Last night I watched Captain America: The First Avenger. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't quite this. I knew I'd enjoy the movie, even if it was shit, but I didn't think it would grab me in such a way as it did!
I read Cap for years and I've learned to get past the cheesiness of his character - All-American, Super-Duper-Soldier with a Heart of Gold and a Shield of Vibranium. I was happy to see the movie allow enough tongue-in-cheek wartime pomp for us to see that the characters take themselves less seriously than we take them. A musical interlude (sort of) is one of the highlights of the movie, when Cap is promoting War Bonds. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
...Where does it all begin? Well... There are some blokes pulling Cap's shield out of the ice, then we're in the 40s and Steve Rogers is an enthusiastic weed with no hope of joining the army on account of his asthma and other ailments. But during a visit to an exhibition by genius Howard Stark (Iron Man's daddy, played brilliantly by Mamma Mia's Dominic Cooper) he gets recruited by the good guys to enter into a Super Soldier program and get all muscly and cool.
So Cap is born! I'm not going into the plot details; it's a genesis story and a pretty good one, actually. It's also very much Act One of a much larger story. If you're a Marvel fan you'll know where this is all heading. If you're not, you won't care.
All your favourite Cap characters are there; shining are the aforementioned Howard Stark, Hayley Atwell as kick-ass love interest and all-round plum-voiced-sauce-pot Peggy Carter and Doctor Who's very own Dream Lord Toby Jones as Dr Arnim Zola, a Nazi biochemist. There's also "Cinema's Mr Bad" Hugo Weaving as the bit-too-cartoon-like villain, The Red Skull himself, Johann Schmidt. The movie is packed with some pretty great action sequences and, although it's thin on ACTUAL plot of any substance (it's very much Goodies vs Baddies), it's a very enjoyable script too; there are some really great moments that made me laugh out loud.
But what's best about this movie is how fresh it all feels. We're used to getting comic book movie after comic book movie recently - leading up to you know what - but this one feels different. It's set in the 40s, it's got a weedy main character (under all that muscle) and it's "where it'll all begin". Captain America really is the First Avenger. Sure, Iron Man has all the hi-tech stuff but Cap has a tough shield and determination (and super strength, sort of...). What impressed me most was how well the basis of the character transferred to the big screen. And the casting is perfect. Chris Evans (not that one) is perfect as Steve Rogers and although he is underused (in my opinion) Neal McDonough is amazing as Dum Dum Dugan.
Okay. It's probably not going to win any Oscars, but Captain America: The First Avenger is a lot of fun. If you don't mind your fun with Uncle Sam's fist up your arse, that is... It's VERY American. Even the scenes set in London seem to be set in America really. It's a bit "Yeehaaawww!" sometimes, but that's okay! It's an American character with "America" in his name. THE American superhero. My favourite superhero. And a bloody good effort at making one of my favourite superhero movies. I can't wait to see all our guys together on-screen; I've not seen Thor yet, so I might have a look at that later on. Somehow. If you like your films loud and shooty then this is definitely the one for you. A great, great effort. Lots of fun!