Movie Of The Week: Captain America

In an effort to save some money on electricity I contemplated spending the entire day in the movie theater and seeing Captain America, Friends With Benefits, Larry Crowne and Zookeeper.  However I realized what is the use of saving on your electricity bill and carbon footprint if you kill yourself midway through your trip to the movie theater?  So I stuck with Captain America and was entertained throughout.

As I sat down in the theater with my face on fire from the heat I was treated to an array of previews.  Taylor Lautner is in a new movie, sort of looking like a Latin Jason Bourne.  The movie is called Abduction, or Abducted or Abortion (Liam Neeson must have rejected it as part of his Taken-Unknown trilogy of angry men who are clueless but have fighting skills to help them get clues).  It actually looked pretty good, except it had Taylor Lautner.  He just doesn’t appear to have much acting talent, even in the previews.  And it is directed by John Singleton.  How far the mighty have fallen!  Despite starting his career with an Oscar nomination for Boyz N The Hood, he is now relying on spoiled and stupid teenage girls from Team Jacob to bail his career out.

Then there was a preview for The Amazing Spider Man.  I want to reject this film because it is unnecessary.  When The Hulk was rebooted (successfully in my opinion) in 2008, after only 5 years from the first attempt it was acceptable because the Ang Lee Hulk was one of the 20 worst movies of all time.  But Spider Man (at least the first two in 2001 and 2004) were excellent.  There was no need, but Hollywood now treats franchises like NBA jerseys – they keep changing them, whether they work or not, because there is a significant portion of the jersey wearing population that will immediately go get the new one to be in fashion.  I hope the new Spider Man fails on principle, but I’m sure it won’t.

Then I saw a preview for Mission Impossible 4.  I don’t care who hates on Tom Cruise and why they hate on him – the dude is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, movie star of the last 30 years.  The dude is still cool to me.  He does his own stunts, has talent (not Daniel Day Lewis level, but he is also no Paul Walker) and I still feel that, unlike Al Pacino, who will be in this Fall’s Jack and Jill – an Adam Sandler film that I will be dedicating an entire post to next week, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro, Tom Cruise, whether he fails or succeeds, does not appear to take film roles with the desperation of a crack addict seeking a paycheck.

But then it was on to Captain America.

This Summer has been up and down with the comic book movies.  X Men First Class is I believe the best movie of the Summer so far (but my money is on Rise of the Planet of the Apes to take the crown August 5th).  Thor was OK (thanks I think to very low expectations I had) and Green Lantern should be the death knell for Ryan Reynolds’ movie career.  He is not funny, looks like a buff, but goofy Dane Cook and his movies suck badly.  Even from the commercials of his next movie, The Change-Up, it looks like Jason Bateman is going to carry Ryan Reynolds like he’s wounded on the battlefield.  But enough with the negatives – Captain America was pretty good and never really had any lulls.

Chris Evans, who will always have a spot in my heart for his portrayal of Jake Wyler in Not Another Teen Movie, plays the lead character who goes from undersized wimp to Major League Baseball player in the Bay Area circa 2003, thanks to a government experiment.  Evans gets lumped in with Reynolds way too much (e.g. Bill Simmons’ recent column on Hollywood stars) as an under-performing, over-exposed young star.  I think he has much more potential than Reynolds and this film should be the showcase for that.  He is very solid in this movie and can clearly carry this franchise (until it gets rebooted in 6 years).

There were several supporting players to admire in this movie.  Hugo Weaving is back from purgatory, probably as karma for his ridiculously good fortune of being in both The Matrix and Lord of the Rings trilogies, as the villain and Tommy Lee Jones is especially good (at least for this genre that usually either under-writes or under-employs supporting actors of quality).  He manages to deliver mostly comic relief with the same dry, go fu*k yourself delivery that won him an Oscar in The Fugitive.  I honestly think we was the least replaceable member of the cast, even though he is only in about 15% of the movie.

On this hot weekend, Captain America is a good choice for a summer movie.  It never gets too ambitious, but it manages to deliver a solid 2 hour experience.

Final Grade – B+