VERY BELATED VERY SHORT MOVIE REVIEW: "Captain America: The First Avenger"

Kevin Long
Kevin Long's picture

So the family and I just watched "Captain America: The First Avenger," and I have to say how thrilled I am to see all off the talent and artistry and vision of a major studio like Paramount really all coming together and rolling up their sleves and pulling out all the stops to deliver a merely workmanlike product.

Seriously, it was just so sugar-free and joyless and blah. I mean, yeah, the first act - with Steve as a 4F loser with a heart as big as all outdoors, and then him ...getting stuck in that dumb USO Bond Drive roadshow was pretty awesome, but that's only about 40 minutes of film. Once he actually BECOMES Captain America, the whole thing kind of grinds to a halt for another 80 minutes. Seriously, the movie is only a hair over 2 hours and it feels half an hour too long. I actualy thought it was more like 150 before I looked at my watch.

Chris Evans was fine as Cap. Tommy Lee Jones was fine as Tommy Lee Jones. Hugo Weaving was better than he needed to be as Red Skull, but everyone else was dullsvile. The romance angle was tedious. We don't know Bucky well enough to give a crap when he dies. Howard Stark had me thinking how much better all his scenes would have been if he'd been played by Verrick from "The Legend of Korra."

I don't know why people give Alan Silvestri a job scoring movies. Actually, I don't think Alan Silvestri DOES score movies. I don't think Alan Silvestri is a person, I think he's a computer program, like the "Versificators" in 1984, that cranks out music, because everything he does immediately sounds the same: "This is something John Williams decided wasn't worthwhile and threw away half-completed." Terrible.

Anachronisms galore. "The only sample of the serum is locked up in your DNA." Uhm, no, it's 1944. DNA won't be discovered until 1957. Lots more. The Nazis didn't have radar in 1944, and radar didn't look like it does in this movie in 1944. All the technical stuff is almost inexplicably off, like it was designed by someone who honestly doesn't realize there was a time before Ipads n'stuff. Did you ever read "Golden Globe" by John Varley? It's about an actor several centuries hence, and there's a funny scene where they're trying to explain to the costume director why the characters need to wear clothes from the waist down, and not be nude. She's ok with them wearing shirts and vests and stuff, but nude southern hemisphere is the style, and she just cant' conceive of a time when that wasn't the case, even though the show she's working on is a time travel piece set on earth in the distant past. She just could not grasp that people went around fully clothed all the time. Digressing, I know, but substitute "Modern Technology" for "Naughty Bits Hanging Out" and you've got the way this movie made me feel. I haven't seen this uninspired retro-future tech since "The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen."

I know I should remember who Joe Johnson, the director, is, but I don't.

What really bothered me more than anything else, though, was the production design. I mean, it's world war 2, the most cinematic of all possible wars. "Sure the P51 is a kickass plane, but can we maybe make it out of chrome and paint shark's mouths on 'em for no damn reason? We can? Hell, yeah! We'll win ths war on style alone!" or if you're the bad guys, "sure, the Stuka dive bomber is a kickass plane, but can we maybe put a banshee siren on it just to scare the crap out of people on the ground? We can? Sehr Gut!" So they had the opportunity to go completely over-the-top gonzo with German Deco, and instead - apart from Skull's admittedly badass car - we just get generic SF weaponry. Yawn.

I mean it's an action movie. It shold entertain me, right? And if it cant' do that, it could at least be pretty, right?

Sigh. People tell me "The Winter Patriot" is a genuinely good movie. Should I waste my time?