The summer of the super-hero movie wraps up with Marvel Entertainment’s “Captain America”, the last of the individual comic book films intended to prep us for next year’s “Avengers” ensemble movie. Just like the previous comic book pictures, I had genuine concerns. Could Chris Evans play something other than a corny, wisecracking supporting character? Could the film capture the 1940′s look and feel and accurately mix it with a super-hero story? Would the filmmakers stay close to the source material’s themes of sacrifice and American patriotism? Those questions were answered each with a solid “Yes”.
The story is well constructed and flows at solid pace up until the end where is screeches to a halt. But this isn’t necessarily a flaw. Instead it serves a purpose as a bridge of sorts to the Avengers film. A lot of time went into capturing the 1940s feel and it pays off. The wardrobes, architecture, music, and even lingo all are effective and satisfying. I was also pleased to see that all of the American patriotism was there and not sacrificed for a more globally acceptable premise. Patriotism is a key ingredient in the source material and it’s used well in the movie. More importantly than all of that, the movie is a lot of fun. It’s the picture of what a summer popcorn movie should be like. It’s not brain food but it’s a fast two hours and it had me wanting to see it again.
Perhaps my only gripe with the picture is that we’re never given much insight into the Red Skull’s motivations for his evil actions. Sure, I came up with my own conclusions based on tiny portions of information (I won’t share them in interest of not spoiling it for others), but his purposes could be construed as your typical, generic, run-of-the-mill desires for world domination. If you put pieces together you can come up with a reasonable theory but the movie could have done a better job of developing his motives.
Chris Evans really surprised me with his ability to capture the essence of Steve Rogers both pre- and post- Super Soldier experiment. He has a firm grip on the character and never feels out of place. He helped by a strong supporting cast particularly Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hugo Weaving.
My concerns were addressed and answered with clarity. “Captain America” is a fantastic and fun summer movie and the best of the bunch from this summer. It won’t be for everyone especially those feeling superhero fatigue. But as a comic book guy I really liked it.