Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Avengers' solo films re-reviewed: 'Captain America: The First Avenger' (retro-review)

Consider this the second of a Cary's Comics Craze doubleheader.

Earlier today, I reposted my June 2011 review of "Captain America: The First Avenger," the one I wrote after seeing the film in the theaters.
This is my favorite promotional poster for
"Captain America: The First Avenger." A small,
laminated version is on the wall of my bedroom, in fact!

So what's the deal with yet another "First Avenger" review?

On the original online home of CCC, I posted a five-part series of reviews as way to lead up to the May 4, 2012 release of "The Avengers," the ensemble film that brought Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, the Hulk and Black Widow onscreen together for the first time. I re-reviewed each of the solo "Avengers" films in the order of their release date. Appropriately, the mini-series ended with what's my third(!) review of "Captain America: The First Avenger" (click here for my "ode to the little guys" DVD review) -- posted on the very day "The Avengers" hit the big screen, no less! And four years ago to the day.

Without further ado ...

May 4, 2012 -- Now it’s Cap’s turn.

This is the final installment of my five-part series in which I’ve done a fresh review of each of the films leading up to May 4′s “The Avengers.”

“Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) — Sure, I was quick to call this one of the greatest superhero films of all time.

For the most part, the film, which is mostly set during World War II, and script highlight many elements that makes such Captain America such an enjoyable character.

As a lifelong Caphead, I couldn’t be happier to see director Joe Johnston and his crew do such a stellar job of interpreting one of the greatest superheroes of all time.

But there are elements that bother me, or at the very least, disappoint me, about “Captain America”: 1) Hugo Weaving’s over-the-top acting (at least in the first scene) — but admittedly, I love the way he portrayed the dastardly Red Skull,
2) the battle scene montage is disgustingly abbreviated (more Cap! More Howlin’ Commandos! And certainly more shield-slinging!),
3) about the time we get accustomed to Steve Rogers’ best friend, Bucky Barnes, he falls to his apparent death 
and 4) I wanted Cap to throw his shield much, much more. Don't get me wrong; what there is is awfully cool. I just wanted to see the Star-Spangled Avenger sling his patriotic shield even more!

Oh yeah — and where are the Nazis?

I wanted to see Cap kick some serious Nazi ass, not just Hydra agents’.

Regardless, there are many more elements that hit all the right notes.

While I initially wasn’t thrilled that Cap’s costume resembled his so-called “Ultimate” counterpart, but the patriotic costume works well resembling a paratrooper-style fatigues.

 And while I was even less thrilled to see Cap’s shield battered, I soon realized it made sense.

Creator Howard Stark made no claims it’s indestructible (as it is in the comics) — only that it’s made of vibranium, “the toughest stuff on Earth.” Besides, it’s logical that a soldier’s shield, even as durable as Cap’s is, would sustain and show lots of wear and tear.

You can’t say enough about the humanity and inner strength actor Chris Evans brings to Rogers (as I’ve done so many times here at CCC).

But I haven’t said enough about his characterization as Cap.

Evans is graceful as a cat or dancer. He brings a lot of swagger to Cap — just in the way he walks.

With Evans’ big shoulders, the fully costumed Captain America resembles the brawny versions drawn by Mike Zeck, John Byrne and George Perez.

 As one of my best buds said after he watched “First Avenger” for the first time, the whole package makes Cap relatable, “cool and masculine.”

Despite there not being nearly enough shield-slinging, no Nazis or Cap delivering patriotic, never-give-up speeches on battlefields (as seen in many, many comics over the last 70-plus years), “Captain America” is nearly pitch-perfect for this lifelong Caphead. Grade: A-

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