Find us on facebook

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Captain America", the patriot, retro and shallow hero

Captain America: The First Avenger

Even as a kid, I found Captain America's comics quite boring. And as teenager, the superhero became evidently ridiculous, then something even worse when I learnt, like "Casablanca", the creation of the hero had only a political purpose, to increase the number of US recruitments for the II World War.

Of course, you grow and things can be approached in a different way, so the good reviews of the film, the references to Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", one of the best books of the last 15 years, and the praise of the film in terms of aesthetics and fun made me curious about it. Hey!, a few reviews even pointed out there was much more than action and blockbuster 3-D special effects. It must be me then, 'cause I feel I watched a different "Captain America".

Because this film is nothing more than a blockbuster in the same vein of "Thor". The same amount of silliness and absurd situations that makes you wonder if director Joe Johnston really wanted to do a comedy, or a mockery on superheroes. Yes, I got the whole point is not taking the story so seriously, go for a pulp style and recreate that period of time, when a superhero was born as a propaganda tool, allowing some ironic distance with it. There are some scenes, when Captain America (Chris Evans) is used to make some advertisement across the country to help raising funds for the war, when the movie achieves that goal. But they are few in a two-hours long film.

Instead there's a general indigestible mixture of not very well made special effects (in some fighting scenes you can easily see the computer design), a carefully made retro looks in the costumes, characterizations and filming, but at the same time anachronistic machines and guns, and a lame use of secondary roles, in particular Peggy Carter (gorgeous but dumb character played by Hayley Atwell) and Colonel Chester Philips (Tommy Lee Jones). The villains, Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), are just caricatures that, again, work fine at the aesthetics level, but are pretty lame aside from that. If they, at least, served for the purpose of having a good action film that would have been something, but I can't recall any remarkable scene except maybe the one in the train.   

Well, if you are looking for a superhero movie where the good guys are patriots, extra-pure good guys (one can also say that not very far away from Johnny Rambo's stupidity) and, of course, winners, where the bad guys are the incarnation of evil, where the girl can kick some ass without ruffling her hair, where the pivotal pre-action scene or the final fight has always time for the "memorable" joke (perhaps the most recognisable trademark of American mainstream cinema), you'll probably enjoy "Captain America" a lot. For the rest, at least the film is enjoyable, gets going with fluidity, entertains, and it doesn't annoy... but if you want something more, you might consider look somewhere else.

SCORE: 4,5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment