Cockblocked By War: A Review of ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’
“Oh, so now you’re accusing me of stealing your topless scenes. Where do you get off?”
Gabe from Videogum wrote a pitch-perfect opening for his review of X-Men: First Class that now, even more than it did for that movie, says exactly how I felt about Captain America after the credits rolled which I sat entirely through to see The Avengers teaser like a Poindexter who has no business touching a vagina ever again:
There is a very specific type of disappointment that you only get with big budget summer movies. It’s not crushing or anything, it barely even registers as disappointment. It’s just this vague, unsatisfying feeling that the thing you were hoping for is gone, and that in its place something simply exists.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to trash Captain America because it was light years beyond the space-diarrhea epic known as Green Lantern, more fully-realized than Thor, which it surprisingly references a lot, yet still fell slightly short of X-Men: First Class. But only slightly. So, for the last time this summer, here’s my dick joke-laden attempt at a review of a comic book movie that forced me to leave the comfort of my pajama pants and interact with other humans in broad daylight. (Spoiler Alert: You’re cockholes to watch movies with.)
NOTE: Spoilers are whited out, but simply highlight them with your mouse to see the text. Por ejemplo: This shit doesn’t work on the mobile site. Surprise?
The Shit That Worked:
– Chris Evans. Probably my biggest concern going into this movie was how Chris Evans would fare as such an iconic character when Mark Valley is running around looking like someone ripped Captain America right out of the goddamn comics. Surprisingly, Evans pulls it off and makes the role his own. He’s no Chris Hemsworth as Thor or Michael Fassbender as Magneto, but he delivers way beyond expectations and sells it.
– Joe Johnston. My other concern, right up there with Chris Evans as Cap, was how the director of Jurassic Park 3 and The Wolfman would do. And, yes, I know he directed The Rocketeer which is a good movie, but for some reason way over-romanticized lately. Anyway, people like crotchety Jeff Wells, who fucking hates comic book movies, are enjoying the hell out of Captain America, and I didn’t start this review with, “I hope Joe Johnston gets ass rabies,” so it’s safe to say he did alright.
– Red Skull. Definitely the most memorable villain of all the comic flicks this summer. Also, Hugo Weaving plays him with such a calm, cool menace that’s a nice balance for a guy whose entire head is a bleeding skull. Think Skeletor but without all the cackling and JLo fucking.
– Tommy Lee Jones. If this whole movie was just him saying salty, no-nonsense colonel lines to nameless grunts, I would’ve walked away with my money’s worth.
– The “skinny” Steve Rogers CGI effect. Fucking. Flawless. And possibly where all the CGI budget went as you’ll see later.
– Bucky. What could’ve been a horribly cheesy character immediately derailing this movie right into Batman and Robin country – Lovely codpieces this time of year though. – was handled organically while staying impressively true to the comics. And I’m not talking about his death as much as did they seriously just lay the groundwork for Winter Soldier? (If you’re a woman, please don’t read that last one. I really do want to see your naked parts sometime in the future.)
– Making you want to see Thor if you haven’t seen it already. While Captain America was pretty self-contained, if you caught Thor earlier in the summer, you’ll definitely notice a lot of callbacks to it. Specifically, the Cosmic Cube because every movie should have a magic Rubik’s cube full of god-juice that you can just shove into guns.
– These things. For the scant 60 seconds they showed up almost entirely covered.
The Shit That Kinda Worked:
– The action sequences. While there were some pretty awesome ones, too many relied on horseshit CGI, or were nothing but montages that were reminiscent of Sucker Punch which you never want your movie to be. Ever. For the love of God. Because, seriously, some of the badass parts from the trailer were literally all that scene was. Here’s Cap hitting a guy with a shield, and now here’s the exact random scene from the trailer exactly as it was strung together to get your easy ass into a seat.
