Captain America

By Shamus
on Aug 5, 2011
Filed under:
Movies

splash_captain_america.jpg

About a year and a half ago I denounced the PR coming out of the upcoming Captain America movie. (Or rather, I denounced the attitudes that I thought were driving that PR.) Well, the movie is out now, and I’m happy to see I was wrong. The movie didn’t have any of the problems I’d feared.

Superhero movies have a tough job. They need to make a film that will appeal to the masses that know nothing of the source material, while at the same time pleasing the core fans that likely know the material better than its creators.

The movie is doing well. MovieBob is a huge fan of Captain America and he liked it. I knew little about Cap and cared even less, and I liked it. My kids liked it, my wife liked it. So the movie managed to cover just about everyone. Fans, kids, and adults.

Nicely done. Glad to see I was wrong about this one.

Now, if I can just be wrong about Mass Effect 3, that would be really awesome.

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  1. Cahoun says:

    I thought it was alright. For me, however they completely ruined the most dramatic moment. As they’re racing along and he’s about to jump on the jet, I fully expected the kiss that happened, but the amount of time they took out for that moment completely ruined any sense of urgency in the scene.

    For me, anyways.

    Worth the money I paid.

    • Joe says:

      Yeah. The vast majority of the movie was put together brilliantly, but anytime they tried to inject the romantic element, the pacing fell apart. See: the ending. Maybe it’s just me, but I never really got to care about the romantic story of it. So whenever they made a big deal about it, they took me out of the experience just slightly. If I had to guess, I’d say that they didn’t devote quite enough time to it earlier for it to expect it to become the emotional center of the story. For me, at least, that was the friendship between Cap and Bucky.

      Everything else was so well done that I didn’t, in retrospect, care particularly much, but that would be it’s one flaw in my eyes.

    • Zaxares says:

      That is true, but the “Well, I’m not gonna kiss you!” joke totally made up for the loss of immersion. ;)

  2. Y’know that seems to be the large consensus about the movie: people like it. I don’t know anyone outside of moviebob so far – who’s simply INCAPABLE of not elaborating and dramatizing every single opinion he has – who LOVES it, or HATES it or has any really strong feelings about it at all. It’s the first time in a loooong time a film so unremarkable – literally no one I know has said more than, “It’s good.” or “I liked it.” – has ended up sliding on the positive side of that spectrum.

    This is kinda Joe Johnston’s spectrum. He’s sort of a champion of the generic. Of the films I’ve seen from him, he’s got this knack for making simple, straightforward films with a strong vibe of Speilberg-style nostalgia. They’re never ambitious or thought-provoking, they’re just…good. It’s why The Rocketeer worked as well as it did and why I had no worries about Cap either. He really was the best man for the job.

    • Myth says:

      Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally loved it. It comes in a close second behind Iron Man for my favorite hero movie… and I’ve seen similar sentiments from plenty of others, as well.

      For me, a celebration of a hero whose defining characteristic isn’t his powers, but simply his innately heroic nature, a film that celebrates the soldiers without celebrating the war… I’ll admit it has its imperfections (mainly a bit with pacing, once they hit about half-way through the movie), but I don’t think the movie is nearly as benignly bland as you make it out to be.

      • Audacity says:

        +1

        This is my view nearly exactly, except I liked Captain America better than Iron Man. It was great to have a truly old school comic book hero on the screen for once. While I love a good flawed anti-hero, — of the Han Solo/Mal Reynolds variety, not the Alex from Clockwork Orange type — I’m a little tired of every single main character having to be seriously flawed, or a self centered jerk ass with a heart of gold. It works well sometimes, but it’s now just as tired and repetitive as the boyscout type used to be. Following a main character who is just a genuinely nice guy was a refreshing break.

        • Syal says:

          It frightens me to think that anyone would consider Alex an anti-hero.

        • False Prophet says:

          I agree it was a refreshing change to see a straightforward good guy in a movie who wasn’t “edgy” or sarcastic. Our culture’s awash in irony so it was nice to see a superhero movie played straight.

          I’ve recently found this notion of Han Solo as an anti-hero is popular, and I don’t know where it comes from. Han is a reluctant hero. Just because you’re a bit of a selfish jerk at times does not make you an anti-hero. Nor does drawing first on a guy who points a gun in your face and talks about how he’s looking forward to killing you. That’s called self-defense, or not being an idiot.

          Alex is not an anti-hero. He’s a villain. The closest thing to an anti-hero in Clockwork Orange is the state that tortures him for the “good of society”.

          • Zak McKracken says:

            I don’t think Clockwork orange conforms to such categories as “hero” and “anti-hero”.
            Alex is the protagonist (as in: the guy at the center of the story, the narrator), but also genuinely unlikeable. But it doesn’t stay like that, he’s more like … bad guy-turned victim-turned bad guy again?

            In the logic of simpler stories, there’s nothing so horrible that it’s not justified to be doing it to the bad guys (Think Lethal Weapon or most other war/crimefighting movies …).
            This story takes to extremes the consequences of not understand the fact that “bad guys”, too, are human beings. Alex is certainly neither hero nor anti-hero, but anyone who didn’t feel petty for him at some point has not understood what the whole thing was about.

            About the Captain America movie: Now I’m actually curious to see it. And whether it’s gonna work outside of the USA. I’m still a bit sceptical…

            • Audacity says:

              Maybe I have the terms wrong, but my understanding was that anti-hero used to refer to a character who lacked any heroic qualities and meant something more along the lines of what TVTropes calls a villain-protagonist. So I mentioned Alex in an attempt to clarify which type I meant. Seems I just confused the matter.

