Tuesday, August 02, 2011

movie review:captain america

I saw Captain America last week. I must say I enjoyed it quite a lot. I put it up there with the recent X-men, a shade below Thor and Green Lantern. It has been quite a summer for costumed super-heroes. The majority of it is set in World War II. I think it has been set as the last good war, where we were seen as clearly in the right and evil, in the form of Hitler and Nazi Germany was very clearly defined. The first season of Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman series was set in WWII as well and was very enjoyable. I think there is a reassuring sense when evil can be so directly pointed out and and we can feel good about who we are in relation to it.

Chris Evans, who played the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four films is cast here as Steve Rogers. I thought he was the best cast in the FF films and he does not disappoint here. Tony's father Howard appears here as a part of the Marvel Universe timeline. It is almost as if Thor and now Captain America is the ready us for next summer and The Avengers film.

I remember reading the '60's revival version of CA as a teenager. I believe both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did the original and they wrote a lot of his first revival stuff as a part of the Avengers comic. He replaced the Hulk, who went on to be an enigmatic figure who was seen to be a loner and to somewhat be a villain. Captain America was not one of my favorites. I was disappointed that he got his powers through a super soldier serum. He was originally portrayed more like the Batman, someone who has no powers but is trained past the peak of human performance to be a super hero anyway. I was disappointed when I found out he was an enhanced therefore somewhat super powered hero who was given basically a super steroid. In the film they play the chemical part down and emphasize the vita-ray aspect of his transformation. And his shield became something he used as a weapon in creative ways. This is also brought into the film.

So this has the charm of an old World War II movie mixed with the action of one of the old serials and brought into modern day special effects and CGA. So it is quite a lot of things. If you are thinking about missing it, don't. It is worth a look and then more. Marvel seems to have a great feel for bringing their characters onto the screen. I am sure Stan Lee never felt he would be doing cameos in blockbuster films in the 21st century when he was creating this stuff in the '40's and '60's. And if possible go to the comic book stores and try to get some of the original Jack Kirby work on this character. It is awesome.

A great great film set in World War II is Casablanca. And of course with that comes that song: As Time Goes By. I came upon this version of it by Chet Baker quite by accident. It is so associated with Dooley Wilson that I listened to it with a lot of apprehension.... But Chet does a great job with it. And the trumpet work at the end is understated, lyrical, and haunting. All Chet Baker trademarks.


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