– The patriotism. Coming from a godless, America-hating liberal like myself this is going to knock you Tea Partiers off your Rascals, but this movie could’ve used more, “Fuck yeah, USA!” I hate jingoistic American exceptionalism as much as the next guy in line at Starbucks with an NPR tote, but if there was ever a place for it, this movie was it. Instead, we got an uncharacteristically apolitical war movie where the walking embodiment of American Big Swinging Dickism barely punches a Nazi because he’s spending 99% of the movie fighting fictitious Hydra soldiers who look like rejects from the shitty G.I. Joe movie starring Channing Tatum. Yes, Steve Rogers was a brave sonofabitch who pissed nothing but courage and bravery for breakfast, but when asked if he wants to kill Nazis, he responds, “Eh, I just really hate bullies.” C’mon! I understand foreign box office is how you make your money back on these things, but when Arugula-Eating Bookworms like myself are going, “Are they going to Ameri-fuck at least one Nazi to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner?” you know something went wrong.
– The Howling Commandos. As a fan of the comics, it was cool to see them pulling off WWII-esque missions with Captain America (Read: Just kidding! It’s all montages. Montages as far as the eye can see.), but could they find a more horrible wig and mustache for Neal McDonough’s Dum-Dum Dugan? Or was slathering an albino in way too much make-up a cheaper alternative than casting an actual red-head with visible facial hair? I’m genuinely asking.
– The love story. Maybe I’m not from the 1940s, but before you even ask a dame out and let her jigger your jimmy behind the grenade shed, should you really start carrying her picture in your pocket-watch? Because that just seems kind of stalkery even if you are the greatest specimen of human strength and handsome sauce. Then again, it was a simpler time when just looking at a woman didn’t cause her to tell all your friends you’re a rapist on account of the kaiser outlawing women creating drama for the sake of creating drama. Which is why, sometimes, I don’t even recognize this country anymore…
– The Avengers teaser. If you sit through the credits, Marvel slapped together a teaser for The Avengers even though it’s still filming, not that that’s stopping anyone from making teasers this summer, and it makes you question even more how the hell they’re going to pull that movie off with so many characters. However, it looks like Captain America will be pissed off the entire movie which is exactly how I’d be if I was frozen in the Antarctic instead of, not to go all Hemingway here, dousing my super-soldier serum all over Hayley Atwell’s heaving British breasts and finally losing my virginity in the process I might add. I’d probably win the war on terror with my blue balls alone.
The Shit That Shat:
– The dickhead who sat one seat away from me and constantly texted while his three, possibly, four year old daughter talked the whole goddamn movie. It’s a fucking PG-13 movie about guns and war, and you brought your little girl to annoy the living shit out of everyone?! Seriously, one of the responsibilities as a parent is to not expect others to put up with your kid because you, for some reason, decided to drag her to a movie you didn’t even pay attention to. You, sir, are a fucking terrorist. Also, this is why I laugh at libertarians. (Yup, here we go.) Whenever I hear one of them rail about speed limits or traffic lights or any type of law that keeps people from killing each other – And they literally do this. – I just want to grab them by the holster (You know they’re packing.) and scream, “Do you not realize people are assholes?!” Every single one of us is to some degree an epic asshole of deadly proportions which is why we have laws or the roads would be nothing but a goddamn death race strewn with the bodies of idiots who think “living free” means not having to stop at a red light. And worst transition ever before I start ranting about gun control: That’s not the America Cap threw his vibranium shield at Hugo Weaving’s face for.
Wow, time to bring this bad boy in for a landing: So, definitely worth watching in the theater. Even though I felt X-Men: First Class was the slightly better film, you really can’t go wrong scoping out Captain America. In fact, a lot of people seem to be hysterically raving about it which I personally don’t get. Especially anyone comparing it to Raiders of the Lost Ark which is also happening. Yes, it has Nazis and slightly similar plot elements, but that’s exactly where it stops and doesn’t hold a candle to Raiders. That’s like comparing your real dad to your new sort-of-okay step-dad who, surprisingly, didn’t turn out to be an axe-murder or child-molester like you expected. That being said: Kind of cool to see a bunch of old people came out for this one because it is sort of a more traditional action flick, and those fuckers love them some Nazi fighting which, as we established, was scant, so they probably died unhappy and alone hours later. Also, I’m pretty sure at least half them kept trying to point to themselves on the screen. “See? That’s me next to Cap’s rocket cycle. We had to keep it full of vinegar or it got the rickets.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Captain America fingers punching Hitler in the mustache.
Photos: Paramount Pictures, Esquire