              As for referring to Solo as an anti-hero, it had less to do with his shooting first, — which I have no problem with — and more to do with his being a space pirate, who only got involved for mercenary reasons. He did eventually develop into a reluctant hero later on, but at the start he was more of an anti-hero. A comparison would be Luke who started out as the more altruistic pure hero type.

    • Takkelmaggot says:

      I agree with your second paragraph. This was a great film for someone who had a grasp of that period feel, and Johnston has it as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Joe says:

    I rather liked that they managed the costume the way they did. Not because it made sense to me as the audience (although it did do that), but because it made more sense for the character. Steve Rogers wants to be a soldier. But when he becomes the only allied super-soldier, they can’t get him KIA or they won’t be able to reverse-engineer the formula and create their army of him. So in order for him to still serve, he joins the USO. But then he finds out his friend Bucky has been kidnapped and runs off on a solo rescue mission of Allied superhero vs Nazi Super-science that is one of the most awesome things ever to grace the screen at your local theater. At that point, he continues to wear the costume because he’s already captain america as a publicity thing. It’s really well done, and I don’t want to spoil it, but the attitude I saw from it was less “How do we get around him being costumed?” and more “How do we make this character into a costumed superhero without breaking his character?”

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Yeah, the costume was kind of awesome in that sense.

      The best part is that they don’t even try and go “That’s how it is.” The army makes fun of him during his first announcement with them, then they literally don’t care anymore once he’s saved their entire squad.

      It had a bit of a psychological effect as well – I imagined Hydra soldiers going like this:

      “Alright guys, there’s this enemy approaching the base! Prep up, they won’t be able to take us down! HOO-RAH! …Wait…distinctive blue, red, white costume…IT’S CAPTAIN AMERICA! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! ABANDON THE FACILITY!”

      “What? But he’s in a costume…Let’s just mow him down and be done with it.”

      “You don’t understand. This guy took down entire facility of super soldiers on his own, armed with nothing but his shield. And now he’s got a squad. We won’t stand a chance.”

      I mean, sure they didn’t necessarily say that, but if Cpt. America didn’t end his career early…well…you know his enemies would’ve had that conversation at one point.

  4. ngthagg says:

    They definitely screwed up with the romance sub-plot. The low point for me was when the love interest was on the front lines of the attack on Hydra’s fortress at the end. The only reason for her to be there was so she could have a romantic interlude with the Captain.

    Far better would have been if the two had actually had a romance, and proceeded to get married. The ending would have had a greater impact if he had lost his wife, rather than having lost that girl he kissed once and was going to go on a date with when he got home.

    • acronix says:

      I`m not surprised at that. Movies (and ficiton in general, I guess) treat the main character`s love interest as the true love. In a way, the fact that the girl he kissed once dies is a big deal for the character because it was the true and only love.

      Of course, if the movie gets a sequel, then the romantic subplot will deal with the character letting his last “true love” go away in peace while he gets a new “real-true-love-this-time”.

      • decius says:

        There is no “if” it gets a sequel. Cancelling the Avengers movie is not an option at this point.

        “Captain America and the Monster of the Week” is an optional sequel; I’d like to see a romantic subplot between Cap and one of the X-Men (Rogue?) at some point.

    • Cybron says:

      The point was to show that she’s an action girl. There was some stuff in the premovie releases (a quote from the actress I believe) about how ‘she can do everything cap can do, in high heels.’ I don’t recall any other significant contributions from her action-wise, so I guess that was kind of her moment to shine.

  5. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I have to admit I have mixed feeling about Cap being the title to get through the high-budget movie production meatgrinder in an acceptable shape. I know that any event of this kind should be cause for much rejoicing but… I don’t really like Captain America as a character.

    Maybe it’s because, not living in the US, I was never the target audience in the first place or, more likely, because they never published proper Cap where I’m from so I’ve only seen snippets of the character in his appearances in the titles I read but Captain always seemed kind of bland and one dimensional to me. So knowing that the movie is actually good (or at least decent) leaves me in this strange limbo: on the one hand it’s a decent superhero movie, on the other it is about a character I never really cared about…

    • Felblood says:

      No matter what country you come from, being “Captain America” just isn’t cool. Maybe Steve Rogers is an interesting character; I don’t know; I haven’t read his stuff.

      –but even my friends who are big Marvel fans aren’t fired up about this movie.

      Even the guys who were raving “OMG IRON MAN GETS A MOVIE I GOT TO SEE THIS!” (my respone: Who? –the robot guy in Marvel vs Capcom?) are all like “Meh. I never bothered to read Captain America, anyway. Doesn’t he, like, have an A on his face and a dorky shield? I don’t know, I never read his comics.”

      It’ll be a shame if this is the best movie in the Avengers series, because it’s pretty unlikely we’ll go see it.

      I mean, “Captain America”? Seriously?

      Who came up with that?

      • Topaz Wolf says:

        Captain America literally started out as a propaganda comic during world war 2. He somehow managed to stay around till now. Problem solved.

        • mixmastermind says:

          Actually, he started as an Anti-Nazi character before World War II even began in America. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby received a serious amount of hatemail for the character before WWII kicked off.

          • Topaz Wolf says:

            prop·a·gan·da = information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

            World War 2 started in 1939 and Captain America was published in 1940.

            By your own words he was created with a political philosophy against Nazis.

            Ergo, Captain America started as a propaganda comic during World War II. This was all I said.

            • Kayle says:

              But the US wasn’t an active participant* until late 1941; before Pearl Harbor, public opinion was anti-interventionist, which is why there were a lot of conspiracy-theories about Roosevelt knowing about the Pearl Harbor attack and intentionally allowing it to happen.

