I didn’t have the highest of high expectations for Captain America. Granted Marvel has improved in their movies starting with Iron Man, but not every superhero film has been all that great. The fact that this particular superhero movie is also a period film, made me wonder how Captain America would do. I’m glad to say I was not disappointed.
Despite clearly being a science-fiction, the film is also a great throwback to 1940s. It’s full of homages to the stage entertainment of the day, vaudeville, etc. Additionally, it feels a lot like an old World War II propaganda film. This is one of the most refreshing aspects of the film. It’s not something that we get much in film these days. It’s also very patriotic in it’s tone and message.
The action in the film is also exciting. It’s not too frequent but it is exciting and consistent with the time period and with a sci-fi/WWII film. However, what I feel is the greatest strength of this film is Chris Evans performance of Captain America. He does an excellent job of appearing patriotic, selfless, and a perfect pick for a super soldier. And that’s not to mention how well he looks the part.
There are a number of drawbacks however. The science-fiction elements of the film don’t feel very natural and don’t fit in with the WWII setting. Hugo Weaving’s character, though played by a great actor with an excellent track record, was no Agent Smith. The villain felt weak and without sufficient motives.
Many areas of the plot felt rushed and undeveloped. For instance, the mysterious cube that Red Skull gets all his power from. Where does it come from? Why does it do what it does? This may be something that die-hard Captain America fans know all about, but the rest of us are left in the dark for the entire film. Also, the team that Captain America puts together is not at all developed and I had to wonder why the Captain picked those men, because the audience had no reason to emotionally invest in those characters. Additionally, even though Captain America was representative of American patriotism, it seemed contrary to his character when he is involved in multiple actions scenes killing many men. It just didn’t seem like something that Captain America would do. Don’t most superheros value life above everything else? What does that say about American patriotism?
Recommendations? This movie is great for superhero fans or anyone interested in seeing a fun homage to the 1940s. Also, the setup for the film The Avengers has never been more exciting. I’m eagerly looking forward to more of what Marvel can give.