Posted on 8/01/11 03:20 PM
I remember watching the made for t.v. movie, "Captain America", when I was almost 7 years old, and I admit, I liked it....back in 1979. Starring Reb Brown (a surfer-looking muscle-bound, beach-blonde straight out of Muscle Beach, California), this was one of those superheroes with a cool suit and cool gadget-filled motorcycle on which he placed his cool transparent shield from which deflected oncoming gunfire. That was then.
Now, watching Conan O'Brien show clips of that exaggerated, cheesy, and very dated failed t.v. pilot, I wasn't too interested in watching the new "Captain America: The First Avenger". But considering that, like the entertaining "Thor", the fascinating comic-book-like "The Incredible Hulk", and the exciting "Iron Man" (the first one, not the way too over-the-top sequel), and that many people are giving this film an 80% on RT, this film would be a great origins-type predecessor to 2012's highly anticipated "The Avengers".
Well, I should've stuck to my first instinct and waited for this one on DVD.
Don't get me wrong, this movie has some good production values, and has some entertaing performances (Chris Evans in the title role; Hugo Weaving as the experiment-gone-wrong Red Skull; a very dry and humorous Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips; and especially Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, in a small but important role), but that's about it.
The film starts out promising and contains some involving sequences -- the very beginning where we watch as a very puny and anorexic-looking Steve Rogers tries to enlist in the army, but is denied every time. And we begin to root for him as he shows us is loyalty for his country, and that his spirit can never be broken, even when being pummeled by a man twice his size.
But as soon as he steps out of Howard Stark's experimental chamber, "Captain America" goes downhill from there.
The film has stretches of somewhat uninteresting dialogue that seem to drag on a little too long. Hardly any action sequence feels important enough to carry on with very much urgency. And except for Jones' perfectly timed one-liners, this movie was hardly humorous.
With Captain America's overall presence, there is never any sense of real danger for Steve or his alter-ego. We know he's going to survive everything they throw at him -- he is a one-man army who uses his powers for good, and thrashes everything in his sight with hardly a scratch to show for it. Where's the excitement in that? We already have the Hulk to show for those traits.
And as for the other superheroes, Thor has his mighty hammer and Tony Stark has his Iron Man suit. But with Rogers' power, what are his weaknesses? The mortality of his friends?
With what happens to his best friend, I expected that, but in the end, it felt like a throw-away character. And as for his friend/love interest, Peggy Carter, it would've been hard for anyone to feel any kind of emotion if it weren't for one of the final lines of the film, when she and Steve set up a date to go out dancing.
In the end, "Captain America" may be a required set-up for 2012's cinematic event of the year, but this film's lifeless screenplay should have contained more emotional energy rather than riding on its limp action.
Before next year's "Avengers", I think I'm going to watch Reb Brown's laughable version of this American superhero before watching this film again.