Happy Prank Preparation Day everyone. Lauren J Storm here with the 25th review in Flashback/Backslide’s Marvel Blogathon. And we’ve finally made it to the last of the Avengers prequels. By now, filmmakers have a much better understanding of what makes comic book movies successful (especially those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). You need a good hero (Daredevil, please) with a strong villain (Team Loki!), some clever action sequences that simultaneously entertain, reveal and explore the main character’s skills, and a good balance between humor and the darker side of our heroes (think Iron Man vs Dark Knight). Captain America hit some of these points with a direct bullseye, but others came up shorter than the CGI version of Steve Rogers.
The beginning of the movie is done very well. We are thrust into a cold Russian wasteland where (we assume) SHIELD operatives uncover Captain America’s shield and (probably) body. Things are dark, mysterious, and exciting. Then we flashback to the 1940s and meet an evil organization (Hydra) led by a superhuman villain with serious potential plus a badass car worthy of Cruella herself. And with this information, we are introduced to Steve Rogers, destined to be the hero of the story. Although we are immediately thrown off by the weird CGI and the fact that Chris Evans deep voice is coming out of this pre-pubescent stick figure of a boy, we are drawn in by his heart and bravery and soon, his super-charged physique. There is lots of fun foreshadowing (garbage can lid shield, “we’re going to the future!”) and, in my opinion, Tommy Lee Jones is a welcome addition to basically any movie. Unfortunately, after this terrific set up, we begin the terrifying slide into mediocrity.
First, I feel compelled to discuss how lame Red Skull became in the second half of the movie. After his Mission Impossible-esque reveal, he proceeds to stop wearing his face mask altogether, which was semi-ridiculous on a practical level. How could be possibly go to a restaurant like that? Although, it appears he is simply driving around Europe in his super long car from secret fortress to secret fortress (I’m assuming he is driving because no one will let his weird face on any type of plane). After Dr. Zola’s ridiculous capture (be warned: train fight scene rant to follow in my review of The Wolverine) we have our second big reveal – that is target is… dun dun DUN…. EVERYWHERE. *insert blank stare here* Terrible plan, Red Skull. When plans are that vague, they typically are not scary. I lost interest at this point. The other big problem was the ineffective use of the Tesseract weapons. The Hydra agents’ accuracy was woefully reminiscent of Stormtroopers, which have been the butt of jokes since the 1970s for good reason.
Second, the campy factor in the second part of the movie was off the charts. Everyone kept saying cheesy lines, Captain America is endorsing his spangly outfit, and Peggy disintegrates into a fangirl. Luckily, Tommy Lee Jones is still stomping around with his usual disdain for whatever situation he happens to find himself, and his sarcastic demeanor continues to make me laugh long past the point of the writers attempting to make sense with the plot. Then, suddenly, the ending is an arrow directly to the heart. Steve misses his date with Peggy, and we are left sitting through the credits, hoping the extra scene is worth it. The writers essentially sacrificed a good ending to this movie in exchange for a good set up for The Avengers.
Bottom-line: I give the first half of this movie an 8/10, and the second half a 4/10. The 4 is 50% due to Red Skull and 50% the fact that Howard Stark states Steve’s shield is made from vibranium when we all know it is made from vibranium AND adamantium. This is likely because Fox owns X-Men and Marvel owns the MCU, but the fact remains, it is petty and I like the movies to be consistent with the comics.
Fun fact: In the comics, Wolverine fought with Captain America during WWII.
SPOILER: The post-credits scene is a trailer for The Avengers, which means Loki is in it, which means it is awesome.
Thanks for reading!
Lauren J Storm from Flashback/Backslide
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