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Gavin Grades The Movies

Captain America: The First Avenger

There's an old debate over whether or not it's better to be first or last in an audition.  Some say you don't want to be first because the judges aren't even paying attention because they're just warming up.  Some say you don't want to go last because the judges will be exhausted by the end.  Unfortunately for Captain America, it came last in the Summer of Superheroes and maybe I'm just exhausted. Now don't get me wrong; I enjoyed it.  But I wonder if that's because I enjoy comic book movies.  Or perhaps its that I enjoy comic book movies that's the reason why I didn't love it.  Either way, Captain America came across as a painfully average film in almost all ways. For those who don't know, Captain America was one of the first superheroes released in 1941 and was a super soldier who was created to help our boys kick Hitler's ass in World War II.  In the last 70 years though, he's dropped off in popularity.  The only reason why this film was made was because Captain America is part of the super group The Avengers, which Marvel Studios has invested over a $1 billion in films to gear up that movie.  To catch you up to speed, those films have been The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and now Captain America.  Luckily they've all been good films and have recouped that insane amount of money they've invested.  (The Avengers comes out next summer and will feature all four characters.)  Unfortunately for Captain America, his movie is the worst of the lot. Chris Evans (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Fantastic Four) was lucky enough to land the role of the Captain.  He's usually a great comedic, painfully attractive, charismatic performer but in this role he's as bland and dry as wall paper.  He bred zero personality into the character and makes him rather impossible to like and root for.  That, combined with an awful script that develops none of the characters with lines that drip with cheese, create a campy (which, I know, is expected with the nature of the character) and dull film.  It becomes what no superhero movie should ever be...boring. Director Joe Johnston, who's had his ups (Jumanji, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) and downs (The Wolfman, Hildalgo) makes an action movie with very little action in it.  Not only are there really only two action sequences in the film, but he blows through what could be many more with a pointlessly bizarre action montage of Captain America kicking Nazi ass.  Huh? There are redeeming qualities though.  For starters, Tommy Lee Jones gives one of his best comedic performances since Men in Black playing a character that is a lot like his Oscar-winning role in The Fugitive.  I also really enjoyed the risk that Johnston and Marvel took by releasing a summer blockbuster superhero PERIOD film.  Almost the entire movie takes place in 1941...bold move.  There's even a musical number in it.  These are brave decisions that Johnston made and for that I appreciate it.  The 3D is actually done pretty well too.  There was even a moment where I jumped when the trademark American shield got thrown and ricocheted right at my face! The truth of the matter is that Captain America is weakest of a very strong pedigree.  Iron Man set the bar so high though that we've fallen short of it ever since.  That's the problem with all these films linking together; they all get compared to each other.  Let's just hope that The Avengers next summer lives up the hype and is way better than The First Avenger. Captain America: The First Avenger (Rated PG-13) Gavin Grade: B-

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07/21/2011 7:49PM
Captain America: The First Avenger
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07/22/2011 9:35AM
mandy perillo
ok, so it seems like we always see the same movie at the same time,and I only said hi in passing once, at Rango. I LOVED the movie. Refreshing. Great acting, loved the action, nothing too crazy, I did however wonder how all the underground labs and vehicles were built then remembered it's a comic book... LOVED it. Did I mention I loved it. And, I thought it was better than Transformers, Green Lantern, Tron, Thor and even Harry Potter DH2!
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