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Review: Captain America 295

If you have been living under a rock, you might not be aware that the next in the ongoing series of Avengers prequel movies came out this weekend: Captain America follows Steve Rogers origin, and sets him up for next summer's kajillion dollar Whedonesque mega blockbuster. But how is it as a movie in its own right? Hit the link to read my 2 cents. Standard spoiler warnings apply.

I'll admit it: my understanding of Captain America is pretty thin. I've always thought of Steve Rogers as more of golden age character, not particularly relevant today. Perhaps even a bit cheesy. I've read a few random Avengers stories, but I don't think I've ever actually read a single issue of Captain America, although I have read countless other books where he is mentioned or appears.

So I went into this movie pretty blind, but super excited: the trailers looked good. The seamless transfer of handsome head to scrawny guy body was especially amazing. And I've seen every other film in the Avengers set-up so it's not like I was going to skip it.

But then I was informed that the star was the guy from The Fantastic Four. This stinking pile of crap and its sequel still makes my skin crawl. The only worse comic book movie in the last 10 years or so is probably Elektra. Ok, purge sad thoughts from your brain.

Lets start with the Art Direction: it was absolutely awesome. The movie dripped with a cool 40s art style, with enough odd looking modernizations to make it all work. It wasn't steam punk. It wasn't art deco. It wasn't historically accurate. But it was awesome. Every aspect of the world was wonderfully realized to give us a parallel WWII that I totally bought into.

Next lets talk acting: I was pleasantly surprised. Chris Evans was just wonderful, and thats saying something considering I found him almost unwatchable in that other movie that I won't mention again in this review. I hope that the body that played his torso in the first 20 gets some real credit- it's not quite as significant as the whole Natalie Portman / Black Swan ballet controversy from some months back, but still Evans' work was just great. Humble. Honest. And dare I say inspiring? He's a boy scout. He's Marvel's Superman. And it all works.

The rest of the cast is solid: Hugo Weaving's prosthetics were cool, although he was better before he removes his face. Tommy Lee Jones plays Tommy Lee Jones. Nothing special from him, but the role is fulfilled. I really enjoyed Stanley Tucci's role as the genius scientist responsible for the super soldier syrum. Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter is functional but nothing to write home about.

The plot? Tough "Kid from Brooklyn" is giving super soldier syrum, becomes powerful, is used as military propaganda symbol named "Captain America" but eventually becomes a real hero rescuing his fellow soldiers, and taking down the Red Skull: a world dictator stepping out from under Hitler's shadow. And then a brief ending to connect the 1940s Captain America with the present day Avengers.

The special effects are great. This summer's comic book movies have all had a lot of effects, but this is the only one that (for me anyway) never broke my suspension of disbelief. Thor's home world was wonderful, but it dripped with "magic" that bordered on silly. X-Men First Class had a number of FX shots that just didn't quite work. And Green Lantern? It just tried to hard, and missed the mark several times. But Cap's FX are all great. The aforementioned handsome head and skinny body is just amazing, but from motorcycle chase scenes to tanks and giant bomber jets, it is all convincing.

So here's the short summary: the best comic book movie of the summer. Seriously. Don't miss it.

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Review: Captain America

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  • Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:05AM (#36870984) Homepage

    Its about time Hollywood came up with something original instead of digging ever deeper into the list of 2nd rate comic book "heroes"?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, they have green-lighted "Space Invaders" if that's more to your liking.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Captain America "2nd rate"?!?!? You, sir must be from Earth 2.

      • by morari ( 1080535 )

        Earth 2 would make for a great film! The show left a lot of questions unanswered. I still don't think that Tim Curry's character is really gone for good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Second rate is way too generous, for this overrated soulless Hollywood drivel. This is even worse than the Hulk movie. All the "right ingredients" are there, in a predetermined and marketing driven demographical exact formula. However, at the end of the day this film is just like a flashy bimbo: lots of promises, very shallow depth, all the right things at the right place, but no ideas, humor and no imagination worth speaking of save the usual tiresome plentitude of visual effects. And the basic message i
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )


      The Tick in movie form would rock.

      same for Johnny the Homocidial Maniac... I think Jhonan Vasquez would enjoy torturing theaters full at a time...

    • Original like what, the Greek myths? Maybe some Grisham? Some King? I'll take Stan Lee's stories and characters any day of the week. Sure, they can screw it up if they try, but it's a good starting point.
      (Haven't seen it yet. For all I know, it could be horrible.)
      • Stan Lee had nothing to do with this character.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Toonol ( 1057698 )
          Stan Lee had nothing to do with this character.

