“Captain America: The First Avenger”: Five things that were missing from the superhero movie

“Captain America: The First Avenger”: Five things that were missing from the superhero movie (photo)

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Last week, I reviewed “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Marvel’s final solo-superhero film before next year’s massive team-up extravaganza, “The Avengers.” In my review, I indicated some of the elements — good and bad — that made it stick out from the rest of the Marvel movie-verse offerings so far.

While the film was filled with nods to the comic book source material, there was quite a bit of material comics fans were likely expecting to see that never quite made the cut. Here are some of the things I was surprised not to see in The First Avenger’s big debut.

Steve Rogers, The Artist

While we received a pair of slight indications of Rogers’ artistic talents (when he sketches a picture of a trained monkey to represent his role, and then when he redesigns his suit), it’s unfortunate that there couldn’t have been a more obvious nod to his interests before becoming America’s super-soldier. In Marvel Comics lore, Rogers was a fine arts student specializing in illustration — and the creator of a comic book or two of his own, in fact. In the film, we find out little of Rogers’ past, only that he desperately wants to join the military.

What Did You Say That Thing’s Made Out Of?

Much like the material that makes up Wolverine’s claws, adamantium, Captain America‘s shield is made of a fictional metal called “vibranium.” In the comics world, vibranium is only found in the African nation of Wakanda, where the Cap’s Avengers teammate Black Panther hails from. While there’s a mention in the movie of Cap’s shield being made of vibranium, there’s little explanation given for why this mystery metal has such unique properties. At first, I was surprised more people weren’t wondering about this, but then I remembered the use of “unobtanium” in “Avatar” and decided to blame the whole thing on James Cameron.

Bucky: Armed or De-Armed

While “The First Avenger” does include the perceived demise of Captain America’s famous partner, James “Bucky” Barnes, things take a bit of a different turn in the film than they did in the comics universe. In Marvels’ Captain America comics, Bucky attempts to disarm a rocket and is presumed dead when his arm is caught in a control panel and the whole thing explodes. Modern readers know that Bucky survived the incident, however, and later returned with a cybernetic arm and a grudge against his former partner. In the film, we see Bucky disappear, but it happens in a far less explosive manner, and with no clear nod to him losing his arm.

Nick Fury, Howling Commando

In the comics, Nick Fury was the original leader of the Howling Commandoes, the elite military squad that Captain America teams up with in the film. While we get a look at Nicky Fury in the modern era later in the film, it was interesting to note Marvel’s decision not to include him in the World War II setting. Sure, some will argue that the timeline wouldn’t make sense in Marvel’s real-world environment, but remember that Fury told Tony Stark in “Iron Man” that he’d been around for very long time.

Wherefore Art Thou, Invaders?

Possibly the most egregious omission from “The First Avenger” is Captain America’s famous fighting team, The Invaders. Made up of Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch, and other popular WWII-era superheroes, The Invaders wreaked havoc on the Nazis during comics’ Golden Age. There’s a brief nod to The Invaders early in the movie, when the camera passes over an “Artificial Man” exhibit at the World’s Fair. The red, humanoid figure is said to be a reference to the Golden Age version of the Human Torch. Still, it would have been nice to have more evidence of The Invaders’ role in Marvel’s WWII history.

What were you hoping to see but didn’t in “Captain America”? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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