Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America - Patriotic Awesome

It's been a damn good year for Marvel's movie division. As I blogged earlier this year, Thor was a godly orgy of awesome complete with Natalie Portman's ass to make it all the more sweet. This movie, like Iron Man before it, is assembling a massive load of C4 caliber awesome to help build up the impending nuclear blast of pants-shitting awesome that is the Avengers movie. But like any self-respecting Marvel fan knows, you can't have the Avengers without Captain America. That's where Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger movie comes in.

Now this movie wasn't without controversy and some of it was fairly warranted. The man who got the role of Steve Rogers, Chris Evans, is no stranger to Marvel movies. He also played Johnny Storm in the two maligned Fantastic Four movies, two movies that despite solid visuals had about as much depth as a two-year-old's fingerpainting. I've yet to see both movies fully sober and Chris Evan's flat performance was only the 5th thing wrong with that movie. But unlike some fans, I believe in second chances so I gave Chris Evans the benefit of the doubt with Captain America.

The movie starts out in the present with a scene all Cap fans should be familiar with. SHIELD, having too much free time and money on their hands, search an arctic wasteland for ruins of something deemed more precious than gold or the Grateful Dead's secret stash. They end up finding Captain America encased in ice and from here, we go from the present to the past. This is where most of the movie takes place, but it's not just one big flashback. If anything, the present is the prelude. The real meat of the story takes place in the 1940s where Steve Rogers is a sickly kid from Brooklyn and everyone else is busy shitting their pants over the prospect of Nazis taking over the world.

In these early parts of the movie, we don't get straight into the action. We actually get a glimpse into the kind of man that Steve Rogers really is. He's not some tragic figure who pisses and moans about everything. He's a guy who God slacked off on when crafting his body, but he doesn't let that stop him. He's willing to pick fights with guys who can kick his ass and he's willing to lie in order to get into the army to go fight the Nazis. He's basically the anti-George W. Bush.

One of the most powerful scenes in this area is when Professor Erskin, the man behind the super soldier formula, does a quick test to find his first specimen. He takes a grenade and throws it into a crowd of recruits. It's a bit of a dick move, but it makes a point. While all the other macho men tighten their assholes and adjust their panties, the sickly and weak Steve Rogers dives right on top of the grenade. I don't care who you are, but that shit takes balls and it proves more than anything that Steve Rogers is the man for the job.

So Steve gets his shot at the Super Soldier serum. And low and behold, it works. He becomes the strong, tough guy that used to beat the shit out of him. Except he doesn't let it go to his head. He uses his skills to chase after the goons from Hydra, who have secretly become the kind of force that Hitler could only have jerked off to in his sleep. They succeed in killing Professor Erskin, which pretty much puts Captain America on a collision course with these assholes that would dominate the rest of the movie.

At first, he doesn't get his shot. Rather than send him into the field to kick ass against the Nazis, the politician of the 40s show they're as shameless as the politicians of today. They send Cap on a PR campaign to beef up support for the war. They dress him up in what looks like the Captain America costume my old roommate wore to a Halloween party, which he later pissed in when he got drunk. But that's another story. Naturally, Steve Rogers doesn't care for this shit so when nobody is willing to throw him into the field, he throws himself into the field. With balls as tough as adamantium, he single-handedly frees over 400 prisoners from Hydra including his old buddy Bucky Barnes. This finally gets the point across. He's not a showman. He's a soldier and he's ready to kick some ass.

His chief opponent is the Red Skull, who throughout the movie is working to tap a power that if you stayed after the credits for the Thor movie you will recognize. Somehow, this guy got his hands on the fucking cosmic cube and is preparing to use it to sodomize the world on a level not seen since boy bands hit it big in the late 90s. There isn't much depth to the guy. He sees himself as a demigod, drunk with power. He doesn't get the same treatment that Steve Rogers gets in that we never find out what makes him tick. That's a bit of a shame because there's no denying that the son-of-a-bitch is motivated. He makes it a point to beat the shit out of Captain America any chance he gets. This is what leads to the big climax of the movie when Cap has to stop the Red Skull from bombing the entire eastern seaboard of the US with cosmic cube powered bombs.

It makes for a heroic finale, but the best parts happen when the credits stop rolling! Like with Thor and Iron Man, we get some extra scenes. However, this time it's a lot more than just a teaser. It's a full blown trailer for the Avengers movie! If you see this trailer and your brain is still intact, you're either comatose or dead! THAT'S how awesome it is.

So what can I say about Captain America overall? Well for one thing, it made me feel patriotic again. After a decade of George W. Bush, my love for America was ranked at about the same place as my love for my back scratcher. America doesn't give us a lot of reasons to love her these days, but Captain America epitomizes what makes America awesome. Chris Evans fully redeems himself from Fantastic Four. He depicts both the hero and the man with Steve Rogers. He leads a story that's full of action, personal drama, and depth. Moreover, the details in this movie closely connect with the other Marvel movies. Howard Stark shows up as does the cosmic cube and references to Norse mythology. It's a beautifully coherent and beautifully crafted story that sets the stage for the Avengers movie. For that, I can only say that Captain America accomplishes everything it set out to accomplish. For that, I give it a 5 out of 5. It's not quite as good as Thor, but it's within spitting distance! If you want to see the next step to the Avengers movie and get a sneak peak while you're at it, you owe it to yourself to see this movie! If you start agonizing over the prospect of waiting until next summer to see Avengers, then don't worry. That's to be expected! Nuff said.

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