DID YOU READ

“Captain America: The First Avenger” delivers despite problems: review

“Captain America: The First Avenger” delivers despite problems: review (photo)

Posted by on

Captain America may be the first Avenger, but he’s also the penultimate test of a cinematic experiment that culminates in next year’s superhero ensemble film, “The Avengers.” Thus far, Marvel Studios’ plan has been a success, with Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor all managing to establish themselves with mainstream audiences individually, then transforming that success into anticipation for their return in “Avengers.”

However, after watching “Captain America: The First Avenger,” it makes sense that the studio would position star-spangled superhero Steve Rogers as the last character to make his solo debut before the big “Avengers” reunion. In many ways, the film feels more like a preamble to something bigger than a self-contained story – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

At a time when every film is envisioned as one chapter of a 12-part franchise, it’s not always a deal-breaker to lean on what’s come before and what the audience knows will follow. The recently concluded “Harry Potter” franchise was proof of that, and “Captain America” taps into a similar self-awareness of its role in a larger story arc that will be appreciated by comic book fans without alienating mainstream audiences.

Read our 101 guide to Captain America and his supporting cast

Still, that’s not to say that “Captain America” is devoid of problems. Despite some ambitious use of effects, the scrawny, pre-superhero Steve Rogers created by digitally grafting star Chris Evans’ head onto another actor’s body never seems quite human, and the addition of Evans’ voice to the final product makes the entire character seem like an overdubbed mess. This is especially unfortunate, because it’s clear the screenwriters did a good job of showing you why he was a hero long before he gained all of that extra muscle. Sadly, the weird, mismatched visual distracts from their work and makes it difficult to connect with the character.

On the flip side, “Captain America” overcomes the obstacle everyone saw in its path: finding a way to realistically portray a muscle-bound supersoldier in bright red, white, and blue spandex hurling his color-coordinated shield at a crimson, skull-faced villain. To its credit, the film explains why its soldier-turned-superhero’s uniform makes perfect sense in the context of his adventures, and the Red Skull – while a bit more cartoonish than necessary – manages to seem right at home in the tale’s WWII setting.

What also came as a surprise in “The First Avenger” was how similar the film felt to director Joe Johnston’s first comic book movie, 1991’s “The Rocketeer.” The two comics-influenced period pieces share a similar tone, presenting their characters’ adventures through a more innocent, Disney-fied version of reality and tapping into the nostalgic fun of comics’ Silver Age heroes.

But even though the Walt Disney Company now owns Marvel, it’s worth noting that “Captain America” definitely isn’t just another “Rocketeer.” This Marvel film is a darker, more violent adventure than Johnston’s first foray into the comic book world (there’s one scene in particular that echoes Indiana Jones’ messy tarmac brawl in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”), and it harkens back to the character’s original, gun-toting adventures that often left more than a few enemy soldiers dead in his wake.

Viewed as the explosion-a-minute, simple action film that it’s intended to be, “Captain America” delivers on what it needs to do: introduce the character to mainstream audiences while not offending longtime fans, and prime the public for “The Avengers.” Unlike prior Marvel movies, however, the film falls short in its effort to develop a character you’ll gladly see more of without his superhero teammates.

Fortunately for Steve Rogers, that won’t be an issue, as he’ll get another chance to win audiences over next year when “Avengers” finally bows on the big screen. When that time comes around, though, he’ll have to wrest the spotlight away from Iron Man, Thor, and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

It’s no small feat, but then again, he is “The First Avenger.”

What did you think of the “Captain America” movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Watch More
Brockmire-103-banner-4

Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

Posted by on

He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire_101_tout_2

Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire-Sam-Adams-great-effing-beer

Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on

From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet