Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The First Avenger

So, I finally got to see my dream movie last night, and I was not disappointed in the least. Captain America: The First Avenger was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I had very few complaints, and those were only minor.

Rather than do a full-on review, I think I will focus on what they changed/added to the story, and why it all works.

If you have not seen the movie yet, you may not want to read the following.

Howard Stark
I know that the character was mainly added as a way to tie this movie together with the rest of the Avengerverse movies. However, the character added so much to the movie. He was comic relief at times, that element of the unpredictable at others, and made a great foil for many of the other characters. I loved the shades of Tony Stark (especially the first time you see him) and the fact that he seems to be everything Steve is not when it comes to women.

James “Bucky” Barnes
In the original comics, Bucky was a 15-year old kid. He was basically Robin to Captain America’s Batman. His death in the comics was much different than in the movie, as was the character himself. In my opinion, the movie version was better. First off, the idea of sending a teenager into combat is kind of ludicrous, especially in WWII. So, making him a peer of Steve was a good move. His death actually served a very good purpose, IMHO. In the original comics Bucky died during the same incident that dumped Steve in the Arctic. However, having him die during a different mission allowed Steve to have more of a focused motivation in his quest to get to the Red Skull. It also allowed the climactic battle to focus on the showdown between Cap and the Skull, making the fight that much more personal. In hindsight, they might have been able to make Bucky’s death a bit more heroic, though he did die as a result of saving Steve. So, I’m happy with how it was portrayed.

The Red Skull
Is there anything Hugo Weaving can’t do? His Red Skull was simply amazing. Perfect. The fact that they separated Hydra from the Nazis the way they did, made him that much better of a villain. He was more evil than Hitler. And you just don’t get more villainous than that. The scene where the two characters meet for the first time is so iconic.

The Howling Commandos
When this movie first came out, I was both excited and disheartened by their appearance. Mainly because I knew they wouldn’t include Sgt. Fury. But they managed to blend the characters into Cap’s story seamlessly, and the fact that Nick was not present was not even a problem once the movie go going. It was awesome to see “Dum Dum” Duggan, with his signature Bowler hat. Some of the other characters were straight out of the comic book, while others were added to give the team a very diversified feel. And it worked.

The “death” of Captain America
In the original comics, Captain America falls into the Arctic after Bucky is unable to diffuse a bomb on a plane. So, Cap’s death is imposed on him. He is unable to stop the inevitable, and in the end, he dies. However, in the movie, his death is a choice. It’s a conscious decision to sacrifice himself to save the lives of millions. This is very Captain America.

I know they probably changed and added a lot more things that I am not thinking of right now. And I’m sure they will come to me when I see it again…and again.

Suffice it to say that this movie is now my all-time favorite super hero movie. Sure, I’m biased. So what? I am a firm believer that comic book movies (and really any movie based on an established IP) should be made first and foremost for the fans. And this movie was just that. There are subtleties and details that only fans will “get” when they see them. But they are wrapped lovingly in a rollicking good film that anyone can enjoy (except for many film critics, who obviously just don’t “get” movies anyways). Was it predictable? Yes. But it’s Captain America, for Christ’s sake! If you went into this movie expecting something new and different, you completely missed the point. A friend of mine said he was disappointed that there was no “wow” moment. Honestly, the whole movie was one big “wow” moment for me.

My only real complaint about this film was that it had to end. I cannot wait for The Avengers next year.


Paul R. McNamee said...

I've got to skip most of your write up, I think I want to see this one, so I'll avoid spoilers.

It's nice to hear so many folks are liking this one!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm hearing lots of folks say they like it so I will definitely see it.

The Happy Whisk said...

I love Hugo. The guy is fantastic. I was disappointed that there wasn't more for him to do in the film.

For me, they missed the boat in many ways. Glad I saw it. Won't see it again.

Will see the second one, just in case the writing gets better.