Pink Fire Pointer Joe Johnston's ♦ Capt. America ♦ ( 3.5 / 5 )

Joe Johnston's ♦ Capt. America ♦ ( 3.5 / 5 )

A nostalgic trip to the age of heroes.
[reader's rating for the movie]
  Not another super-hero flick?! If that's your impression when you come across this film at a cinema near you, please forgive Evans' earlier outings like 'Not another Teen movie' and take courage, for this movie has 'something' to offer.

Reasons why I looked forward to seeing this on a big screen -

1.  I am a sucker for 'period' films. (esp. if they involve world-war drama)
2.  Also a sucker for good, clean, epic story-telling such as Joe Johnston's works (parallels of Spielberg, Lucas, Howard, Zemeckis etc.)

Reasons why I thought it may not deliver -
1.  3D (one never thought a mathematical annotation could become a movie-goer's bane!)
2.  Racy, jumpy, cartoon-ish action we've come to expect in several superhero flicks. (Hollywood, I implore thee to rescue the prestige of 'CGI' that was birthed with such legendary and genius works in the Abyss, Terminator-II and Jurassic park)

  The movie justifies almost all of my reasons listed, plus and minus. No, the 3D is not that effective (needless to say if you find a normal two dimensional screening of the movie, book the tickets now!) and thankfully, the action has gravity and good effects in it. The rollicking, roller-coaster adventure-ride of our plucky young Evans as Steve Rogers/Capt. America in a Nazi infested spy-world of the second world war era, aided by eccentric and archetypal scientists and abetted by die-hard friends and a lady love from across the Atlantic, is brilliantly 'immersive'.

Villainous Schmidt played by our erstwhile agent Smith

  The first rule of any proper action flick is to find a bad-ass villain that one properly hates. It's also a classic Hollywood proof that when it comes to it, no one beats the Nazis. If in doubt, visit Mr. Indiana Jones. His best outings were those where he battled them. Here, we have our wonderfully talented Hugo Weaving playing Johann Schmidt aka the 'Red Skull' (a very unimaginative name), painting a classic villain that may not be as great as the Batman's Joker but good enough with his German accent and world-domination proclivities. Infact, he has found his groove in this role that sets as wonderfully as the Smith of the Matrix. Unfortunately, we see more of him in action, and less in thought and motivation. A little more screen time to the latter would have given a more satisfactory outing for the viewer.

Evans plays Steve pleasantly with a restrained and solid performance

  The CGI isn't a weak-link for this movie. Infact, it creates almost a nostalgic experience in us in terms of good, honest and down-to-earth, yet incredible effects of the decade past. This reflects ofcourse on Joe's clear and grounded vision of the script. The first of several in the film is the bone-thin and almost emaciated Steve Roger we see, before a macguffin experiment that buffs him (also CGI) to the Captain's scale. His journey from his repeated 4F rejections to the final 1A acceptance is told with the effort and time that it deserves. ( )

  The 1A happens thanks to an ingenious mind with a big heart, Dr. Abraham Erskine, no doubt modeled upon the several German and other European scientists who fled to America from Hitler's madness (luminaries like the Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, Enrico Fermi etc). Stanley Tucci (seen on the right), gives a satisfactory portrayal of the character, who has developed a serum and the macguffin experiment, in collaboration with the American engineering genius, Howard Stark.

Dominic Cooper as Iron-man's Pop.
  One look at that image and you know he's a Howard Hughes clone. I've never read a single Capt. America comic but if the movie is any reflection of it, Stark and Erskine are enjoyable characterisations. Stark, ofcourse, will go on to father a super-hero and another well made Marvel film, the Iron man. Hopefully, upcoming comic based movies will study these two films well before creating other mutations like the crab-man, monster-mom and fishy-legs. Enjoyed Cooper's Stark as the rambunctious-can-do American whiz and look forward to his portrayal of Saddam Hussein's son in the upcoming, Devil's double.

Hayley Atwell plays a spirited woman in 'Peggy Carter'
  I wish to spare you the details of a story that you well know how it plays out. It is however the esprit de corps and the honest motives of the characters that compel one to go on the ride. Much like Weaving's Schmidt, one wishes to see more of Atwell's Carter. Peggy is that winsome, wholesome military pin-up girl, with a heart of gold and fists of steel. She is on loan from the British forces to co-operate with the Americans on the secret project of creating super-soldiers under Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). Thankfully, Tommy has a lot of screen time to bring his wit and presence into the character as much as the story affords. Infact, Joe's known for such warm wit and old-world humor that he so effortlessly created in the 'Rocketeer'. There are several parallels here with that wonderful world-war action drama and seems to have been the reason which helped Joe in directing this pop-corn action adventure.

  For all it's strength, the movie plays out to a relatively tame ending. The 'cosmic cube' that Schmidt seems intent on uncovering and using, looks like the cousin of the Transformer's 'Cube'. Expectedly, Red skull's fate will be tied with the cube and an all out crap-shoot scenario at the end. One cringes to see Peggy, someone who's until then portrayed with cleverness and substance, run into the battle all made up and with not even a battle-helmet or camo, looking ludicrous amongst the soldiers battling for life and death.

  This is foreplay to the upcoming Avengers, and hopefully it builds upon the spirit espoused in the film and not simply go bang-bang bangitty-boom all the time. Although, one feels the movie could been so much more, one takes pleasure with Joe's unusual treatment with a mixed bag of comic-styling and dark drama, much like Favreau's Ironman. In the end, what remains is the story of a brave, much-bullied and humiliated young Steve Rogers, within whom beats the golden heart of a lion. Cheesy yes, but evokes an era where heroes where made and not born. The story is an indirect pointer to that moral. Also, watch out for a wonderful and an evocative montage of Capt. America 'selling' bonds to the citizens Broadway style!

Johann Schmidt: What makes you so special?
Steve Rogers: Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.