After being rejected by the U.S. Army, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), determined to join his friends and country in the fight against Hitler, volunteers for Project: Rebirth, a secret military operation, where he is physically transformed into a muscle-bound super-soldier nicknamed Captain America. Dedicated to defending America’s ideals, he and sidekick Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), take on the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Hitler’s head of advanced weaponry.
Richard: Mark, I went into this with low expectations. I’m kind of superheroed out these days, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a bit long, but it doesn’t feel like the other hero movies we’ve seen recently. The hipness of Iron Man is absent, the jokey feel of Thor is gone, instead this is an old fashioned action adventure movie with a person with extraordinary poets at the heart of it. What did you think?
MB: I’m superheroed out as well but this guy’s no superhero: he’s an enhanced mesomorph with a magic Frisbee! The movie works as an action flick, but it’s missing the irony of the source material. Is America so desperate to believe in its military that it has to go back to “the last good war” to feel good about itself? And I have other complaints too, like the sloppy CGI.In the beginning, Chris Evans as a 99-pound weakling looked like a bad Photoshopped pic from 2003.
RC: I liked its lack of irony. Perhaps part of the appeal is that in the complicated times we live in it’s refreshing to see a movie that harkens back to a simpler time when the enemy was easily identifiable and a strong guy with a colourful shield and plenty of heart could be a hero. The pre-mesomorph Evans may have been a bit sloppy CGI-wise, but you have to admit, Red Skull’s lack of identifiable facial features was a nice villainous touch.
MB: It may say too much about me that I always enjoy the villain rather than the hero. And Hugo Weaving was very good indeed, especially with his red skull. And Tommy Lee Jones always brings his game to a movie, even if the role was rote. Same with Stanley Tucci and Toby Young. The satiric USO tour sequence was fun. And I liked the way the movie ended. See, Richard? I can find the good in anything, even jingoistic propaganda!
RC: I know its jingoistic propaganda, but it’s 1940s jingoistic propaganda! I liked the way the movie paid tribute to the rah rah movies of WWII and B movies of the period. The bad guys are REALLY bad, but never fear! The good guys are better. Where else are you going to see giant bombs, each labelled for extra evil effect with the name of the city they are meant to destroy?
MB: The labelling of the bombs was exactly what I wanted more of! I would forgive this movie its flaws if its strengths were greater. But it’s mostly derivative storytelling, choppy editing and unmemorable dialogue. Good action, though.