          Well, except for bringing him back to life in the sixties, and casting him as a soldier out of time, Without Stan Lee, Cap would be a mostly forgotten historical footnote, like (say) the original Human Torch.
    • by JavaBear ( 9872 )

      Why would they spend time and money on developing new ideas that may or may not be a bust, when they have old ideas that are more or less ensured to be a blockbuster?

      • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        What, like Green Lantern?

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        Why would they spend time and money on developing new ideas that may or may not be a bust, when they have old ideas that are more or less ensured to be a blockbuster?

        Narrowcasting is the death of the industry.

        The only people participating in their tiny little market are those who are easily amused. I can't be bothered to watch this tripe for free.

        Lets say something new and edgy, the "star wars" of the late 70s, came along.

        Then instead of getting a blockbuster percentage of 50% of the 8 million easily amused population to show up at a theater, you might get perhaps 10% of the 300 million total population to show up.

        Run the numbers, see which profit you'd prefer.

        We're in

        • Considering that the blockbusters outsell any other genre of movie by disgusting margins. I'd say that your theory is more then a little off.

          • by vlm ( 69642 )

            Considering that the blockbusters outsell any other genre of movie by disgusting margins. I'd say that your theory is more then a little off.

            Not at all... Lets try it with your numbers...

            "Then instead of getting a blockbuster miracle percentage of 100% of the 10 million easily amused population to show up at a theater, you might get perhaps 10% of the 300 million total population to show up.

            Run the numbers, see which profit you'd prefer."

            The part they don't get is if your product's market is only a tiny fraction of the total population, no matter how perfectly and expensively it appeals to that tiny little market, even the most mediocre competit

        • Online streaming, DVD and Blu-ray rentals and purchases need to be taken into account to get the whole picture. When all that is considered movies and television are probably more profitable than they've ever been. That may be offset by rising production costs and competition from other media, but I don't know enough about the industry to know if that's the case.

          I think the real shift here is that the average consumer has been trained to be a lot less discerning. There was a time when summer blockbusters we

    • That's probably the opinion of a lot of us that grew up in 80/90s comic era. For better or worse, everything had to be darker and edgier then. But in defense what could you do, the Captain America/Superman/White Knight archetype does not respond well to more robust characterization since they themselves are so "singularly" purposed (that did make Superman vs Batman decent but a little overplayed). The other problem is that in real life, those type of moral high-horse people are usually really hypocrites and

    • by Artraze ( 600366 )

      Isn't it about time that Slashdot critics came up with something original rather than rehashing this "originality" crap again? Originally is as much of a gimmick as anything else... Sometimes it enhances a story and sometimes it takes it away. For example, I'd consider most of M Night Shyamalan's movies to be fairly original, and yet, somehow they often end up lame.

      Oh, you say, they weren't "original". Well, you can say District-9 (oft considered fairly original IIRC) is just aliens in apartheid and Firf

    • by JMZero ( 449047 )

      I think the exact opposite complaint has more merit - most good movies are based on published books, history, plays, previous movies, or something. Sure there are exceptions (and clearly some very big ones), but I'd say that in general Hollywood does better when it isn't "coming up with something original".

      And if it's comic books you have a problem with, I'll partially agree with you... but also largely disagree. Sure there's been some bad ones, but if we restrict ourselves to action movies, I'd say the c

    • There's a fairly safe return on investment from Warner's stable of DC heroes and Disney's stable of Marvel heroes.
  • Yawn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 )

    Another "movie" made from a comic book.

  • Simply? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:06AM (#36870998) Journal
    It sucked. Boring. Waste of time. Save your money. You won't really remember it in five years.
    • Re:Simply? (Score:5, Informative)

      by PrescriptionWarning ( 932687 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:12AM (#36871070)
      I concur, the movie wasn't great at all. You know its pretty bad when they use a montage for the first real action set that the Captain is in. And not a good montage in the least.
      • by Bardez ( 915334 )
        That was my major complaint. After the first sequence, there was a 2-minute montage of action. It didn't get across how good of a soldier/leader Cap was supposed to be. It was glossed over, similar to how unbelievable Thor's humility turnaround was. It kinda ruined it for me, but I have to remind myself how much else worked pretty well (such as what was mentioned in the review).
    • Re:Simply? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:23AM (#36871200)

      You just described pretty much every superhero movie.

      • by JMZero ( 449047 )

        You just described pretty much every superhero movie.

        I think he described pretty much every movie. Most of everything is crap.

