Friday, October 28, 2011

Nuking the fridge with Captain America

While I've always considered myself more of a Marvel fan, than, say, DC Comics , I was never particularly able to interest myself in any of The Avengers.  In fact, I always found myself particularly adverse to Captain America. Given my German and Italian background, I find myself reticent of things that reek of blatant tribalism and jingoism and a comic nbook superherp named "Captain Amrica" screamed of it. But to be honest, I never really knew anything about the character. While I always pictured him as some kind embodiment of the conservative superego, the reality was apparently quite different. In fact, during the Bush II administration, I believe that Captain America openly campaigned against legislation like The Patriot Act. Of course, they killed him for it. I mean, obviously!
Seriously though, they did.  Check out the picture to the right.

Nevertheless, I never got into The Avengers, despite my enjoyment of the first Iron Man movie. So I wasn't really excited to see either Thor or Captain America this summer.  But something strange happened. Not only did both movies perform better at the box office than expected, but both movies did well critically. Thor's Rotten Tomatoes score was a 77% which is quite good. Captain America did even better with a 79%! So when they came out on DVD, I was actually looking forward to both releases on Netflix.

Thor was a good, though not great, movie. Really not much to say about it. Chris Hemsworth was likeable enough, and Natalie Portman was hot enough, though clearly not Your Highness hot.
So I was excited enough for Captain America. The first preview on the DVD was for Thor, which is kinda funny to watch because, based on this trailer, you would think it was a comedy starring Kat Denning (spoiler alert, it is not).

And that brings us to Captain America. The movie clearly began on the right foot when main villain Johann Schmidt, later to reveal himself as Red Skull, remarked to a co-conspirator that "the Fuhrer is too busy digging for trinkets in the desert." This is a remarkably cool shout-out to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which it should be mentioned, is not found anywhere in the Marvel canon.  Its just a cool nod to the movie fanatic clan to which I am a cheerful member. However, this would not be the flick's last tribute to Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, the remainder of the movie played out as an unintentional homage to that train-wreck of a movie, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. How were they similar? In all the most terrible ways. Totally inappropriate, cheesy-looking, and blatantly unnecessary CGI. Remember all of those CGI'ed groundhogs and monkeys (because apparently neither animal can be found abundantly in nature or in captivity)? Well, that was pretty much every scene where Steve Rogers had to run.  I mean seriously, what is up with Chris Evans? Why can't he run like a normal person? It's disconcerting.  Additionally, they photoshopped Chris Evans' face onto a scrawny body and the overall effect was HORRENDOUS. I was cringing for the whole first third of the movie.  To make matters worse, it looked like all of Evans' dialogue was dubbed while he was scrawny Steve Rogers.  All of these scenes were utterly unwatchable.

Speaking of unwatchable scenes, check out this "iconic" commercial clip when Steve Rogers proves his "guts" by covering a grenade he mistakes to be live with his own body in order to shield his army brethren.  Watch the clip below. Please do. I'll wait.
Notice anything? Well firstly, everybody has already cleared themselves from the grenade's range long before Rogers needlessly "sacrifices himself." Secondly, he continues to wave people from the grenade's range even after he is given ample time to a) throw the grenade out of harms way or b) clear himself from danger like EVERYBODY ELSE. And this is the rocket scientist we want to make into a super soldier? Someone needs to tell Rogers that covering a grenade with your body to protect your fellow soldiers is a myth anyway. Plus everyone knows the only way you could really limit the damage from a grenade is if you covered it with your helmet Grandpa Simpson style (couldn't find the clip - d'oh!).

Strangely enough, after the U.S. government makes Rogers into a super soldier, for some reason they DON'T send him to fight in Europe but instead they parade him around America selling war bonds even though he's a) never gone to battle and b) nobody knows who he is! Brilliant.

When Captain America finally goes to war, we have our first real "nuke the fridge" moment as Captain America takes on about 200 well-entrenched, highly trained guards (by himself with no fight experience) and rescues approximately 500 men. We are also subjected to a cringe-inducing scene where Neal McDonough's character (an actor I usually like), drives a tank shouting "Woo-hoo" like he's Jake fucking Lloyd from the Phantom Menace. God help me.

You know what, I can't continue in this vein. Let me just ask Hollywood to please, for the love of God, give Hugo Weaving a decent, non-villainous role in a movie every once in awhile. The man was the lead in Priscilla Queen of the Desert before he was Agent Smith. He has range! Why hire him in this piece of shit to pretty much rip-off Christoph Waltz?

1 comment:

  1. At some point last year I decided I was done with comic book inspired films that aren't directed by Christopher Nolan. I feel comfortable having made that decision.