-American Steve Rogers with enough star power to land the role in the first place. Throw in those washboard abs and dryer sheet buns (that’s a thing, right?), and you’ve got one hell of a Captain America Cocktail.
And there really couldn’t have been a better time for a Captain America movie. Lets look at the facts:
– we have our first black president, which is very crowd pleasing and progressive
– he just killed the shit out of Osama bin Laden
– the worst of the international anti-America feelings have abated (somewhat)
– Marvel is kicking ass and taking names at the box office
Sitting in my chair waiting for the movie to start, my excitement was palpable. My enthusiasm was tangible. My bowels were irritable. Captain America, like so many other superhero movies, had an obvious need for an origin back story. So we as the audience are introduced to a scrawny, pathetic looking Steve Rogers. The year is 1942 and despite his physical limitations, Rogers desperately wants to do his part to aid the American war effort against the Nazis. The only problem is, due to his laundry list of illnesses and ailments, the armed forces don’t want him.
Personally, I thought they did a SPECTACULAR job turning Chris Evans from beefcake to cupcake. Other than the voice which was an octave too deep, I never once felt like I was watching his character through the magic of CGI. Then we get introduced to Stanley Tucci as the German defector turned American uber-scientist who is responsible for the super serum formula that creates Captain America. I absolutely LOVED Tucci in this role. It’s tough to put my finger on what made him great other than the fact that he was charming, humble, and had some of the most genuine, laughter-inducing scenes.
Next we get Tommy Lee Jones, always the powerful, crowd-pleasing actor. He plays Colonel Chester Phillips, the army guy who is partly responsible for the super soldier program, and gets final say in the military’s test subject. He’s a great mix of seasoned warrior and sympathetic commander. Naturally he doesn’t believe in Rogers at first, but eventually realizes (partly through his own actions) that a strong body doesn’t necessarily make the strongest soldier. Then of course enters the love interest…
… played by Hayley Atwell. I for one solute the makers of C.A. for using a lesser known actress that filled the role with more grace and believability than other “super” heroines who have come before her (cough)blakelively(cough). I literally have seen nothing that this woman has done before, but I would be happy to see more. Much more.
Plus there’s Howard Stark (Tony’s dad). While no John Slatterly, he does a pretty decent job at playing a 1940’s brilliant, billionaire lothario (amount adjusted for inflation). And finally… the transformation! They take the sickly, skinny, soft, sensitive Steve and turn him into the ultimate super soldier. After that –
Sorry, guys. It literally felt like they spent their budget and creative talents on the first part of the movie. Which is pretty much the opposite of what you really want out of a superhero flick. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. It’s like they got burned out from the sheer exhaustion of making an entertaining introduction story about a 98 pound asthmatic who wants to join the army. Not even Evans’ pecs (substantial) could keep my interest. I think they set a bad pace with the new and improved Steve Rogers’ first act of superheroism, chasing down a bad guy. I’m sorry, but it sucked. Captain Rogers is supposed to be strong, fast, and agile. These are not the kind of powers that require insane amounts of special effects these days. Yet I noticed the “green screenery” almost immediately.
Look, I get it. Movies, especially of the superhero genre, are constantly being forced to up the ante. It’s not fair, really. Audiences have short attention spans, and movie makers need to keep them “wowed” over and over and over again. So yeah, they’re forced to push the envelope. Sometimes this can create breathtaking, awe-inspiring innovation and creativity in the profession. Other times, it just looks like someone was trying too hard. Unfortunately, this felt like the latter. Lets face it, the guys over at Inception built a freaking free-standing room that turns 360 degrees for one fight scene. In real life.
I don’t want to watch Chris Evans run on the street, sit on a bike, or fly in a plane that is clearly stationary and sitting in front of a green screen. Lamentably, that’s what I got. Sure there was some action, comedy, and drama. But it was all fake. And that’s not a thought you want going through your head when you’re in the mood for some good ol’ fashioned escapism.
Lastly, I want to be clear that I do not expect movie makers to adhere strictly to comic book canon. That would be fucking retarded. Have you ever READ comic books? There are some seriously insane plots floating around out there. And others are still too bizarre to appeal to a wider audience. I would rather HAVE a transformers movie than no movie at all. That’s what some fan boys out there don’t get. You can keep the spirit of something alive even if you have to change a few of the details. However, other story lines perpetuate for a reason. There is something fundamental, essential, primary about the relationship between Captain America and Red Skull. Two perfectly opposing forces, antitheses to one another, locked in an epic and eternal battle till judgement day and trumpets sound.
Well forget all that. First of all, Red Skull is a terrible strategist. Second of all, their initial encounter showcases none of the pure, absolute rivalry that should exist between these guys. Third of all, and I almost hate to say it, the final confrontation between these embodiments of good and evil is more than disappointing.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!