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“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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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