I watched Captain America last night. I’d liked the trailers, but for whatever reason I was in no particular rush to see it. I’m glad I did, though! It’s no masterpiece of cinema, but as a dude who likes superheroes beating the crap out of Nazis, it thought it was thoroughly entertaining.
The origin’s pretty simple – weak ol’ Steve Rogers gets subjected to a super-soldier program that makes him mad ripped. Meanwhile, Red Skull (a dude with a red skull!) is tampering about with mystical artefacts and bombing cities and being a bit of a jerk, so their interests inevitably clash at some point. It’s simple enough, but what really brings it to life is how the whole movie is like a “two fisted tales” comic brought to life, full of down-to-earth yet somehow over-the-top war antics brought to the big screen. You got one guy clobbering the crap out of guys armed with sci-fi guns, and all he’s got is a shield and blue spandex. And superhuman strength, too.
As tragic as it was, I’m always fascinated by the two world wars, and seeing it explored in fantasy or sci-fi fiction always whets my whistle – I suppose I could try and make comparisons between Captain America and X-Men: First Class for both basically having superhuman dudes on both sides of the war (albeit different wars), but Cap does the war theme much more gung-ho and explosion-filled manner, which is more my cup of tea. It helps that it really emphasises the sci-fi nature of the film; it’s not just “the Cold War with dudes with magnetism”, it’s “World War II with fuckin’ Star Wars!!” Seriously, there’s a war going on, but then the Nazis are toting disintegrator guns and building-sized laser tanks and then Cap and his non-super buddies are just blowing them the hell up all by themselves. It’s weird and wonderful and I love it.
The mixture of historic war and totally out-there sci-fi elements made me think of one thing – Dark Void. Yes, call me shallow, but I thought if they’re going to do a Dark Void movie (that’s in the works, isn’t it?) then this is a step in the right direction. It just needs the jetpack, the alien world, and those giant flying mechs piloted by lizard men. Make it happen, Hollywood!
I think what made the movie work was just how likeable the characters were, and how excellently they were played. Cap’s a staple of the Marvel Universe now, but he’s a hard guy to sum up quickly what he does, and how that makes him likeable (mind you, I have not read any comics with Captain America in them, so sue me). Like, Spider-Man: “young kid juggles home life, love life and superhero life all the while putting on a brave face.” Likeable! Wolverine: “indestructible Canadian asshole.” Ambiguously likeable! Cap: “fights for freedom.”
… who doesn’t in the Marvel universe?
(okay, tons of people, but I’m just sayin’)
Yeah, Captain America as a superhero is a cool guy, but as a character, he’s been a bit too “symbol of patriotism” for my liking, more of an icon than an actual person. The film does a great job showing how even as a short and skinny little guy, he had the biggest damn heart in the city of Brooklyn, and emphasises that although made into a soldier, his ambition isn’t to be the perfect soldier, but remain a good person. I found that a really nice way of expressing it. Of course, I suppose it helps that the entire story takes place in World War II, and his main deal is that he’s in modern day where he’s not exactly part of the military, where such a statement can’t be as easily expressed.
We didn’t mean to, but we caught the movie in 3D. I watched it entirely without the glasses and it was just fine. Obviously you saw bits where you would probably have seen some nifty 3D effects, but instead it was just a green and purple mess. I suppose it helped that unlike Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I wasn’t watching a film that took place almost entirely in rubble, debris and dust, and giant indistinct robots were not in centre focus. I still can’t get over just how dark those 3D glasses are; why bother lighting the film to create ambiance and clarity when you’re just going to watch the thing through a veil of darkness if you try and watch it in 3D? I’m almost sure when I saw Avatar the glasses weren’t nearly as dark as this; maybe it’s just a Moviehouse thing. Who knows. Either way, my friends tell me there were a couple of good 3D usages, but there’s otherwise no need.
Like I said, it’s no masterpiece of cinema, but it’s a very fun Indiana Jones style romp and I’d recommend it for anyone who likes a good ol’ romp around. My mother isn’t big into superheroes (because she actually has taste) but I’d imagine this would be the kind of thing she’d enjoy.
I’m not sure how good that is at convincing people to watch it. “My mum would like it, so you should, too!”
I saw a poster for a film called Shark Night. I think it should have been Shark Knight instead.