Nostalgia With a Pinch of Fantasy Makes for A Great “Avengers” Set UpCaptain America: The First Avenger (MPAA rating: PG-13) Cast:Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell , Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Captain America, the shield carrying , blond haired, blue eyed, all American hero leaps off the pages of Marvel comics onto a triumphant run on the silver screen.
Chris Evans plays the formerly frail Steve Rogers, who, thanks to German science and American innovation, bulks up to become the Army’s first experimental “Super Soldier,”created to battle the Nazi hordes invading Europe. While the exercise in genetic engineering is flawless, the ability to duplicate the process is destroyed, leaving the new “Captain America” as a solo success, and Rogers’ role changed from the army’s best brawn to their marketing model.
Not satisfied with being just a pretty face, “The Cap” cowboys his way to saving the day, with a team of colorful crusaders who turn the tide on Cap’s new nemesis, The Red Skull.
The story is pretty true to form, and fanboys will not be disappointed. More interesting than the guy in red, white, and blue tights are the stack of supporting characters, most notably The Colonel (Tommy Lee Jones), Iron Man’s dad Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), and Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull, who smartly spends most of the movie in a mask, lest people start looking for Neo in the background.
Captain America has always been an overly idealistic boy scout, even in the comic books. It’s great for little boys to see the guy in red boots “always do the right thing,” but for comparison, character flaws make some of the other Avengers appear more human, if not as iconic. Iron Man’s battle with excess, Thor’s stubbornness and pride, and The Hulk’s lack of self control all make for great psychological profiles that add to the depth of character. Director Joe Johnston tries to add some depth to Rogers, making his complete lack of “game” (meaning his inability to talk to women) almost adorable. Perhaps the lack of that skill that comes with maturity is also a nod to Cap’s demographic: pre-teen boys in their “cowboys and Indians” stage.
So if you have these boys, this is a perfect movie to go see. Violence is very much present throughout, with bodies exploding in splats of blue goo and bullets flying with much abandon, but, then again, it is a WWII movie. For those of us with girls, there are but two females in this movie with lines, and one is a loose-lipped cliche, so you might want to stand ready to give a history lesson on how women contributed to the WWII effort. Kudos to the movie for showing a woman with rank in the Army and a diversified band of brothers who follow Cap on his quests. These modern touches definitely add to the movie.
The movie is definitely nostalgic, reminding us of a time when our country was united in battling a common enemy and where the American dream was still alive and well. In a time when uncertainty is all around, it was refreshing to see things from a simpler perspective – do the right thing, and you will win. If only that were the case in modern times.
I’d let mom have a spa day, load up the van, and take the kiddies to see this. You’ll enjoy it, too. Captain America is a great set up for the next “Avengers” movie, which comes out in 2012. Stay after the credits for the preview.
Your Daddy Time: Wasted or Worth It? Worth It! 4 out of 5 Stars
The Worth It/Wasted Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:
* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies
If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.