...or the amazing chronicles of everything that I like and stuff.
Chris Schweizer draws the Community cast as Marvel comic’s The Avengers. It’s not Community back on NBC every Thursday night forever, but it’s also not nothing. (Btw, no clue why the font is so big, sorry about that…)
Captain America: The First Avenger is great. It’s better than the wonderful X-Men: First Class, which was my favorite superhero movie this year. It’s better than Iron Man, which was my favorite superhero movie of recent years. If you want to go back to a movie that gives Captain America a run for its money, you have to go to 2004’s Spider-Man 2, which might still possibly be the bar in terms of superhero movies, as far as I’m concerned. Then again, I just saw Captain America thirty minutes ago. I’ll sleep on it and, hey, tomorrow I might just saw it’s got Spidey 2 beat. It’s that fucking good.
There are many reasons why Captain America works so well but two really stand out for me…
First and at the top of the list is Steve Rogers, A.K.A. Captain America. I was wondering how Chris Evans – known for his sense of humour – would play him because Rogers isn’t about jokes and great comebacks. He’s earnest. He’s a good kid. He means well. Unfortunately that can get boring real fast for a character. This is why people like Tony Stark so much (I like Tony Stark too – not trying to put him down). He’s cynical, he’s a playboy, he’s funny. Steve Rogers is none of those things. But Chris Evans imbues the character with such powerful humanity, such a pure heart, that you can’t help but to love the guy and root for him with all your heart from the first minute of screen time he gets. Steve Rogers is a great person and you wish there were more of him out there.
Then you have, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Red Skull. As far as Marvel movies go, no villain (except maybe Doc Oc) has survived the transition to the silver screen as well as that bastard. In the talented hands of Hugo Weaving, the Red Skull is a true menace. Smart, ambitious, full of hate, filled with contempt for the human race, he is the perfect foil for Evans’ Captain America. Also he can handle himself in a brawl, which helps keep things exciting. And the makeup work on Weaving to bring the Red Skull to life is fucking stunning. It’s seriously perfect.
Okay so the two main players work, what about the rest?
Here’s some good news: Captain America is a stunt man’s movie. People throw punches, people swing from ropes and fall from high places and do amazing things. People. Not pixels. Of course there is CGI, mostly to augment background and maybe make explosions look awesomer, but it’s a stunt movie and not only is that cool as hell in and of itself, it kind of help ground the movie a little, you know? It’s tough to relate to THOR, he’s a fucking god and he fights (awesome) giant metal warriors who shoot fire from there eyes. Keeping this movie about men, good and evil, beating the crap out of each other, is a fantastic way to keep things as relatable as there likely to get in a superhero movie. Don’t worry though, it’s not too down to Earth (this is a world war 2 movie where the bad guys have tech that is more advanced than what we have today – it’s freakin cool).
Top it all off with a perfect supporting cast including names like Tommy Lee Jones (who is amazing in every scene he’s a part of) and the always great Stanley Tucci, as well as the terrific Howling Commandos (a band of soldiers Cap teams up with who become his trusted partners at war) and the seriously cool looking Hydra army, and what you have is a period superhero movie that, yes, feels a lot more like Raiders than Iron Man. Speaking of Raiders, the filmmakers do not miss the opportunity to lovingly wink at my favorite movie ever, in a clever way that doesn’t take you out of the story but warms the geek heart.
I’m almost done here, but I want to mention Hayley Atwell. She plays Peggy Carter, the Caps love interest. That can often be a thankless roll but I loved her in this. She looks great in her 40s get-up, and she plays Carter as a nice person but also a strong woman. She’s smart and you can tell she’s had to work hard to be where she’s at today, that she’s earned it. And she’s kind to Rogers from the get go, before he becomes the super soldier he was destined to be. It’s not a stretch that he would fall deeply in love with her. And the great, GREAT thing here is that this love story takes just the right amount of room in the movie, which is to say not a hell of a lot. But some. Enough to make these people feel human, with the same longings and passions and hopes as the rest of us.
I loved Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s oldschool in all the right ways, but with today’s technology to help it look great, and it has a heart and a love for adventure, and at the center of it all it has a man who earns and deserves to be called a goddamn superhero.
Now we have a year to wait before we see what Whedon’s cooking up for us, and I for one can’t wait…