              * Roosevelt did push through the Lend-Lease program to supply Britain and the oil & steel embargo against Japan before PH.

              • Syal says:

                Propaganda is not necessarily government propaganda. It’s meant to guide people’s opinions, and not necessarily enforce them.

              • Just because they weren’t an active participant, doesn’t mean the government had no axe to grind on the subject. I’d say, despite such figures as Henry Ford, for the most part the American political class was either pro-intervention or, at a minimum, in favour of being neutral on Britain’s side.
                So for them, public opinion being anti-intervention wasn’t so much a democratic will to be followed as a problem to be solved. Hence propaganda. And for once they were probably right . . . even a stopped clock, etc.

              • Topaz Wolf says:

                Never once did I mention a particular group, let alone a nation…

                I merely noted his name was phrased so for a specific reason.

      • Halfling says:

        Captain America is basically the Marvel Superman. Obviously he is less powerful, because well Marvel is a more low power universe then DC.

        A lot of people find great appeal and entertainment in the Cap and Superman because they champion American values. Many of those values are held world wide by America’s allies.

        I seem to recall the actor playing the Cap in this movie said something along the lines of, you could call him Captain Good and it wouldn’t change anything about him.

        The Cap just like Superman is the champion of modern western values; freedom, equality, justice, etc. I don’t see why that makes him a laughable hero or someone not worth seeing. Especially since this movie makes Steve quite the likable guy.

        • Deadpool says:

          http://www.amazon.com/Annihilators-Dire-Threat-Marvel-Comics/dp/0785155538/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312617471&sr=1-1

          Anyone who says Marvel is a lower power universe than DC should read that.

          Cap IS weaker than Superman, and yes their roles overlap, but the two characters still have quite a few differences.

          Btw, not a huge Cap fan either, but Brubaker’s run on it was pretty good… Both rescently and the post 911 stuff (When Steve reveals his ID on international TV and moves back to Brooklyn).

          • Halfling says:

            Actually the reason I tend to say DC is more powerful is the Lanterns. As they are technically more powerful then Superman. In fact all the lanterns could be near infinitely powerful and there are thousands of them.

            • Topaz Wolf says:

              The abstracts in Marvel’s universe are much stronger than the lanterns. Silver surfer could beat greeny down. But I do agree that the average power level of the DC universe for earth bound hero’s is higher than that of Marvel. The real difference is the imperfections of marvel powers when compared to DC “weaknesses”.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Hmm, when I think about it I think calling him Captain Good wouldn’t really change (perhaps would even stress) how boring he is for me. Again, not saying there’s anything wrong with liking Cap, just that the stuff I know of him doesn’t work for me.

      • I never read Captain America either. And I’m fairly anti-American, or at least, anti-hyperpatriotic American (and, really, anti-hyperpatriotic anybody). But I have a certain sympathy for and interest in the character. He was a touchstone of sorts. Other characters I did read, like spidey for instance, always seemed to really respect Captain America . . . even if they were more powerful than he was, which most were, and even if they weren’t particularly patriotic themselves, he seemed to represent an ethical purity combined with maturity that other characters looked up to. In a weird way, Captain America has often functioned as the Superman of Marvel (Oh, I notice now that Halfling already pointed this out) . . . not in being arbitrarily powerful, but in mindset, he kind of worked as the Superman to lots of other people’s Batman. Even people who couldn’t work like that themselves and didn’t understand how he could were comforted that he was there, doing what he did and being who he was.
        Probably it wasn’t like that right from the beginning. But over time there was more to Cap than the silly outfit.

  6. adam says:

    I saw it last night (Fandango steered us wrong on Horrible Bosses showtimes). I didn’t like it, at all. And neither did anyone I was with. I’m pretty tolerant of movies overall, but it was just bad for me. The action was boring and not well done at all (unexciting, obvious CGI, etc), the writing went far beyond eye-twinkle cheesy (“Oh, you wouldn’t want THAT shield, it’s only a prototype–and also it’s the best shield! OMG!!!”), there was basically no compelling character development whatsoever (only the most stifling, hackneyed, skindeep caricatures of German scientists, Nazi madmen, All-American boys and ice-queen British girls), nor any exposition that could possibly make me care even a little about what was going on (“The Hydra guy is bad!” “Why?” “He wants to take over the world!” “Ok! Let’s stop him!” “Ok!!!”).

    I think that’s why I didn’t like it. Because it was so mediocre in every possible way. I can appreciate movies that are bad because they’re trying too hard, or because the director is inept or whatever. But this.. this was just aggressively bland in so many ways that it totally rubbed me the wrong way.

    Maybe this is just one of those times I guess I don’t “get it” but most everyone else does. Same thing happened with Ratatouille. Hated that movie.

    • Eärlindor says:

      The character of Captain America himself struck me as following a common trope found in certain myths and legends: the hero who is larger than life. That is to say, there isn’t one indecent bone in his body; No vices, no faults. No traditional arc (his ‘arc’, as Movie Bob would say, is him finding an outlet for that heroic persona).

      An example of a larger-than-life hero from a myth or legend is the epic of Beowulf. If you read the poem, the guy is incapable of having any faults from beginning to end.
      JRR Tolkien also adopted this for characters like Aragorn and Faramir in The Lord of the Rings, something which Sir Peter Jackson did not bring to the characters on the big screen (and poorly so for the former, in my opinion).

      I can definitely understand how some people would dislike the lack of a traditional arc, and while I love character arcs as much as the next guy, at the same time I found it refreshing that a larger-than-life hero was brought to the big screen for once (and done rather well, I thought).