        The fact that there's actually been decent superhero movies in a genre with so few total films suggests that it's probably at or above average in terms of "percentage of films in genre that are worthwhile". I mean, if "will you remember it in five years" is the criteria, what percentage of romantic comedies are worthwhile films? What percentage of action movies in general? As I s

      • Batman? (in Burton's and Nolan's incarnations)
  • I'd seen some snobby reviews on Metacritic at the outset but most people I talk to seem to really like this. I am glad. I can't wait to see it...going tomorrow. I am a huge Cap fan. I started reading with Ed Brubaker's run that started a few years ago and never looked back. :)
    • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

      I enjoyed it a lot. I think that a big part of it was the setting, but I found it much more engrossing than Thor. By the time the action stopped, I barely realized that two hours had passed.

      It's not a deep or intellectual movie. Like just about every superhero movie, it's a popcorn flick that's just designed to kill a few hours. But it was great at what it was aiming to do.

  • Though I have to admit that I like all comic book films... mostly. One issue with Cap A. There isn't one scene, or an actual climax moment, that sticks to the mind. No truly stand out lines that I will be quoting.

    It was all good, maybe even great. Very, very fun to watch. But it never had that "Indiana Jones under the truck" or "Indiana Jones hates snakes" or "Its just a thin mint" moment or line that we will be thinking about and/or repeating....

    • "That's right bitches, I've got a crossbow." - From another mover Chris Evans was in.

    • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Informative)

      by basotl ( 808388 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @12:24PM (#36871988)
      The quotes that stick out to me were more for displaying the depth of Steve Rogers character.
      Jumps on a grenade and then realizes it doesn't go off:
      Captain America/Steve Rogers: Is this a test?

      Steve Rogers: "Why me?"
      Dr. Abraham Erskine: "...because a weak man knows the value of strength, the value of power..."

      Red Skull: What makes you so special?
      Steve Rogers / Captain America: Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.
  • saw it this weekend (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:10AM (#36871056) Homepage Journal

    what makes captain america so good is that it is straightforward, honest, and unironic

    it's a throwback to the pulp of the 1940s, and when i say that, i'm not talking about speech and clothing, i'm talking about worldview and attitude and theme

    the world today is cynical and oh-so-knowing. the world back then was uncomplicated: good was good and evil was evil

    now, pleae: don't get me wrong: abandoning modern day wordliness is not be a good idea for your ideological health

    but in order to make an entertaining MOVIE, it works quite effectively

    • The nice thing about fighting the Nazis is that you really don't have to wonder whether you're on the side of the angels.

      Anyway, I saw it with my kids and we all enjoyed it -- another home run from Marvel.

  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:10AM (#36871060)

    It's a good rock. Nice and cozy. It's a very selective rock. Blocks all kinds of advertisements, Hollywood spam and MTV rubbish.

    I love my rock.

    • by PNutts ( 199112 )

      You beat me to it. I don't feel obliged to rush out every weekend and see Hollywood's latest attempt to separate me from my $$$. If it turns out to be good I'll eventually rent it, or not. The film industry is not one I'll blindly support.

    • I know. I didn't even hear about Avatar until after it was out (for several days at that), thats how much I was out of the news cycle. I've discovered that bugs tend to be a problem in under-the-rock living conditions, did you manage to get rid of them or just use them as part of your food cycle? :)

      Now, unfortunately, I visit /. every day, so I always get my daily dose (and then some) of Hollywood gossip.

    • Just remember Patrick the Starfish lives under a rock too.

  • My son is just 5 years old, and he's heavy into his superhero phase. I think it's a crime that all of these movies are rated PG-13 while the toys are clearly aimed at capturing a younger audience who may not even get to see anything but the tv commercials. He's got no less than 3 different Captain America shields (one that I made him, one that his grandfather made him, and one we bought from the store). The one his grandfather made him - out of wood! - came with a home made Thor hammer. He doesn't care.
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      The worst "adult situation" is a brief kiss, but there's quite a bit of violence. Most of it is the typical PG-13 style where people just get knocked out or shot bloodlessly (or get instantly vaporized), but the villain is a bit creepy looking.
      • There is some blood though. Late in the film a man gets kicked off a plane and through the propeller in a shower of blood. That's probably the goriest part of the movie.
        • by dmorin ( 25609 )
          Are you referring to the new super hero movies, or to Raiders of the Lost Ark? I certainly remember that "through a propeller" sequence - not to mention the whole "melting their faces off" thing. But that was 30 years ago - plus I'm pretty sure I was more like 8 or 9 when that movie came out.
          • I didn't see anything in Captain America worse than in Indy Jones... There might have been swearing. These days, they tend to add a few scenes to a PG movie to "boost" it to PG13 because that makes it "not a kid's movie".

