Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger

(M) Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci

Disappointingly, this is a risk-free film that evokes classic serials of the ’40s and owes a particular debt to Raiders of the Lost Ark for its aesthetic and pacing.

As an origins story, it is lacking in almost everything that should make it an exciting ride, particularly when you compare it to the much better Batman Begins and Iron Man. Both of those origins stories gave their leads some complexity — they possess more internal struggle to make their stories compelling.

This appears to be the problem with the Captain America story generally. Once Steve Rogers becomes CaptainAmericahe is a flag-waving patriot and one man army. There is no angst about how he is used as a kind of mascot for the American war effort; he is simply out to live the dream, serve his country and fight the bullies “wherever they’re from”.

If you have seen one of the many trailers for this film, you know the storyline completely — even down to some of the better jokes and beats in the film.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a scrawny kid who wants to fight for his country. He is offered the chance via a secret military experiment with the Strategic Science Regiment (SSR) to become an American super-soldier.

The action unfolds without twists or character complexity in exactly the way you would expect.

It’s a workmanlike, plodding, join-the-dots feature film which only really starts getting interesting in its final 20 minutes. It finishes as an obvious lead-in to the upcoming Avengers film.

From an effects point of view one main concern was how filmmakers were going to pull off the earlier scenes withRogersbefore his transformation. It is hit and miss. Sometimes it seems obvious they have morphed Chris Evans’ head onto another actor’s body. Early trailers had fans decrying how bad the effect looked. This reviewer found it distracting.

With these sorts of films there is a reliance on side characters to deliver the corny lines and make the lead look stoic. Support for Evans is top shelf with Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci giving the film both levity and the gravitas it sorely needs.

Hugo Weaving is in snarling form as the villain Schmidt, much of his performance buried under makeup in the final third of the film.

Stay till the credits roll and you will see a trailer to a better film: next year’s Avengers.

In terms of excitement I think we have seen the best comic book film with the far superior Thor.

Could this be a sign that we don’t need chisel-jawed, brawny heroes anymore? Those with the flawed characters and a side order of angst will do nicely thanks.

Adrian Drayton



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