      • adam says:

        And I’m okay with the larger than life hero. I’ve got no problem with Superman, other than the fact that I don’t find him to be a particularly interesting character in and of himself (due to his general lack of any inherent weaknesses). What makes a larger than life hero interesting is his environment, his origins, internal conflict over something compelling. This Captain America really had none of that. The story felt like a disjointed set of scenes put together to touch on the requisite bases and hit the “right” notes:

        1. Conflict–character is physically weak but mentally strong.
        2. Resolution–character is now physically strong. Has no inherent weaknesses.
        3. Conflict–character’s worth is in doubt for reasons that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. He was supposed to be the first in a line of super soldiers, but because they can’t make any more, they’re going to just ignore him? Why? Oh, they were going to put him in a lab to be studied but he casually opts out of that (and no one seems to give a crap either way) and everyone, including him, decides the best use of his time is performing showtunes.
        4. Resolution–after performing his act around the US, Cap ends up on the front lines in Italy where his old CO and love interest and best friend and dad’s old military division happen to be, and also happen to be embroiled in a conflict with a supervillain only he can stop.
        5. Conflict–Tommy Lee Jones says no, you can’t do anything because you’re only a mascot. (Even though half the movie up til now has been about you becoming a crazy-awesome super soldier).
        6. Resolution–Oh, Tony Stark’s dad’s also on the front lines, and he has a plane and is willing and able to take you anywhere you want.
        7. Conflict–bad guys with disintegration rays.
        8. Resolution–Cap can’t be stopped. By anyone or anything. Wow, fascinating.

        The movie progresses onward like this, but somehow gets even less compelling as it goes on. It plays out like a comic book written in the 1940s, which I suppose was actually the intention, but I don’t find 70 year-old comic books to be very entertaining. Wish I did, actually. Makes me feel old.

        • Eärlindor says:

          I agree with point 3; that really bugged me as well, I admit.

          Disintegration rays in 7 are courtesy of the Cosmic Cube, Marvel’s do-anything McGuffin

          And 8 goes back to what I was referring to.

          I’m not trying to change your opinion or anything, you just said earlier you thought maybe you were one of those people who didn’t “get it.” I was merely trying to help. I get what you’re saying, and that’s totally fine.
          I personally enjoyed it because I saw a throwback to the flawless good guy from old legends, which have a special place in my heart.

          • adam says:

            Totally, I wasn’t meaning to argue or anything. I think I just wanted to vent my frustration with the movie. I wanted to like it, especially since I was the one pushing my group to go to it after Plan A broke down. :)

            And maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just not interested in the “flawless hero” type of character. But my brother hated Captain America too and he’s a big Superman fan. So I don’t know.

            As far as the other examples like Aragorn et al, I’m not sure why those characters are more interesting to me. Maybe because they’re more believable due to Tolkien’s wonderfully crafted setting. I’ve read Tolkien and maybe I’m mixing up the movies and the books but I felt like there was interesting conflict in Aragorn’s character in the books due to his ancestry, his upbringing, his inadequacy (he was not absurdly superhumanly powerful), his desire to protect the ring/Frodo in competition with being thrust into a leadership and protective role over his entire race, etc etc. I don’t really remember Faramir too much from the books. Kind of a secondary character, wasn’t he?

            Anyway, yeah, I appreciate the discussion. I hate being negative and feeling cynical about things. I’m a very positive person, and I just felt like Captain America could have been a hundred times better. Oh well.

            • Soylent Dave says:

              Faramir in the books is the anti-Boromir.

              Boromir exists to show how easily the nobility of man can be corrupted by the Ring; Faramir exists to show that true nobility can resist the lure of the Ring (provided there’s something else for the man to hold onto – in Faramir’s case, his word).

              Both characters in the films are a bit more well-rounded and as a result each steals a few traits from the other (which I thought ended up making them feel more like brothers than they do in the books).

            • Eärlindor says:

              No worries, I didn’t think you were arguing. :)
              And like said, the ‘flawless hero’ archetype is not for everybody.

              I think you’re pretty spot-on for Aragorn, though the inadequacy bit is movie-(not book-)Aragorn.

              And yeah, Faramir was one of those “can do no wrong” characters. While everyone else is being tempted by the Ring, he is saying, “I wouldn’t even pick it up, even if I found it on the side of the road and no idea what it was.” And, “I wouldn’t use this thing, even if Gondor was burning and I alone could save her.”
              This is coming from a guy with daddy issues (albeit exaggerated in the film a little), his home and people are on the verge of destruction, and he doesn’t have the men or resources to fight Mordor and its allies. Then out of nowhere the epitome of power falls into lap and he instantly turns it away.
              In the film, they made Faramir desire the Ring. He sees a chance to save his home and win daddy’s approval. He doesn’t see the evil of the Ring until the brink, then grows and becomes that strong character we know from the books.
              For the film, I think it worked really well.
              I’ll be honest, film-wise, I can’t think of a good argument for Book-Faramir that you could fit into an already lengthy film. That’s not to say there isn’t an argument to be made, because there is, but this film is not the book. We don’t have the benefit of time or the interest of the mainstream audience or critics to go into details–that Faramir is one of a handful of characters in which the very wisdom and morals of Tolkien himself are inserted–that this is a part in the story where themes of morals, wisdom, and spiritual salvation come into play.

        • Lanthanide says:

          I agree with you, although I didn’t really “hate it”, just thought it was pretty meh. Having free tickets and nothing else worth seeing is why I went, so I don’t feel short-changed.