        • Now that you mention it, that same sort of propeller-meets-bad-guy death occurred in GP's mention of Raiders of the Lost Arc. Overall, if GP saw Raiders at the same age, he or she can base the decision on that being pretty comparable in terms of scariness or violence.

    • I took my 6 year old and 10 year old to see it....and don't recall any scenes as being cringeworthy with regards to how appropriate they would be for a 6 year old. He had a great time and did get a bit bored in some of the scenes that were heavy on the dialogue. The PG-13 rating is (I believe) based solely on the rock-em-sock-em bash-em-with-a-shield violence. The Red Skull might give him nightmares....and the violence might not be appropriate if you are very sensitive to that sort of exposure.
    • Captain America shoots people and throws knives and kills people. Bucky falls from a train, but you don't see him hit anything. You just know he is dead. The only blood is some the Red Skull wipes off his jacket after shooting someone. Mostly you have shots and people falling over or flying away from explosions or Cap's shield.

      And Sex? Two kisses.

      Once upon a time, I took my young son to Jurassic Park, That was much more scary in my mind than this movie.

      • And the guy diced by the propeller after fighting on a flying plane/bomb, but you do not see actual chopping. Not materially different than the propeller scene in the Indiana Jones' films; You have the setup, then shot of blood. In Cap A, they cut to a distance shot of the plane in flight, and you see a red "cloud trail" behind the plane.

    • I'd say that Captain America is not that kid friendly (YMMV of course). This is set in WWII, so there's gunfights, people being shot, and quite a bit of death. There are energy weapons that vaporize people, and at least one person falling through a propeller that turns into a fine mist.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      It's because they use the F bomb and show cleavage.... Your child should easily handle it if you were not over protective in his upgringing... IF he is reading classic comic books from the 60's to 80's then he has been exposed to far more violence and sex than this movie has.

      Although some people freak out at a half boobie shot but are ok with the kid seeing the daily violence we have on the news. Make your own judgement.

    • I took my six year old and didn't think twice about it. In fact, I hadn't even thought about the rating until you mentioned it. I've always thought the MPAA rating system was aimed at parents who would rather try to carpet the world than raise their kids to wear slippers, if you know what I mean.

    • by leamanc ( 961376 )

      I desperately want him to have the memory of going to these movies when they were a big deal, like I remember going to see Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.

      Sorry, it ain't gonna happen. I have a kid that is roughly the same age as yours (turned 6 last month). For kids today, the massive amount of TV/movies/associated tie-ins being slung their way has pretty much guaranteed that no one movie will be a "special experience" seeing it in the theater. They know good and well that if they didn't see it in the theater, it will be on DVD in three months, and forgotten about three months later...unless there is a sequel to hold their interest.

      I have told my kid plen

    • My sons (7 and 4) are like yours. I watch the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes with them and they love Green Lantern and other superheroes too. We went to the store yesterday with some leftover gift cards they had received and my oldest picked out an Iron Man mash and chest plate. My younger child picked out a Captain America mask and shield. He even strikes the perfect Captain America pose (though he refuses to let me take a photo of him doing it and then calls himself "Captain Ameri-CON!"). I might

    • by basotl ( 808388 )
      I would place it even with Raiders of the Lost Ark for violence. Examples include people getting shot or stabbed with little blood to total body vaporization weapons. The bloodiest scene is from the goon going through the propeller but you see it more as before and after.

      As far as profanity there are uses of hell and damn but I believe that is par for the course depicting who they were.

      Sexiness rating is some cleavage and two kisses. Ultra mild in that area.
  • by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:13AM (#36871084)
    How much does Hollywood pay the talking heads to pawn off every piece of drivel they come up with. I can't go anywhere for news, TV News, internet news, etc. without seeing this marketed junk all over the place.
    • It wasn't drivel or junk, it was pretty good. And the rest of us will go have fun watching it while you hunker down and tell us all to get off your lawn.

    • by Dunega ( 901960 )
      You cared enough to open the article and post.... Just sayin..
  • The only moment where my suspension of disbelief ran into problems was a brief technobabble tossaway about the super soldier serum and his "genetic code". So when I got home and googled around a little to learn a little more of the history of what the state of knowledge was between Mendal and Watson&Crick. Now I find myself reading Schrödinger's 1944 book "What is Life?".
    • But that's the McGuffin that makes Captain unique. His "creator" is dead, all the "Chemical X" lost..

