Short and Sweet: Captain America Review

I’ll post a longer spoiler-rich review later, but in the meantime have a Captain America horsd’oeuvre.

Saturday I went to a matinee screening of Captain America: The First Avenger.  I had high hopes for the film based on the trailers I watched going in.  Those trailers told me I would enjoy an action-packed super-hero ride, and for the most part those trailers were correct.  And as it turned out, I even dug the parts in which those trailers were incorrect.

First visual impression: Wow!  I have to admit to being a sucker for the look and style of the 1940’s wartime era, and this film did a super-swell job of capturing that for me.  Nothing seemed out of place; even the obvious “future science” moments maintained the style of the time while looking suitably futuristic.

I also think the movie did a great job of capturing Steve Rogers’ strength of character, pre- and post-procedure.  Beyond the physical abilities he gains, that character has always stood out as the most important part of Captain America for me.  Actor Chris Evans did not disappoint me on that score, giving me the Captain America I’ve come to know and love.

Other actors turned in great performances as well.  Hugo Weaving was fantastically nasty as Red Skull, providing a great, if somewhat stereo-typically obvious foil to Captain America.  Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter with equal parts bad-assness and grace.  And both Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones turn in memorable supporting roles as Dr. Abraham Erskine and Colonel Chester Phillips, respectively.

All in all, I loved this movie.  I cared about the characters, there was tons of the hard-fisted, bullets-flying action I came to see and I went away really excited to see more.  If there was one sour note for me, it was that last.  I do want to see more Captain America, but I would like to see more of him in his own era.  Other may disagree, but I think Marvel missed an opportunity to slip in 2 or 3 WWII Captain America films before syncing up with The Avengers.

That’s it for my short and sweet look at Captain America. Tune in next week for a more in-depth (and spoiler-filled) look at the film.

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While I have you, I just wanted to talk a  bit about 2D versus 3D.  I specifically sought out a screening in 2D, for a number of reasons.  A very important reason was that a few of the friends watching with me cannot watch a 3D film; they fall in with the roughly 10% of people for whom 3D is nauseating and headache inducing.  Also, I’m on sort of a budget these days, so paying out the extra money for a 3D screening made no sense (although, since it was my birthday I ended up not paying for my ticket anyway; thanks Sheelagh! But the point in general stands.)

But the main reason?  3D does nothing for me.  Too often these days it is used in a film simply because that is what you do now.  And I will admit to being suitably impressed by it on a number of occasions when it was used with purpose.  But too many times it is an afterthought to the filming process, or thrown in at moments when it is just jarring.  Instead of feeling like I’m part of the action, I end up noticing all the 3D seams in the film and that serves to pull me out of something I’m trying to enjoy.  And then there are the times that it just mechanically doesn’t work; something is wrong with projection so the 3D is fuzzy or dark. And now I’ve payed extra to “enjoy” something that is partially or wholly unwatchable.

So this is my plea to the film industry, which I expect to go largely unheeded: Stop filming in 3D.  It is no less a gimmick than it was in the 1950s, and most of you are not using it right anyway.  To show you how serious I am,  I make this promise right now: I will not see another film in 3D.  Ever again.  And I invite all my film-loving friends to join me in this boycott.  The only way 3D will go away is if it hits Hollywood in the pocket book.  If enough people shun 3D (and I think it is starting to happen) this fad can go away again.

What do you think?  Did you see the Cap in action?  What do you think about 2D vs. 3D?

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