          The big thing is that the movie lacked tension. It also just seemed to be a big bunch of dis-jointed scenes smooshed together, and I think this was a fault of the two montages – the fundraising in America and then the long montage of destroying the 5 hydra bases. By the time they got the final base, you knew they were going to win, and that’s the one they showed us.

          Really if you look at all the sequences after he gets the serum:

          SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
          SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
          SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
          I tried to put tags in but they didn’t work for some reason, and when you edit using this thing if you put them in it strips them out again.
          1. Showtuning it up around the US.
          2. Rescueing squad from hydra
          3. Destroying hydra’s many bases effortlessly
          4. Randomly attacking a single train, for incredibly obvious plot development of killing off his best friend. There’s no reason this couldn’t have been in the rest of the montage for example. They captured the top scientist but as far as I can tell he didn’t actually do anything useful except confirm where the final hydra base was.
          5. Destroying the final hydra base
          SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
          SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
          SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

          • Deadpool says:

            Arnim Zola revealed the location… Also, he had to live through the movie cuz he’s Arnim friggin Zola, so that scene took him off the board without his death.

            I agree with the montages being over used.

            CGI could’ve used some work too.

            Overall, STILL an enjoyable movie… Human Torch “cameo” was the best.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            At least the montages were long enough – seriously, Green Lantern’s training montage was like “Right, off you go then. What, you thought there would be more? Pfft.”

      • Topaz Wolf says:

        Deleted for reasons of not being where I wanted it.

      • Mmmm . . . well, like with Captain America, Beowulf doesn’t get a lot of character development. It isn’t the point. In epic myths and to some extent in comic books, the measure of a person is their deeds.

        But even within that, it’s probably wrong to say he has no faults. He has a speech or two that are pretty nasty–when Unferth says basically “Oh, who are you coming here to solve all our problems–I’ve heard you’re not such hot stuff as you’re making out” he seriously shreds the guy. I mean OK, it’s good he spoke up for himself, but he gets kind of over the top.
        And it’s at least arguable that he was a fool in the fight against the dragon–he has all these guys who are sworn to fight and die for him if necessary, and he insists on telling them to beetle off and hide while he fights the dragon all by himself. If his nephew hadn’t disregarded that order, he would have lost the fight.

        From the little backstory you get, it seems like he was a late bloomer, too.

        More broadly, I agree with Audacity way up thread about characters. I know lots of people in real life who are really nice. Sure, they all have flaws, but it’s more along the “tend not to say which thing they want to do because they’re being overpolite and want you to do what you want” or “leave toenail clippings around” lines than the kind of Deep Dark Secret or Huge Attitude Problem or Big Pain Causing Huge Attitude Problem that movie protagonists always seem to have. We take this kind of thing as characterization, and it can often fool us into thinking it’s even deep, but actually it’s just a simplistic character with a big hook on instead of a simplistic character. I suppose that’s a bit more interesting, but it’s pretty much a dodge, a quick trick to create conflict–it doesn’t make them much more of a real person. And it’s been overdone.

  7. General Karthos says:

    I’d really, quite honestly, rather you be wrong about Mass Effect 3 than Captain America. I could take (yet another) bad superhero movie a lot better than I could take another DA2-size disappointment from BioWare.

    Hopefully TOR will be a good MMORPG, and let me forget my worries about ME3 for a while.

    I would like to see Captain America, though I know nothing about him. Not sure however, whether I’ll get out there or not. Movies are a little expensive and with finances the way they are, I’m tightening my belt.

  8. TheAngryMongoose says:

    “MovieBob is a huge fan of Captain America and he liked it. I knew little about Cap and cared even less, and I liked it. My kids liked it, my wife liked it. So the movie managed to cover just about everyone. Fans, kids, and adults. ”

    That’s ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the human population that likes Captain America.

    • Bret says:

      Pretty sure Nazis aren’t fond.

      Which is the best group to have hating you. Marvel seems to be putting effort into making the right enemies this summer.

      • decius says:

        Well, the bid bad isn’t exactly a Nazi, he’s the guy that makes the Nazis look like reasonable human beings by comparison.

      • Halfling says:

        The Hydra people are basically out of the Nazi Party before the movie even starts. Not a single Hydra guy ever wears a swastika. So even Nazis could like this movie because they could root against the guys who stopped pursuing, ‘Aryan perfection.’

        :P

      • Zak McKracken says:

        Actually, he might be integrated favourably into a Nazi’s worldview.
        He’s big and tall, strong, blond, true to himself, loves his country and kills bad guys like nothing.
        So, short of the definition of “bad guys”, there’s a lot that a Nazi might like about him, intended or not. Oh, and his enemies are worse than Nazis, and “look at that, someone’s more evil than Hitler, so the whole Nazi thing can’t have been so bad” is one of the oldest “defending Nationalism” tropes on earth. It should be outlawed.

        I’m really curious how the Cap treats regular bad guys in the movie … I think that’s the point that will make me like or hate him.

        • Bret says:

          Except, you know, not being a racist. Or a psychopath.

          Or, naturally, any kind of Uberman. Cap’s a scrawny kid from Brooklyn who got drugged into physical fitness with a serum that could kick anyone into the same state, no matter their appearance or parentage. He invalidates racial superiority more than he supports it.

          And Cap, while he’s not a murderer or looking to kill people, (even says he doesn’t hate Germans at all) he leaves a lot of dead HYDRA agents in his wake. It’s war, and that means a lot of people get shot to death. And CAPTAIN AMERICA is very, very good at killing everything standing between mankind and freedom.

  9. Brandon says:

    I saw Captain America last week and thought it was incredible as well. Here’s hoping for ME3! :P

  10. rrgg says:

    I want to get excited about Captain America, but like most comic book heroes I just can’t get over the awful character design.

