Captain America: The First Avenger
Comic book movies are a dime a dozen these days, and as Chris Evans recently said, it’s good to have films focussing on an American view rather than a global view popular once again. Yes Chris, that’s all fine and dandy if you’re an American. Last time I checked however, most of the earth’s population isn’t American. What does this have to do with Captain America: The First Avenger you may well be asking? Well it helps to be a flag waving, history altering America if you want to really enjoy this film.
Or a fan of the comic books.
A friend who I took along to the media screening grew up with the comic books and according to him, the film was a pitch perfect adaptation. Film technology he said, has finally caught up with our imagination.
I however didn’t grow up with the comics and had a few issues with the film that, for me, makes Captain America just another comic book film, rather than being elevated to a absolute must see summer blockbuster.
One of the issues I have unfortunately fall’s into the spoiler category, so I won’t go into that, instead I’ll mention one of those little things that bothered me, but won’t be apparent to most people. I’m not sure if it’s an innocent oversight, some political correctness mumbo jumbo, or just the casting guys/director wanting to re-write American history and make the US army in World War 2 not such a bigoted and racist organisation as it was. The sad truth is that the US Army in Word War II was a segregated army. And as much as having a black solider may have added some colour to the film (pun intended) it just bugged the hell out of me. I had been looking forward to a fictitious comic book story that was set in a period of history that interested me.
Right, on with the film.
Set in a alternative reality World War II, Steve Rogers is a good natured, honest and fair, patriotic young American. But he’s also a bit of a wimp. Well, a major wimp, and the Army doesn’t want him. But try and try again, and Steve Rogers soon finds himself the object of ridicule at a secret training camp for a new breed of soldier. Rogers slowly proves that it takes more that just physical strength to make a good soldier and gets picked to be the test subject for the Army’s new super soldier program, where he gets magically transformed into a muscle bound fighting machine, but one whose conscience stays intact.
Now it has to be said that Chris Evans does a fantastic job as both the weedy Steve Rogers and the superhuman Captain America. Not only that but he is surrounded by an excellent cast. As far as comic book films go, Captain America certainly nailed it when it came to hiring the talent.
The problem is when we get into battle. The first major outing for Captain America is great, busting into a secret german base and springing a load of prisoners. It really gets you excited about the possibilities after a slow intro into the film. But then all we’re offered is a collage of quick cuts as Captain America and his hand picked team defeat German base after German base in quick succession leading up to the final couple of mini-battles and the end of the film.
To be honest I was expecting more of an action orientated film, with lots of big battle set pieces and street fighting as Captain America battled his away across Europe to defeat the Germans.
It really ended up being a case of too much back story and not enough action. Disappointing, but still good for a night out with a large bucket of popcorn.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read