AMERICA! #%*& YEAH!
So, tomorrow I have managed to weasel my way into a free advance screening of Captain America: The First Avenger. It's not THAT advance, obviously, as the world will be tuning in at midnight and I'll be there at 7:00 pm, but it's free and includes concessions. Blammo! That's a serious win in my book.
After the film I'll run to my computer to give my quick, spoiler-free thoughts, but let me first set up my expectations here, on the record.
I don't claim to be any sort of expert on the directing of Joe Johnston, but his credits are good. For their time, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Jumanji were great movies with elements of the fantastic in an otherwise-normal world. It sounds weird to use kid movies as a background, but I think that some good parallels can be drawn. And, don't forget that the great Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame directed Elf and Zathura (basically Jumanji 2), so it's not a crazy place for a comic book movie director to come from. By all accounts Johnston's The Wolfman was simply terrible, but all of that is just background noise, because I'm drawn to a single point on his resume:
Joe Johnston directed The Rocketeer.
Is there a more apt cinematic comparison between Cap and The Rocketeer? Pulpy, vaguely sci-fi heroes punching Nazis! Win! The Rocketeer was great, and I think still holds up today, so I think Johnston was the man for the job.
I'm expecting big things here, and it is, in fact, the main thing I'm looking for in the film. Speaking of The Rocketeer, I fully expect Captain America to feel like a cross between that pulp classic and Saving Private Ryan. I expect there to be some gritty, authentic-feeling WWII scenes between those of superheroics, and I expect the sort of ensemble support cast backing up Chris Evans that was backing up Tom Hanks, and I expect that like in SPR, they won't all make it.
I think that Evans will pull off a good performance, and the surrounding cast will do their thing as well, but I don't expect any Oscar-worthy performances. If Cap comes off as Johnny Hero, Bucky serves as the down-and-dirty sidekick, and the Red Skull and his minions can be menacing without being overly hokey, it's a win all around. If someone is going to steal the show, mark me down for Sebastian Stan as Bucky; he was very good in the short-lived series, Kings.
Can this movie keep it on track? We've got vita-rays and Nazis and the sorta-Nazi Hydra and (presumably) things like cosmic cubes and Skrulls and mad scientists with heads in their torsos. Thor threw a lot at us as well, and handled it okay, so I think you have to trust in Marvel. I'm sure that reviews of this film in the post-Dark Knight world of "comic book movies" will criticize what I'm sure will be a highly cinematic and over-the-top storyline, but screw those guys, this will be fun!
To Be Continued
Can't wait for everything after the credits. Oooooooh, can't wait.
Check back tomorrow night for the review!