Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Made In The U.S.A.
I suspected from the trailers that it would be right up my alley, and that suspicion was reinforced by the fact that it was directed by Joe Johnston, whose film adaptation of Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer is among my favorite comic book movies of all time (I really want Disney to re-issue it on Blu-ray). Johnston really has a feel for period adventure fare, and his handling of the WWII setting and the various pulpy elements of the Christopher Markus/Stephen McFeely screenplay was exemplary. I've heard a number of fans bitching online about the changes to Cap's origin story (especially the changes made to the character of "Bucky" Barnes), but considering all the retcons and embellishments made to the original, 60 year-old Simon & Kirby story (which, remember, was 8 pages long and aimed at an audience of ten year-olds), I thought the movie pulled off a brilliant balancing act, capturing the essential spirit of the character and concept, while interpreting it in a way that appealed to a mainstream audience of all ages.
The cast was fantastic. Chris Evans made a great Cap and even greater Steve Rogers. Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving were perfect in their respective roles. Hayley Atwell was sexy, smart, and capable. Neal McDonough as "Dum Dum" Dugan - small a part as it was - was inspired casting. There wasn't a single miscast role in the film.
Even the extensive CGI (which I have a reputation for hating) didn't bother me, because it was executed with care, thought and some genuine artistic style. A shot or two might have jarred, but overall, it enhanced the storytelling, and that what it was supposed to do. What people misunderstand about my criticisms of CGI and other modern filmmaking tricks, is that I only hate them when they interfere with my ability to engage with the story. Nothing yanks me out of a movie story faster than an unnaturally-moving cartoon monster or obvious CGI "stunt" - fortunately, Captain America: The First Avenger, had very few moments like that.
Anyway - if you haven't seen it, you probably should (I think it's still in theaters, right?). I know that when the Blu-ray disc comes out, it'll be going straight into my home video library. It's really good stuff.