      That was tossed in to point out that there's no "reverse engineering" the process either.

  • I don't have a problem with Comic book movies. This movie was fun but I feel it missed the mark. You did have the death of Buddy which is cannon but as a whole I felt it lacked emotional content.
    1. I at no time ever felt that Capt was in danger. I mean he never really was defeated. He won every battle.
    2. I felt no real pain over the Buddy's death. I saw no soul searching or pain. Now this was WWII so in away that is expected. People died all the time in that war. Just to help put it into perspective. The Ir

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      Adding on to that, the part where his buddy died seemed very predictable, to where I was actually thinking during the movie "oh this must be the part where a semi-important character dies". There wasn't really any development or connection to any of the characters, so it didn't seem like a big deal. And destroying the super secure facility after one guy made it in seemed like Red Skull was just helping Captain America out.
    • But that is also WHY people feel the movie is more true to it's roots. Prior to the 1990's heroes were mostly perfect.. It wasn't "period" to write about Captain groveling.. The General did that, not the fighter. It's the fighter' job to keep fighting. Then receive a heroes welcome... 40's and 50's comics weren't about feeling sorry...

      Come to the NEXT movie and well get the 00's version... The hero fought and won... And outlived everybody he cared about.. But that's not for THIS movie.

  • I guess I must have been living under a rock then. Along with billions of others.

    I call my rock "The Earth". Living "under" it is reliant really on which way you regards as "up".

  • Dieselpunk (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomewilson ( 2416480 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:35AM (#36871376) Homepage

    "The movie dripped with a cool 40s art style, with enough odd looking modernizations to make it all work. It wasn't steam punk. It wasn't art deco. It wasn't historically accurate. But it was awesome. Every aspect of the world was wonderfully realized to give us a parallel WWII that I totally bought into."

    The style name your looking for is "dieselpunk."

    It's like steampunk, but rooted in the years between WWI and the bombing of Hiroshima.

  • I wonder, what is up with so many fairy tales being told about super heroes on TV these days?

    It's probably because in most of our lives there aren't real heroes around and there isn't a happy ending.

    • The nameless soldiers who got vaporized fighting alongside Cap in the movie are no less heroes than him. They just don't get their stories told.

      Similarly, there are real heroes in the world today. Their actions are just not exciting enough for their stories to generate viewer interest sufficient for the media to report on them. Nor would they ask for glory. But it's sad that the good they do is unnoticed by the masses.

      Instead we're fed politics, celebrity, and scandal.

      • But it's sad that the good they do is unnoticed by the masses.

        This makes it that much more important that you notice it on an individual-by-individual basis. Tell someone they did a good job. Thank someone. Smile and nod. It makes a difference. There's a story (parable?) that I like a lot:

        Two men are walking along a shoreline after the tide goes out. Hundreds of starfish and other creatures have been beached, out of the water. The first man picks up one starfish and throws it back into the water. The second man asks him "Look at all of these fish. They're all going to die. What difference does throwing one back make?". The first man says, "It made a huge difference to that one."

  • Once it hits Redbox and I can watch it for a dollar.
  • It's amazing what you can do with a thousand artists and animators. [] Look at the credits on the thing. There are about 850 people associated with the CGI work.

    The plot is mediocre, but with all that production value, you don't notice until afterward. The battle scenes are ridiculous. An infantry frontal assault into machine guns will not work. ("This proposition was thoroughly tested in WWI.") Small groups have taken fortresses (see Eben Emael) but not just by charging in there.

    The painters can fix any

  • A few years ago, there was a miniseries called Tin Man on the skiffy channel. We discussed it on a techie mailing list I'm on, and decided that the right description was dieselpunk, halfway between steampunk and cyberpunk....


  • We need more 40's based memes here on the internet.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @01:37PM (#36873130) Journal

    Did anyone notice the short cameo of the original (1940s) human torch at the science fair? Nice touch, and nice in-joke since Chris played the second version of the Torch in the FF movies.

    This film was by geeks, for geeks. My daughter (almost 17) got every reference, including the torch and the flying car (which we strongly suspect is a premonition of the helicarrier in Avengers). It helps that she's been studying WWII recently and knew about the draft and newsreels and such. I started to whisper explanations to wife (who is an established non-geek) starting with the background to the trailer for "John Carter of Mars" but found that daughter was already filling her in.

    At one point daughter said "It's your fault I'm a geek. I'll never get a date. I hate you." I said "Are you kidding? Geeks will love you." She responds "And that's better?? I hate you!"

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.