August 2, 2011

"Captain America: The First Avenger" - A Conversation between Geeks


As with "Thor" my pre-Captain America-viewing, and post-viewing contact was LA Filmcutter. Notes have been compared and a review (more like a conversation between geeks) has been written...

11:00 AM
[text message from AP]: Headed to theater for Capt America
[text message from LA]: Can't wait to hear your thoughts. As always, make sure you stay through the credits.
[AP]: Right!

1:34 PM
[AP]: Wow! That was great! Credits are rolling.

1:58 PM
[AP]: There is so much to like about that movie!
[LA]: Yes, yes, and... ?
[AP]: Facebooking ya!
[LA]: Cool!

2:30 PM
(Facebook Message from AP):
Okay, let's review this thing!
First off, if only Joe Johnston had had that kind of budget, effects and studio support when he made "The Rocketeer!"

Second, it was just a great, good old-fashioned, action movie!

But where do you really begin? Winks and nods to the history of Cap, the Howling Commandos, Indiana Jones, The Rocketeer, jeez what else!?

Oh! And what about shrinking Chris Evans? How the hell did they do that!?

(Facebook Message from LA):
Yes, could imagine "The Rocketeer" if made today?

Definitely a great old fashioned story and overall feel. Really liked the left turn the movie took when Rogers was being used to sell war bonds...very different than the usual journey for a superhero.

I LOVED the genesis of the uniform!! They did such an incredible job of making all of it work with a very natural progression.

Chris Evans as the skinny Steve Rogers was a masterpiece of modern visual effects!!! I completely bought it right from the get-go and didn't doubt that was in fact Evans through that entire part of the movie! They basically mapped his face over another actor's body, but that marriage was just so seamless!

Even though they finished his first adventure with an end that led to the flash forward to our present, I'd still like to see more adventures during WWII! However, this may be the only one.

The shield rocked! Gotta say that I love the costume much more in the 40's than I do for "The Avengers". Yes, the present day version is closer to the established comics, but you can't beat the functionality they perfecty poured into that first one!

The pace was so fast that you didn't have time to worry about the events as they were unfolding, they just did. BUt even in retrospect (like you said) everything just flowed and fit together so well.

Loved all of the Marvel Cineverse? Movieverse? What are we calling it? tie-ins like Howard Stark and the birth of SHIELD, the glimpse at the 9 Realms when the Cosmic Cube "melts" Red Skull. So cool.

I also liked all of the humor. Never over-the-top or forced, just good writing and line delivery. Tommy Lee Jones was great!

And yes the progression of Cap's uniform was the best. The whole long johns look, then adding the helmet and the leather jacket, and finally Starks "super-suit!"

Nits to pick:
1. Bucky's death felt like a throw away. His death in the comics is much more dramatic and emotional.
2. Cap waking up in 2011 was kind of jarring. Especially after the WWII experience and the audience being in that world. Yes it was supposed to be a jarring moment for Steve Rogers but it happened so fast it lacks enough emotion.
3. I didn't like the teaser trailer after-credits bonus. I wanted it to be more organic, more of an epilogue like the other Marvel movies.

I think they struck the perfect tone too. There was a great nostalgic feel to the film, a good balance of action and humor. Setting it in the forties but with flash forwards to bookend the story works really well.

This is the kind of movie Joe Johnston should stick with. There is a charm, and innocence and a gee-whiz sensibility in Cap that also made "The Rocketeer," "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" and "October Sky" such good films.

Was there something specific about the birth of SHIELD? I can't quite remember. Yes, definitely loved the Howard Stark tie-in, and you could see where Tony got some of his swagger. The connection to the Thor universe with the Cosmic Cube was well done. The humor was very well placed and didn't overtake at any time.

I'd have to say a major praise is definitely the visual effects, especially with turning Chris Evans into the scrawny Steve Rogers. Absolutely seamless!!

BTW, did you catch the slight "Raiders of the Lost Ark" nod?

Schmidt: "Hitler is wasting his time digging in the sand for trinkets."

The whole opening felt like an Indy movie.

Still would like to see them continue the story of Cap in the 40's but I'm not sure they will now that he's been thawed out in the present. C'mon, find a way!!

My take was that the SSR, Stark's gadgets and the capturing of Hydra tech was the precursor to SHIELD.

YES! I was the only one in the theater that laughed when Schmidt said that!

Yeah, I was trying to figure out a way to tell more WWII stories, but I think they painted themselves into a corner by rushing the Hydra base destroying sequence. They didn't leave an out or someway of showing Cap, Bucky and the Howling Commandoes NOT on a Hydra-based mission. Now that we know their fate, there would be no real peril for those soldiers.

Yeah, that's the big problem with having buttoned everything up back in WWII. O.K. I think I see what you mean about SHIELD.

How many stars are you giving it?

4 1/2

That's cool. I gave it an ***, same ball park.

And one more thing, no Agent Coulson!

Okay, I personally loved the film and feel it's perhaps the best of the Avengers series of Marvel movies. I loved Iron Man as well, and that movie really did set the tone for Marvel's Cinematic Universe, but there is some fanboy bias here that moves Captain America: The First Avenger to the front of the pack. My final grade for the star-spangled avenger? A- (points off for not showing Bucky Barnes a little more respect!)

And one more, one more thing...
Captain America's future films should/could include a lot of stuff like a resurrected Red Skull, Sharon Carter, Winter Soldier, and to give us a more WWII Cap they can always write in flashbacks.

Okay, that's really it.


  1. Hey, thanks for including my comments about the movie!! Definitely made for a very different type of review.

    Yeah, no Agent Coulson! I somehow expected him to show up with Jackson in Times Square, but then again maybe they felt that'd be overkill.

    "Cap" has definitely been the most enjoyable of the Marvel stable since "Iron Man". The funny thing is I was never a big Captain America comics fan. I certainly was aware of story elements; origins, Bucky, etc. Just never followed the books faithfully. Can't wait to see this movie again though!!

  2. Having your comments is one of my favorite parts!

    I think Agent Coulson may have been busy cleaning up the mess in New Mexico.

  3. That's true...maybe he was continuing to clean up in New Mexico. That makes sense. At any rate, next year it's going to be The Avengers vs. Spider-Man vs. The Dark Knight!

  4. Oh baby! Spider-man is gonna get left in the dust. And I think The Dark Knight will take down The Avengers by a narrow margin.

    DC vs. Marvel! Ready? Fight!

  5. Yes, of course "The Dark Knight Rises" will slam everyone into the wall! Despite my opinion, "The Avengers" will definitely be one of the most anticipated movie of next summer and I think "Spider-Man" will clock-in down the list from there.