Yesterday we went to see "Paseuteu Abenja" as it's called here in Korea, Captain America: The First Avenger everywhere else. I'd been really waiting to see this movie, although I did have some doubts about the casting of Chris Evans as Cap.
For those of you arriving here from a web search with the keywords "Captain America Horrible" I hate to disappoint. I really liked it. If you googled "Captain America curse words" or something similar, the language was mostly tame. Don't worry. The name of the blog gets a lot of those searches. Now to continue the review.
As most of you likely know, this is the final lead-in movie to next year's Avengers movie, which will bring Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America together (along with some of the other Avengers, like Hawkeye, who didn't get their own films). I've enjoyed all of the previous four movies (Iron Man, The Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor) but each had a very different feel (well, the two Iron Man movies were of course similar in style). Captain America had yet another style of its own, this time doing a good job of blending the tropes of super hero films with a fairly solid war movie framework.
Aside from the first one and last two scenes, all of the movie takes place in World War II. The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is the leader of Hydra, Hitler's super-science program. Red Skull believes that Norse Mythology is real (and of course, in the Marvel Universe, it is -- see Thor) and wants to tap the super-science of the Aesir for his weapons. He locates the Cosmic Cube in Norway, and decides he doesn't need Hitler any more and embarks on a quest to destroy the world so that he can take over the remains.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, shrimpy wimp Steve Rogers has tried everything he can think of to enlist. His buddy Bucky is ready to ship out. They visit the Stark Expo, and there Rogers is approached by Dr. Erskine and talked into joining the Super-Soldier Program (although he doesn't realize it yet). Of all the super-soldier recruits, Rogers is picked to be the first experiment because of his sterling character. And of course the procedure is a success, turning him into Captain America.
However, things don't quite go according to plan. He ends up performing in USO shows to raise money through War Bonds. Eventually, though, Rogers really becomes Captain America, showing his prowess and his brains to battle The Red Skull and Hydra.
There are some very cool action scenes, reminiscent of films like The Dirty Dozen, as Cap and his team take down one Hydra location after another. There's a bit of romance. There's some good comedy, a lot of it revolving around Howard Stark (Tony Stark/Iron Man's father for those who don't know). Evans did a good job of making Steve Rogers seem like a real person, and Captain America as a believable hero. There's always a risk with characters that are so archetypal as Cap that they seem two-dimensional in films, but that didn't happen here.
I thought it was a well done film over all. I liked it better than Thor and The Hulk, although I still enjoyed Iron Man and Iron Man 2 better (I think it's the snappy banter that Robert Downey Jr. does so well). Captain America was top notch, though, and now I'm really excited about The Avengers.
Oh, and if you didn't know, stick around through the credits for not only a teaser scene link to The Avengers, but a trailer as well!
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