Monday, August 8, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Flick: Captain America: The First Avenger

The Peeps: Chris Evans ( both regular and mini), Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Dominic Cooper, Hugo Weaving, Neal McDonough, Toby Jones, (What? Nothing for Andy Serkis?!), etc.

The Dealio: This film takes us back to WWII, and the sort of 90 pound weakling who used to get sand kicked in his face at the beach. Nowadays, those are the guys who create things like Microsoft and FB. But, back then, well, there was a war on, and it was seen as the duty of every red-blooded man (and some women, let's face it) to come to the aid of their country. And, they did. In droves. Except for Steve Rogers, who couldn't pass a draft physical to save his soul. After the ninth unsuccessful try, Steve unburdens himself to his BFF, who just signed up. If only he could have the chance. He knew, just knew, he could do something grand. While Steve is spinning his tale of woe, he is unaware that he has been overheard by a quiet little anonymous man, loitering around the queue. That little man is none other than Dr. Abraham Erskine, once a leading scientist in Germany. Erskine's heart goes out to the earnest, if decidedly, um, unimpressively built Rogers. And, naturally, he has a plan. He sells Rogers on the idea of being an experimental subject in the quest to manufacture the world's most perfect fighting machine. Seems Erskine was very close to a break-through, when the political climate- as well as the goals of the radical Johann Schmidt- became too threatening. Erskine moved his ops to the good ol' US of A, and now, is recruiting a totally new sort of fighting man: power with empathy, ability with compassion. He sees what no one else does in Rogers- including the military boss in this project, a fairly apoplectic (as apoplectic as Jones can allow himself to become) Colonel Chester Phillips. Will Rogers become the nation's best hope of ending the war? Well, lemme see...what's the name of this flick? You got it. And, don't worry; Rogers has got our back.

The Grading Session: 4.91 pengies out of 5: everyone was totally on board with this mix of history, action, sci-fi and a touch of romance. The music was a great, accurate fit and- although we did not see the film in 3D, the money invested in the FX seemed well spent. A few debits for the flummery of the costumes (I know, pre-ordained by the comic. Noted. Still.....that mask. That shield!)

Noteworthy Quote(s): Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! New Feature Alert! This movie inspired me to add a new feature to the reviews. Quotes. Sometimes, they will be from the book or movie itself. Sometimes, they will be harvested from the 'overheard bin'. So. Shall we begin with one from this last category? Yesssss. Overheard walking out of the theatre: 'Wow! This movie sure makes me proud to be an American!' 'I know! Who knew we were able to do all that way back during WWII.' OK, folks. Reality check: you did know this was fiction, did you not? Based on a comic book? Am I right? So, new question on the table: what the tarnation did the same peeps think of Inglourious Basterds?

Lessons Learned: Never underestimate the power of film to sway an audience. To sweep them up into the action and even to melt their nerve endings to the point where they cannot separate fact from really, really creative fiction. Also this: What if Napoleon has a B-52? Incredible amount of history rewriting required, no? Lastly this: even without all this scientific hocus-pocus, never kick sand into the 90 pound weakling's face. You just never know where he/she will turn up next. Maybe even opposite you in a job interview? Think about it.

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