Friday, July 22, 2011
Mediocre. That one word sums up how I felt about this movie. Mediocre. This movie failed to engage me, and I tried to get into it. I really did. I wanted to love it. I have been looking forward to it for a long time. This is a character I love. A character I admire and look up to. He deserved a better movie than this.
Let me start with the movie going experience for this one. I saw this in 3D at the Palisades Mall. Very nice theater. The 3D was totally unnecessary, and somewhat disorienting. Go see this in 2D. I also had some very annoying people in the audience who would NOT shut up. Never, not once. These people were also living breathing stereotypes. You'd think they'd be characters in a Michael Bay movie.
On the way out of the movie, right in the theater lobby, the Captain America cardboard stand was being disassembled and stolen by people. I have gone to a lot of movies, but never witnessed such blatant theft before. No one said or did anything, and there was a theater employee there who didn't care. Of course, it was 2:30am. Who would care? I almost felt like taking a picture of the theft, but I did not feel like potentially getting stabbed.
With that out of the way, let me start with what I liked about the movie. Because there was quite a bit that I did like about this movie. First of all, I thought Chris Evans as Steve Rogers was great casting. He was that guy to a tee. Of all the problems with the movie, its star was not one of them. He deserves to stand side by side with Robert Downy Jr. and Chris Hemsworth. Marvel really lucked out with their leads.
I also really liked Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. And more than that, I thought this might have been the best on screen romance in a comic book movie ever. It felt really organic, and not stuck in or forced like most comic book movies. They made me believe it, and you felt the tragedy when, well, it's not a spoiler to say Cap gets frozen in a block of ice for seventy years. She was also as hot as Jennifer Connelly was in "The Rocketeer." Johnston sure knows how to cast the ladies.
I liked all the little shout outs to fans, and the period setting. There were a lot of easter eggs in this movie, and a lot of things that will make a fan smile. We also saw why a comic book accurate version of the costume would look ridiculous on a live actor, but I did love the nod to that famous first cover where Cap punched out Hitler. I also loved all the nods towards "Thor." You know this will all come together in "The Avengers."
Tommy Lee Jones was a lot of fun in it, and had all the best one liners. And none of them were groan worthy. The casting in this movie was very good.
Now to get the negatives out of the way.
I thought the Red Skull was pretty weak. And I shouldn't think this. Aside from Adolf Hitler, the Red Skull is the Alpha Nazi. This is a guy so evil, most of Marvel's rogues' gallery won't work with him. But I only felt he was intimidating in one scene. Where he is heavily back lit, his mask is off, you can't see his face, and his portrait is being painted. Aside from that, the rest of his scenes ranged from okay to comical. This guy should have been the scariest villain in any Marvel movie, and he did not come across as such.
I also felt that Red Skull turning against the Nazis was completely pointless. I think they were trying to make him seem even more dangerous by doing that, but nothing came of it, and it made me roll my eyes more than anything. If they're trying to make a comic book bad guy come off as worse than even Hitler, well, it fell flat on its face.
I also often felt like the movie really held itself back. This had nothing to do with setting itself up for "The Avengers," but just that it didn't go for the punch when it really needed to. And some things that I liked in the comics, or even in animaton didn't translate well. A lot of that having to do with HYDRA and their catchphrases. I know it was faithful, but their salute seemed a little ridiculous on screen. As well as the over use of their other catch phrase, "cut off one head, two more take it's place." The first and second times, it was fine. The third time... ugh, it was said one time too many.
But another big complaint was, when they killed Bucky and I didn't care. That was a scene that lacked punch entirely. It happened way too soon in the movie, during the second act no less. We didn't see enough of Steve and Bucky together as partners and friends to really care. I thought it should have happened during the third act. Have Bucky go down with one of those bombs that the Valkyrie was carrying. Make a real sacrifice to stop the Red Skull. But it just happened during the second act, before we had any time to come to like and care about this character.
The third act of the movie was a mess. Despite my complaints, the first two acts were pretty good, and felt like a good Captain America story, and some good pulp. Very nice. The third act was extremely anti-climatic, and it all just seemed to fall apart. I did like the fight between Cap and the Red Skull, and even his death. But everything else... not so much. Had they not killed Bucky off so pointlessly in the second act, this would be different.
Overall, I give this a C+. I did not hate it. But I wanted to like it a lot more. I kept pushing myself too. I just don't. Movies are a house of cards, and this one came tumbling down. The best part of the movie is the teaser for "The Avengers." Will I see this again? Probably. I hope a second viewing improves this one for me.