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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

CAPTAIN AMERICA had the potential to be on the calibre of the INDIANA JONES trilogy (yes I said trilogy-- I know there were four movies-- stick to trilogy) or even the lesser but still fun first two MUMMY films with Brendan Fraser.

It stars Chris Evans who is perfectly cast as the humble Steve Rogers with the fighting spirit of a man twice his size.  Evans was able to shake his crappy Human Torch persona from the Fantastic Four bore-fests of recent years and the supporting cast is well placed.  Stanley Tucci as the Doc who comes up with the formula looks like he stepped right out of the comics and Tommy Lee Jones as Roger's CO provides a good balance and sometimes comedy relief.

The effect of Evans as a half pint is convincingly done with CGI-- possibly the first time that method has worked in the history of film, but when the CGI comes in later for the 3D effects (and I saw it in 2D-- won't see 3D movies, sorry) that's when the film slows to a crawl.

Action scenes which should have been exciting instead slow down to that awful Matrix effect of freezing the frame for a second to give you time to ooh and ahh at how amazing the shot is-- instead it makes you giggle at how stupid someone in mid air in front of a huge explosion looks.    Director Joe Johnston (who should know better with films like the ROCKETEER under his belt) also falls into the modern film-making technique of keeping a character completely in frame as they run through an action sequence, instead of creating drama it gives us a sense that we're watching a video game-- and we all know how exciting it is to watch someone else play a video game.

The film drags in places, a clever scene explaining why Rogers first puts on the Cap costume goes on too long by about ten minutes and it takes us forever for Hugo Weaving to reveal he is the Red Skull, which we all knew from the start.

Overall, a good summer movie, the best filmed version of Captain America to date (which is not saying much, Cap has one of the worst histories on celluloid) but a movie that lacks the punch of the great Indiana Jones movies that leave you breathless after each adventure.