Sunday, July 24, 2011
Captain America is an odd film. While it is more or less what you’d expect and thoroughly predictable there’s quite a bit to work with in the film that certainly could have made it into a good/great movie in it’s own right instead of just being an entertaining dumb action movie. The first half hour of the film is essentially what you see in the trailers aside from the best action sequence in the film featuring the sole effective villain who takes some cyanide so that the American war machine can prosper in his absence.
Red Skull is also introduced very early on, discovering and enhancing random nazi superweapons (some of which are very true to failed prototypes in reality) but while nazis are possibly the greatest villain in any movie since they’re so fun to mutilate and demonize they aren’t even the opposition for most of the film. No… Red Skull has other plans and even dumber salutes and “Hails” (no not Heil, Hail) and unofficially splits off from the Nazis pretty early on. He has plenty of doom soldiers and pew pew lasers to utilize in the quest for world domination, but it is kind of sad to me that the Nazis aren’t even the villain in their own damn film.
For being ridiculously technologically superior to the Americans the Skull-Nazi Doom soldiers are insanely ineffectual. If stormtroopers were remarkably terrible in the Star Wars movies I’d have to think these are far, far worse. What almost made Inglorious Basterds so great was the effectiveness of Hans Landa, even though the Nazis never really had a chance in that movie they were still somehow terrifying, the Skull Nazis are absolutely a joke throughout. They’ve got heavy armor and fucking laser rifles, the opposition has a few weak ancient pistols to combat them with and win easily every time.
In fact, Captain America wasn’t needed in the slightest to combat the Skull Nazis, all America really needed was a ragtag group of unarmed POWs who could easily overpower their amazingly well equipped enemy. I believe only 2 speaking allied characters die in the entire film, one of them isn’t even directly killed by a Nazi (the other is handled by the previously discussed only vaguely effective suicidal villain in the whole film). This POW group yields an amazing American Melting Pot of success, included in a small squad alongside Captain America are; an Italian, A French guy, an Irishman with a fucking awesome civil war Moustache (he probably should’ve been the real hero), a Black dude that speaks French and Italian, an Asian, and a ruthless British Woman. Now, everyone likes to joke about how there’s token appearances in most random movies but this is set in 1943 with pretty hardcore segregation and quite a lot of racial tension between most whites so it makes absolutely no sense in this case.
Taking all of this into account I am forced to admit this is still a pretty entertaining movie, a lot of really stupid fun alongside a bit too much exposition with no payoff. It could have been much better though, the acting is all pretty good aside from Hugo Weaving who kind of phones it in, the 3 or 4 characters that exist are solid to build a story around, and there was certainly a chance to make the villains more impressive. This is essentially a modern day propaganda piece, as Captain America (and many other) comics themselves were back in the day, America is invincible with or without the man with the silly shield and racial equality existed many years before civil rights ever took place. Who are you to say otherwise, sir? You sure as hell aren’t welcome in our country!
Aside: There’s a pretty great Avengers trailer (not just a 5 second clip) at the end of this movie, another direction the movie could have gone is have about an hour and a half in the past and a full half hour to 45 minutes in the future while ol Cap’n gets used to his new surroundings.
For Reference's Sake Battle LA would've been 1.5 stars, GI Joe 2 Stars, and Russell Crowe's Robin Hood 2.5 stars, all relatively comparable movies to this.
America, FUCK YEAH!