Captain America: The First Avenger

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IT would probably only be fair for the reader to know that I wasn’t particularly keen on seeing this one, which may have tainted my judgement somewhat. I can, however, say that even if I had been looking forward to this, I would have still been disappointed: possibly more so than I actually was.

The movie follows the adventures of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), whose repeated efforts to fight the Nazis are thwarted by his physical unsuitability for active service. With the help of Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), he is transformed into an athletic superweapon, travelling to Europe ostensibly as a propaganda boost for the troops, but secretly as part of his desire to fight the ‘Hydra’ - a sinister Nazi occult group led by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), aka ‘Red Skull’, and bent on taking over the world.

Perhaps my imagination failed me on this one: it routinely does with ‘superhero’ movies. I always believed the Nazis were quite scary enough without giving them magical powers, but apparently not. But mixing magic-wielding Nazis with the most hackneyed of good guys and the corniest of corny comic book lines simply doesn’t really work.

Evans’ performance as the hero is almost decent: one gets the impression that he could have made a better job of the role if he hadn’t been given such brutally cringe worthy lines to utter. Weaving is actually quite convincing as a baddie until the ‘Red Skull’ revelation when he pulls his latex mask off. At that point, I found it impossible to take the character seriously, magical Nazi be damned.

I tried to fathom what the point of the movie was, and simply couldn’t find it. It’s a movie which simply doesn’t leave you with anything. No sympathy for the hero, for the baddie, for the traditional fiesty-female love interest. Indeed, the only characters I found myself even vaguely sympathising were Tommy Lee Jones’ gruff officer - minded to chuck goody-two shoes Rogers out of the army - and Tucci’s Erskine, who was believable as a genius refugee biologist.

This is one for the kids. It’s safe, the violence is soft and minimal and there’s only the mildest of sex references. For the adults, I would suggest that if you really want to see Captain America, wait until it’s out on DVD, then let one of your friends buy it. Then watch it at their house. As the background to a party.