  11. Lintman says:

    I saw it with my family and we all enjoyed it a lot.

    When you reduce it to “scrawny guy becomes a superhero”, the plotline sounds trite, but it was very well done and didn’t strike me that way at all. Steve Roger’s positive attitude had me rooting for him and captured some of the feeling of old WWII-era movies.

    I don’t think every superhero needs to be tormented, deeply flawed or surrounded by the constant melodrama that Batman and Spiderman have.

    My main criticism of the movie is that I would have liked more time spent showing CA coming into his own as a leader, fighting the Red Skull’s armies and establishing his legend. All the origin stuff was great, but it could have used a bit more payoff towards the end – maybe another 10-15 min of heroics.

    > Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Wow, is this new, or was it something I said?

  12. Allan says:

    I enjoyed the movie, and it was infinitely better than I expected it to be (tricky subject matter to do well). But by and large it succeeded. It did, however, have a couple problems which (for me) really broke the spell. Obviously, this is just my own, personal, subjective opinion.

    1. They can only make one super-soldier because the bad traitor guy breaks the last vial of the stuff. Seriously? Does any Hollywood scientist EVER write anything down? This particularly annoyed me because it was so unnecessary: with some effort they could have just given a reason and moved on, like there was some freaky genetic thing with Steve Rogers and trying it on other people wouldn’t work, or it was still experimental and they were rushing it, or something.

    2. The romantic subplot. This just largely annoyed me because it was so unnecessary, and took up way too much screen time. Yes, it humanised the character somewhat, but it kept on well beyond the point of necessary, eg the kiss/plane scene.

    3. The shield bit. “Oh, that’s all of this super-rare element, we put it into a shield then didn’t intend to actually use it”?

    As I said, I actually enjoyed it 90% of the time, just a few break-points that detracted from it that really weren’t necessary for the movie to work.

    • decius says:

      The real reason they can’t make more is that the traitor killed the only person who knew how to make them, and his notes are intentionally useless to anyone except him.

      • Deadpool says:

        Yeah. Erskine was purposedly secretive about his research. Also note that Blonski used a revised version of the formula years later, with some side effects (not unlike the original formula, Red Skull used).

    • Arsen says:

      I don’t know why people go on and on about the shield and why Stark didn’t want the Captain to use it. I found it quite simple to rationalize. Stark is a defense contractor who makes his fortune by selling weapons to the government. Therefore he’d prefer the Captain to use a shield he can mass produce in order to sell truckloads instead of a shield which is made out of a material that’s hard to come by.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        That…actually makes sense.

        He wanted public approval funding first of some easier to make shields so he could sell them to the army, and make more money to develop his super cars/giant power generators.

  13. Topaz Wolf says:

    My review to everyone who asks me is simple. Captain America could have been a better movie, but it couldn’t have been a better Captain America movie. It upholds all of what the cap is and what he stands for, but it does not set a new bar for the movie industry. If you like the cap, you will probably like the movie. If you don’t, then you won’t. Personally I only watched it so I can see the Avengers movie with all the knowledge of the other movies. I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

  14. Ander the Halfling Rogue says:

    I just cannot take that get-up seriously. The trailer had me interested… then I saw the costume. I nothing about this character, and I can take most superhero clothes. But something in me just says that his costume is too… something. This is, admittedly, NO reflection on the movie itself at all; I just can’t take it seriously.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      You’ll be happy to know, then, that the movie doesn’t take the costume seriously as well.

      Like, seriously – the only reason he keeps wearing it is because it’s iconic by the time he actually does some heroic stuff.

  15. Louis says:

    I saw it this weekend, and I remembered the original post when they showed the “first” costume. I had a good laugh at it, especially in light of the worry. I had been wondering how the Rocketeer guy, who kept the cafe shaped like a bulldog, could have had a big problem with Cap’s costume. Turns out, he’s fine with it.

  16. Halfling says:

    I really enjoyed the film overall though I do have a number of gripes. But like all of the other Avenger lead in movies it has one really weak act. In my opinion it was act III in this film. Iron Man was of course had a very lacking act III. And Thor’s first act was just off.

    Also Red Skull was just….I don’t know. Agent Elrond just does not make a good German madman. He would have been better if he would not have bothered with the accent.

    Interestingly enough my wife and I really enjoyed the romance subplot that most people in this comments section seemed to hate. Maybe it is because we are kind of old school saps. Personally I would have preferred it was given a little more screen time so it would have made his sacrifice a bigger deal.

    Thor in many ways did the sacrifice love to save others really well, so I think it was harder for Captain America to follow behind it and end on a similar note.

    • Mormegil says:

      My feelings more or less exactly.

      I’m not a comic book guy. I’m an australian so just the name “Captain America” makes my teeth grind. I had no intention of seeing this thing. Good reviews started happening so I figured I’d give it a chance. Up until act 3 it was one of the best super hero movies I’ve seen.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Then ending for Act 3 just made me think the following conversation should’ve been put in.

      Mook: So, sir, we have your ship good and ready.

      Villain: Alright, cool.

      Mook: Who are you going after first?

      Villain: New York.

      Mook: Wait, what? Why not Berlin, I mean…it’s mostly on the way, and you already marked it on the map as one of the places you’d attack. Like seriously, we could go do that AND take out London on the way!

      Villain: Nope, we go after New York.

      Mook: …*Sigh* Why?

      Villain: I dunno – it’s like some sort of villain initiation. Or something.

      The end act just kept me thinking “This would make for an interesting drinking game act 3.

      • Cuthalion says:

        I assumed he went after New York because he was ticked at Captain America.

