Thursday, July 21, 2011

Captain America: The Virgin Avenger (no spoilers)


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I think I planned to include some of Cap's history here, but tell ya what: go see Captain America: the First Avenger as soon as possible, and that's as good a version of all you really need to know about the hero as I can imagine!


There's an unambiguous morality present in the story that some might find convenient, some may find fresh, and without a doubt, it sets the stage with the real character, a Steve Rogers I recognize, drawn to do the least selfish thing and the bravest thing and most compassionate thing with every action. I have seen super heroes sexed up with intimations of hot and heavy relationships in an effort to make them seem more appealing to adults, but the last two box office kings have been portrayed without any forced adult sexuality---not to mention the summer's biggest winner so far featured sexless robots.

It's enough to make Chris Evans hot, and Cap is a much more old-fashioned fellow than Evans' debut super-hero role, the Human Torch. I am pleased that a sincere, rather square sort of fellow be set forth as a fictional role model. The director, Joe Johnson, kept things moving much too quickly for us to dwell on Cap's inherent stodginess: it all goes to a laser-focus by the end to make him an increasingly more effective hero.

(He will make a terrific contrast to the worldly Tony Stark, with Mighty Thor perhaps between those two attitudes, though I really imagine the Avengers movie will focus on their contrasts and similarities in pairs, to create tight character moments.)


I also think military people will have a lot of reason to cheer Steve Rogers, even as he steps outside the traditional mufti to wear the red white and blue. I don't imagine such a pro-military film was imaginable when I was born.

Stanley Tucchi's Dr. Erskine character shoulders much of the moral complexity involved with the very creation of Captain America. The delightful Hugo Weaving's Red Skull has probably the most realistic plot of any super-criminal on film.
The romance actually lends more emotional ballast than that of any super hero film before, though X-Men: First Class is very close behind. I agree with my friend/ cartoonist Matt Linton: I absolutely forgot about the inevitable ending, so wrapped up in watching Steve and Agent Peggy Carter evolve through several stages that developed both characters simultaneously. I seem to like this movie more the more I think about it. And for a boundless supply of energy, I have to say, this is one of the most positive, pro-human blockbusters ever!

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