This has been on my Lovefilm list for some time, but with Avengers Assemble coming to cinemas next weekend, and it showing on Sky in 3D this weekend I thought I would grab the chance to watch it. At this point I should give a little background.
I have never been into comic books. And in terms of super heroes I have also had a rather narrow outlook. I have liked Batman and Superman but that is it. To me, the perfect superhero movies would be the original Superman movie, Superman Returns, Batman Begins and the best of all The Dark Knight Rises which is quite simply The Benchmark. I have never seen any of the Marvel films and know nothing of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man etc etc. The whole concept of getting a load of superheroes together , like The Avengers, has always seemed a bit desperate – a bit fanboiish to me. And yes – I am totally aware that DC did it with The Justice League. I haven’t really seen a superhero filmother than the four I mention above that I really like. The two Burton Batman movies were ok as was the original Spiderman film by Raimi. I saw the original X men movie and hated it.
But The Avengers Assemble is, by all acounts, absolutely superb and a lot of people who’s judgement I trust (and many who I don’t) are raving about it. With The Times giving it a 5 star review last week, I kinda guess that I can’t miss it. And if I am to give it every chance it deserves, then I need to be aware of the back story.
So this week I will be watching this and Thor 3D.
And you know what? I was REALLY impressed with Captain America. It was absolutely not what I was expecting. I had seen the character, of course, and was expecting some jingoistic “isn’t America great?” superhero in shiny spandex. What I got was an ice cool, intelligent, origin story about a character that you could really believe.
Steve Rogers is desperate to sign up for the American army during WWII but fails every time due to his medical conditions. At the fifth time of asking he gets picked up as a candidate for a special programme, much to his surprise. He goes through the training and gets picked – and is injected with a serum which enhances his body strength and natural athletic abilities. He was to be the first of an army of “super soldiers” but a German spy runs off with what is left of the serum. Rogers is not allowed to go to war as just one of these “super soldiers” so he used in a propoganda war back home – leading to a clever montage of him getting his own comic books. But when on tour to entertain some less than enthusiastic troops he learns his best friend has been captured. It’s time for Captain America to go to war.
To be fair, the first two acts did drag a little bit for me. Right up to the end of the first rescue, it just didn’t hold my attention but once he put on his “proper suit” the film truly kicked into gear. The film is well written, and apart from Chris Evans himself (who is as poor as he was in The Fantastic Four - yeah I saw that too), the cast list is stunning and all deliver excellent performances.
But like many origin stories this really kicks into gear in the last ten minutes. A very sad, brace ending leaves our hero in a place where we simply don’t expect (or I didn’t but then I haven’t read the comics). It is a very clever ending to a very good film and capped things off perfectly.
Criticisms? Well, it is a little slow – but most origin stories are. The 3D is to be quite frank terrible – but it is a lazy upconvert so what can you expect? I do wonder why they bother. Chris Evans is terrible in his role. But these quibbles are minor. If all Marvel films are like this then I just might start taking an interest……