        Or you could be right, and it’s just because the movie is inherently about America.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          It just was very, very odd.

          He does try to bomb Boston first (Unsuccessfully), but since the point of Captain America is that he’s sort of above patriotism and just wants to defend against “bully-types” (Hence, Hydra), you’d think the villain just wants to go mess with Captain America, and could easily actually achieve a bombing run against Berlin – oh wait, that would just more or less turn him into FFXIII’s Barthandelus, I suppose (Oh, you want us to destroy Orphan? Yeah, we were going to do that anyways.), but you know, Paris and London were already more or less on the way, and proving to Captain America that he’s just that evil AND competent would’ve been an interesting villain piece. I was seriously cheering when he sets the self destruct sequences on that one building before leaving, pointing out that his guards were dead either way. Oh, and the whole “We fought to the last man.” “Evidently, not.” – an actual efficient villain? Finally!

          And then…He travels halfway across the world to go bomb New York. Nevermind then…

  17. Nasikabatrachus says:

    I enjoyed Captain America. I was, however, put off by a few things:

    1. In the early parts of the movie, when Steve Rogers is still a skinny guy, his voice is strangely disconnected from his body. For me it was like watching those ScottTrade commercials where there’s a talking baby with the voice of a 30 year old man. It just doesn’t match.

    2. I thought the movie’s treatment of race issues at the time was really weird. I guess all it took to overcome the widespread racism at the time was for people to just introduce themselves to each other. Almost as if racism were no problem at all. I think if I had lived as an African-American in the 40s and 50s I would probably find the movie kind of insulting.

    3. The ending. It’s like whoever wrote the script forgot about the plot and just sort of trailed off at the end, not knowing what else to do.

    4. The Nazi–sorry, Hydra–killin’ montage. A few cross sections of relentless success against the bad guys isn’t really good entertainment.

    Otherwise I liked it. It was cheesy, but I figured I should just watch it like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: An Interplanetary Battle with the Tiger Men of Mars and I relaxed and enjoyed myself.

    • Amarsir says:

      Regarding racial treatment, I’m torn. On the one hand it’s a period piece and they clearly disregarded the reality of the time. On the other hand I keep thinking of that ST:Deep Space 9 episode where Sisko discussed the 50s holosuite program with his girlfriend. She pointed out it wasn’t realistic for the period, but he countered that when the goal is entertainment (not history) then it’s not wrong to correct the bad things and experience the way it should have been.

      That said, the multicultural Power Ranger squad as his backup team is insulting in any time period.

      But I liked it. It had the same problem all Episode 1s have in that so much time is spent on origin there’s little character or plot development. But I have to agree with MovieBob that the decision to play it straight is exactly the tone that Captain America needed.

      • Jack of Spades says:

        Surprisingly, Amarsir, Dum-Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos were Sgt. Nick Fury’s team when his adventures were originally published – albeit in 1963, not WWII. Gabe Jones was not added for the movie; he’s part of the comics canon. Jimmy Woo is an addition to the Howlers; he was a SHIELD agent after starring in his own series (starting in 1956).

      • Traska says:

        Actually, it was Sisko who was peeved at the inaccuracies, and Cassidy Yates who insisted that it was an idealized “what could have been” version of reality.

        • Tesh says:

          Avery Brooks might be a part of that. The man seems to have some deep pet peeves about race. (That’s not to say history is rosy, just that he seems to be carrying some grudges beyond their usefulness.)

          I liked the multi-ethnic squad. It played like a “UN Allies cooperating for the greater good” thing. Call it romanticized, but I think it fit in well with the tone of the movie and how fighting the good fight isn’t about stupid things like race, it’s about action.

    • Bret says:

      There was a little racism noted with Doogan’s attitude towards Jim Morita. Just Cap isn’t the sort of person you can be racist around for long.

      Howlers were a team of POWs forced together by circumstances that saved each other’s lives a fair deal. Makes sense they’d have less issue than most units.

      • Crusader Corim says:

        Also, the Howling Commandos WERE an integrated unit when Marvel wrote them, so that fits with Marvel’s history. I like it because they didn’t emphasize it, just let it be a fact.

  18. Adam says:

    By any fair rubric, the movie was at least decent. Go see it, Shamus.

  19. Vekni says:

    “while at the same time pleasing the core fans that likely know the material better than its creators”

    And that’s where I disagree-I feel the fans are owed nothing. Just because someone likes something doesn’t mean it deserves anything. A horrible senseless idea, regardless of how many people like it, is a horrible senseless idea. Why, just look at pop music!

    The diamond in the rough analogy. Lots of stuff in comics have a neat idea or two, a good story or two, great analogy or two….and then lots of crap built up around it. The crap is there because it was largely written as disposable fluff for a format that needs to appeal to advertisers and keep getting published that month.

  20. daveNYC says:

    It was entertaining enough. It would have been far worse without Tommy Lee Jones, but that’s true for any movie he’s in.

    Biggest problem I had was the ending. He’s on the plane, Red Skull has grabbed the cube and been vaporized or whatever, and now his big master plan is to crash the thing? It’s not like it’s been set to self-destruct or anything. And there’s no reason why he couldn’t just turn the thing left and crash someplace a little more tropical. It just seemed a very forced way to get him frozen so he could travel to the future. And what the heck were those fighter things on the jet? First they look like bombs with city names on them, then guys jump in the cockpits on the things.

    • Riggaburtos says:

      I figured they were just nukes they would pilot like suicide bombers.

      Overall I really enjoyed Captain America. One thing I really liked was the fact that they didn’t take the Green Lantern costume route with Redskull’s face and make it with terrible CGI and instead simply made it with good makeup.

