Marvels newest superhero movie wins with old-fashioned action and heart
Published: July 22, 2011
Of course, this film doesn’t just reference old movies and comics — it’s a crucial stepping stone to next summer’s big superhero event movie, The Avengers. Whereas Thor suffered from having to shoehorn in references to Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. (the superhero spy agency led by Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury), Captain America folds everything in expertly. Example: About a quarter of the way in, Rogers and Bucky attend a science exhibition presided over by a grandstanding Howard Stark, neatly foreshadowing his son Tony’s own showy Stark Expo in Iron Man 2. There are lots of other tips of the hat to the comics that I won’t spoil for fellow True Believers, but it’s genuinely exciting to see the Marvel cinematic universe start to dovetail together.
If Captain America has one big flaw, it’s that it doesn’t so much end as finish up with an abrupt “to be continued.” Yes, Cap’s story will continue in next summer’s The Avengers (stick around for that trailer after the credits roll), but Captain America: The First Avenger should be retitled Captain America: The First Chapter. Comic-book fans may be used to getting their superhero fix in monthly installments, but I need a little more closure in my movies — especially if I have to wait an entire year to see what happens next. Bring on chapter two already.
Note: If possible, skip the 3D presentation of this movie and watch it in good, old-fashioned 2D. Watching the 3D screening at the Santikos Palladium was a terrible experience; the combination of a too-dim screen and the dark, polarized 3D glasses made every scene — even daytime shots — look like they took place at dusk. Nobody wants to see a maroon-gray-and-navy Captain America fight the evil Brown Skull.
**** Captain America: The First Avenger
Dir. Joe Johnston, writ. Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely; feat. Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones (PG-13)
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