“Captain America” is the next heroic flick
Joe Johnson has worked in the field of popcorn entertainment before with notable titles like The Rocketeer, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji, and more recently the remake of The Wolfman. He works well with the crowd-pleasers and action/adventure films that are neither disapointing and worth of a look. When news was spread that he was directing the next “Captain America” feature, I cetainly had high hopes this nearly forgotten Marvel superhero would have a successful leap to the big screen.
Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, a wannabe solider that wishes to fight for his country in World War II and has a habit of getting knocked around while still managing to stand on his two feet. With the help of an eager scientist (Stanley Tucci), Steve finds himself being the chosen test subject for a serum that gives super strength. As you might as expect, it becomes an interesting trip for Steven after he gains his new powers as he goes from show man to war hero. At one point after Col. Tommy Lee Jones declares the experiement dead after an assasin destroyes the equipment, we are treated to seeing the usage of propaganda in the 1940s as Steve wastes his new founded ability by advertsing war bonds with a gaudy stage show led by a slimey talent agent.
Its at this point we see the character of Steve evolve from an everyday man that wants to help out aside from his physique being the only flaw to him venturing the true meaning of the word hero, as he runs off to help a group of captured soliders from the cultches of HYDRA, a Nazi-esque terrorist organization that is led by Johann Schmidt aka the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). Weaving’s potrayle of the Red Skull is menacing and memorable as how fascinating the make-up work is. Johann proves to be the “Darth Vader” of his time as he seeks an ultimate power that can disntergrate people in PG-13 fashion.
What makes Captain America work and stand out from the other Marvel adaptaions is how it retains to the original source and doesn’t go too silly or over-the-top with it. It compliments what made the original comic book so astounding and great. I wouldn’t go as far as saying its this year’s “Superman The Movie,” but its more like this year’s “Dick Tracy (1990).” It’s a visual treat for the eyes and feels like an old fashion serial from the past while the dialouge is on par with a Howard Hughes movie with plenty of subtley and good delievery.
My only problem is the timing with this feature as we’ve seen meat-headed Norse gods, pirates on the verge of being forever young, aliens scavenging in a small town, and many more to the point where we question why this crowd pleaser was placed at the tail end of July. I feel that August is the dead slot of summer blockbusters; the ultimate point of “no return” where there a little to no surprise hits. Perhaps if “Captain America” was placed in a Fourth of July release or sometime in May it would have drawn a bigger fanfare and perhaps a bigger audience. Either way, I feel this one stands as a testiment to other Marvel flicks to stick to your source and have fun with it.