    • Topaz Wolf says:

      The cube was the planes power source, without it it couldn’t fly. Since the turning mechanism was controlled entirely by thrusters he couldn’t turn it, only aim it down some how. Not terribly sensible, but slightly more than it seems.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        As I understand it, the computer screen that showed where it was going was pre-programmed, and while auto-pilot could be eventually turned off and turned, or whatever, the automated bomb-droppers would’ve launched them at the place anyways.

        By crashing it into the see, the circuits on the plane are short-circuited, and the bombs don’t get launched.

        Which leads to one last plot hole – why didn’t the bombs blow up upon contact?

        • That last one doesn’t strike me as a real hole. Lots of kinds of bombs are actually pretty hard to detonate except by whatever means you expressly use to detonate them. It’s like the way real cars pretty much never explode when they crash like they do in the movies.

          • decius says:

            For that matter, most BOMBS don’t detonate on contact. Typically there’s a detonator set for altitude, proximity, time, or whatever trigger is best; period AAA shells were time fused, because a) an impact fuse that noticed a period plane would detonate on firing unacceptably often and b) proximity kills are the intended method of operation.

            There’s no reason to think that the bombs of magic death are intended to hit the ground before detonating; therefore there is no need for them to detonate on impact. I’m more concerned about things like how the aircraft was navigating without the use of any kind of navigation system like an accurate clock and an astronomy suite, or why, of all things, the Secret Hydra Weapons Program developed better displays for their smaller-than-a-building computer systems. If that time and effort had been spent on the ‘kill all my enemies’ plan, it would have finished before the war started.

  21. The thing that worked for me is that they made Cappy so likable from the start and set up the idea of a supersoldier who was chosen because he was weak and not because he was strong so well that I was rooting for him. I wanted him to win. Movie writers need to remember this: You can get away with a lot, including a much weaker and more incoherent second act (IMHO the first act is just brilliant while the later half of the movie needed a little more time to make everything work right), if the character is likable and we want him to succeed. Then the tension is about his victory, and you don’t need huge stakes like world destruction (though that does become the stakes) because the stakes we are invested in are, “The character we like is in trouble and we want him to find a way out”.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      because the stakes we are invested in are, “The character we like is in trouble and we want him to find a way out”.

      This. It’s the same reason that when Luke goes to destroy the first Death Star, and ends up getting tailed by Tie fighters and has to use the force to get that shot without his targeting computer works. We want him to win, and don’t really think much about the whole “Hey, why is there a single point of weakness in the Death Star?” problem.

      Well, at least, until later, after all the tension is gone. At the same time as we realised Luke just destroyed millions of people who were just doing their jobs as janitors.

  22. Vect says:

    I like the film. It’s got a tongue-in-cheek style to it, especially with the stupid propaganda that the politicians make Cap star in. Doesn’t take itself too seriously and overall a satisfying enough film.

    Also, is it just me or do I sorta imagine House in his heyday to be like Howard Stark in the film?

    • Oh wow, you’re right – I just realised they look almost identical (well, House’s picture on the monitors does at least)

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        *Ahem*

        [Rutskarn’s House Voice]”It doesn’t matter that you decided to choose the prototype shield that I told you not to choose – it fits all perfectly into my plan. The shield you chose has no bearing on the overall part of the end-game, and at best, is cosmetic. In fact, I even put all of the super-rare-awesome-ultimate metal into the prototype, knowing that you’d choose the prototype if I told you not to.” [Rutskarn’s House Voice]

        Feel free to dub Vizzini‘s voice in instead, for extra humour. I know I did halfway through writing this.

  23. BlackBloc says:

    What I find ironic is that I’m *this* close (holds thumb and index a millimeter apart) to primary anti-Americanism and I actually like the Captain. Especially his role in the Marvel ‘Civil War’ series. I see Captain America has upholding the values of that *mythical* America, shining beacon of freedom on a hill, as opposed to the actual America. And those values are mighty fine. I find it interesting that the people who actually seem to believe in America as a nation find him tacky.

  24. Takkelmaggot says:

    It wasn’t Iron Man but we all enjoyed it. There was enough fan service (Look! Arnim Zola! Hey, there’s Dum Dum Dougan and the old S.H.I.E.L.D. crew!) to make me smile, and Hugo Weaving was a good Red Skull. It helps a just a little to have seen Thor; the Cube makes an appearance in both movies, and what happens to the Red Skull when he grabs hold of it looks a LOT like the Bifrost gateway opening.

    I can sympathize with people who are unimpressed with a character named Captain America; the character was a product of his era, and while the culture has changed they just wouldn’t be the Avengers without Cap. The team needs a leader and none of the other characters are up to it.

    • Takkelmaggot says:

      Sorry, I didn’t catch the open italic tag before posting, and when I did I couldn’t edit the post. Shamus, feel free to delete the post.
      Also, did I do something wrong with the spoiler tag?

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      The team needs a leader and none of the other characters are up to it.

      Why not Thor? Afterall, IIRC, MovieBob was saying that it looks like Loki will be the Avenger villain leader…Or Stark, with his high-tech wizardry setting everyone up to take on the enemy?

      Or hey, that Nick Fury guy seems like a leader…and he doesn’t seem to be doing anything else.

      Then again, I’ve never read The Avengers comics, so…this is just based off of random spouting.

      • Topaz Wolf says:

        Technically Iron Man leads the team first in most cases. You know being the rich genius of the team has some perks. Captain America leads it later.

        Nick Fury leads all of shield (a much more time consuming task than it seems). Basically, he leads in the big since while the team directs itself.

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