Alright, I can’t resist. Meat’s back on the menu, so movie reviews are going to be back on Bitter James’. Please note that I am acutely aware of the resemblances between my own blog and a certain highly regarded movie reviewing site. This is a regrettable coincidence. But on to the meat.
How is it that the Marvel adaptations I was least looking forward to end up being the most entertaining? Is it because due to their lack of popular luster the studios insisted on spending more time developing characters, story and fun?
Thor, Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger did exactly the opposite of the widely anticipated comic adaptations of Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, etc: they took a step backwards in order to go forward. Now, the rejuvenated Batman franchise gets a pass on this, because, let’s face it, it’s a Christopher Nolan franchise—aka Hollywood gold. But the point is this: the latter listed have taken themselves too seriously, The former embraced the child audience, but not to the point of being cheesy. Perhaps occasionally cheesy—but always in a good way.
Of course, it may be less that these films were created with this in mind than I was just simply ready for a change, a return to my childhood sensibilities instead of a descent into a dark path that attempted to make these stories more serious than they were ever intended to be.
Captain America: The First Avenger stands out to me as a jewel of the Marvel films. That may sound odd, but understand this: the last Captain America comic I ever read was an issue in my doctor’s office as a boy where he was fighting off the Asthma Monster and allergens. Captain America—patriot, symbol, antihistamine. So that’s my disclaimer. As a kid you sort of absorb the storylines of things you’ve never read or watched through some strange osmosis of simply being a kid. I knew of Cap’s storyline. His best friend Bucky. His nemesis, Red Skull. Frankly it all sounded pretty lame. The coolest thing Cap had going for him was his shield. His shield. Not exactly oozing with the testosterone that comic-reading boys live for. Simply put, Cap didn’t interest me, and the rest of the Avengers sat right there with him.
Fast forward to today. Studios keep chugging along with these superhero flicks. Some of them are watchable. Some of them aren’t. Somehow, Chris Evans can be both the Human Torch and Captain America in the Marvel Universe. And somehow, being formerly protective of the comic book world, I don’t mind.
Captain America manages to tug at the heartstrings with some easy formula. Evans’ rise from daring zero to hero is endearing, Nazis as enemies never go out of style and Hugo Weaving as Red Skull hasn’t been this good as a villain since his uber-Nazi Agent Smith in The Matrix.
I’d like to go on about my feelings towards comic book adaptations, especially recent ones, but for now know that Captain America should be ignored no longer.
BITTER GRADE: B
P.S. Check out the Avengers trailer below.