Thursday, July 28, 2011

Captain America : The First Avenger

 It must be the fact that having seen African Cats yesterday I found myself actually liking Captain America more than I thought I would. It isn't fantastic but it is sure isn't bad either! In fact for me so far out of the CGI heavy super hero movies this year, Captain America is the best one yet. And that is saying something because it is super-cedes the solid X-Men. But for me the cast made this as it is a good one, and in all reality this is the movies key success.

 I think the key thing with Captain America : The First Avenger is that it kept the actors to the fore front. Sure CGI was used where necesary, but it didn't over power the human element as it has done all too often in all too many movies this year. It was one of the failings of the last Harry Potter movie which left me cold and unsatisfyied. Also it was great that Captain America actually wore a real uniform and not a CGI one which totally sucked in Green Lantern. No lego man look here!!

 As stated the cast is good. Tommy Lee Jones is perfectly cast and brings his age and experience to his role. He has the air of authority needed to play a colonel, and he is given some exellent lines to back up the role. When on screen the whole movie lifted in quality. Haley Atwell is an actress I have an immense amount of time for. She is a superbly trained actress, and yet for some reason she isn't getting enough roles in any type of film. For me she is one of the best ,and yet most under-utilised, actresses in the world today. I thought her excellent in the now forgotten and obscure, How About You?. And especially in the somewhat maligned 2008, Brideshead Revisited, where she was excellent. Her Brideshead role was perfect for her, and alot of her character is in her Captain America role. She's a fine, fine actress, and I want to see her landing better roles more frequently.

 Fortunately, whilst she is a stunner, she has more than just an eye-candy role here, which I breathed a sigh of relief over. She is far too good for that type of role, and I think her quality shone through. Again the real world person/actor shows how CGI needn't over shadow, let alone overpower, the all important human element. I cringed though somewhat at the Stark Industries element. I couldn't help but feel the spin off potential lurking under the surface! Of course we are to get The Avengers shortly, and hopefully it follows in the vein of Captain America in putting humans first before CGI. Hmmm...somehow I don't think it will happen though.

 The whole military angle of this movie was historical nonsense, and it took me sometime to get used to. But once I settled in my mind the fictional element I did like this movie. Like I say the human element came first and the movie was evenly spread between action and human scenes. I didn't feel bored at any stage over the two hours even though it was riddled with the usual Hollywood cliques. The only real critisim was the Wolverine feel of how the scrawny private was turned into muscle bound Captain America. To be sure that is how it was in the comic, but it is somewhat unfortunate that Wolverine imitated it. But really that is the only thing that leapt out at me that didn't quite work.

 Oh, maybe that at times the body of Captain America looked too long. I mean he didn't look tall, he looked long instead. I suppose putting a head onto another body CGI wise can give that effect, but at times it looked a bit weak and noticeable. But it only tended to be be when he was in his white t-shirt. Once in his uniform the effect vanished, and he looked his size, rather than a guy who'd been stretched out on a medieval 'rack'!!!

 Yep, it may come as a surprise to you, but I liked this!! It is by far the best CGI movie of the year simply because it didn't overpower everything else in its path. It was used where needed, and sparingly where not. I  think this is why this movie worked, becasue instead of CGI being the star, the actual character of Captain America was. And to my mind this is what a superhero movie is about...the actual character, and not the amount of explosions or other dazzling CGI effects that can possibly be fitted on screen for two hours. The cast is excellent which lifted the quality of the movie up a notch of where it could have been otherwise. I suppose this is why X-Men was also so solid, because it had a credible cast as well.

 Yeah, kudos where kudos deserved. Better than the very solid X-Men for me, and certainly it is because the actors where allowed to be exactly that, actors. It is the key element as to why I believe this the best superhero movie so far of 2011. I enjoyed it more than I expected as I really expected a dud!! Unfortuantely I'm sure a sequel will come along to spoil the good of the first!

Click here for a synopsis and more:

And here for more:

And click here for background information on Captain America's creation as a comic book character:


  1. Excellent write up Brent, have to agree pretty much across the board. Really thing that Johnston should be commended for taking his time with the character and allowing the actors to do the heavy lifting here and not the action. Much better than expected thats for sure!

  2. It is certainly better than what the trailers gave off isn't it?! For me the fact the CGI didn't over power everything else is why I liked it so much. A refreshing change!

  3. I quite liked this movie. I thought that Evans was well cast and I was quite interested in his character. Plus, the CGI was good. Mind you, this won't be a very memorable film.

    Good review, though!

  4. It was what it was! And you are right, it will never be regarded as a classic! Still I'm very surprised by how much I liked and enjoyed as CGI heavy movies aren't really my thing!

  5. Nice write-up. Thought this was pretty decent. Tommy Lee Jones was great.

  6. Pretty decent it was! Yeah it was better than I was expectng and I did enjoy it.

  7. Great write up Brent. The costume was a big worry for me but I thought is looked good - one lego headed hero is enough lol

    I thought that Howard Stark got a bit too much screen time - his appearance should have been a short cameo.

    I liked it but because I grew up with X-Men and I love those characters First Class trumps it

    K :-)

  8. Hahahaha!! I thought you'd jump on the lego man look considering it is your description of the awful Green Lantern!
    I didn't mention Stark intentionally just refering to him through my reference to Stark Industries for fairly much the same reason.
    I'm the first to admit to my surprise at how much I liked and enjoyed it because I really thought it was going to be a real dud!

  9. Great write up. I agree that the actors first approach really worked here. This was a superhero movie that was primarily a human story. Great cast and the story was solid and compelling.

  10. I did like your lego head reference lol!

  11. Yeah Brent it is been my gripe all year with these superhero movies...just too CGI heavy, and everything else gets lost in the confusion. I'm not anti CGI but I do like to see these things called actors/actresses!!

  12. Going to see this one tomorrow. Good to hear that the excellent Hayley Atwell isn't being wasted in an "eye candy" role. Completely agree with you: she's an amazingly talented actress and deserves better and more prominent roles than she's been getting. Here's hoping 'Captain America' gives her career that boost!

  13. Good to hear, good review for something I want to see myself.

  14. Thanks Neil!! I think Atwell is superb and just can't figure why she isn't getting more prestigious roles. I mean she was excellent in Brideshead Revisited and I would have thought that would have been the boost she needed. Like you I hope this time round, as she is too good to be sitting it out on the sidelines!

    thanks is worth seeing, and for the best superhero movie of the year!