Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Captain America

I finally went to see the new Captain America movie last night. initially I was a bit “meh” about a movie based on this character but as time went on I wanted to see this movie more and more, I think partly to do with the world war two setting.

Some spoilers may follow but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum

I have a general knowledge of the character but nowhere near as much on say spider-man or the x-men. But I knew enough to hope that the movie might end with Cap being frozen in ice with a view to him being thawed out in time for next year’s Avenger’s movie. So I was surprised and quite happy to see the opening scene set in the present with a team in the Arctic finding the wreckage of a mysterious aircraft frozen in the ice.

Then we go back to the 1940s and encounter Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt, a Nazi looking for a cosmic cube left behind by the gods. He is head of an organisation called Hydra and harnessing the energy of the cube through science will give him ultimate power to remake the world in his own image. When he finds the cube in Norway there is a nice little nod towards Raiders of the Lost Ark when Schmidt says “and the Fuhrer is too busy digging for trinkets in the desert”.

Then over to 1940s New York where we meet a very weedy Steve Rogers is trying to enlist, somewhat unsuccessfully given his long list of ailments. There’s a nice glimpse of the Marvel version of the period with the Expo display of future technologies and Howard Stark's flying car. I’m very intrigued how they did Chris Evans as a wimp. I’ll need to look it up. It’s extremely well done though.

Eventually Steve gets picked for the super soldier programme and gets turned into a taller and less weedy version. It’s now that we meet Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter who works for the research organisation behind the super soldier program. It’s nice to see her with an English accent because it give the SSR an allied component rather than being purely American.

While he wants to serve his country on the battlefield it is felt that Steve would be of more use in the propaganda war. Cure a very entertaining sequence with Cap on tour to raise money for war bonds in a cheesy costume. It’s mounted as a full musical number in the middle of a World War Two superhero move. Wonderful!

While on tour to troops in Europe Steve finds out his old friend Bucky has been captured by Hydra and with a little help from Peggy and Howard Stark he goes alone behind enemy lines to rescue them. I’m not sure why Schmidt is so quick to blow up his own base when the prisoners escape but I’ll overlook it. It’s now that Schmidt is revealed to be the Red Skull, Captain America’s nemesis.

Some of the prisoners cap frees become his team, a combination of the Howling Commandos and The Invaders from the comics. I know because I looked it up.

The action moves to an embattled London where our heroes plan to take out the Red Skull’s other bases. Here I have a couple of niggles. For example a newspaper headline reads “London burns”. I think the people of London would have noticed. Later a voice is heard on a loudspeaker telling citizens to stay indoors until the all clear. Surely they would have known about the all clear after however many years of war. But those are nitpicking niggles.

Without giving too much away the Red Skull and Captain America are fated to meet again on a large flying wing aircraft. (Another Raiders reference I wonder?)

I was a little disappointed by the music by Alan Silvestri. There was no identifiable “Captain America” theme and it was all fairly forgettable.

Overall I enjoyed the movie very much. I think it stands as one of the best Marvel movies so far.

If you sit through the end credits you will be rewarded with a tiny glimpse of a movie coming out next summer. Plus you get to hear the musical number again.