I know I’m a little late to the game, but I have to write about Captain America: The First Avenger. First of all, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, stop reading this, grab your wallet, and get to the damn theater right now.
Now that everyone’s seen it, let’s talk about superhero movies for a moment. There was a time about ten years ago when the term “superhero movie” meant something. It meant studios were crazy enough to try and put together a movie that would undoubtedly undergo the scrutiny of the SAG, the world, and a fan base of millions of people who are so into comic books they can tell you what Wolverine’s actual name is.
I was all but certain that time was over with the crazy influx of super hero movies released this year. I can remember first hearing blurbs of Thor’s theatrical debut and thinking, “A Thor movie? That sounds badass.” Unfortunately, The Fantastic Four shattered all of my fanboy dreams by being ridiculous and crappy. From that point on, I knew we were all in for a wave of crap. I’ve been doing my best to keep my head above it and pray for some quality super hero action that actually does the hero (and the fans) justice. Hands down, the greatest example of this has to be Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman. Since the release of The Dark Knight, it’s all just been kinda meh.
The Taste of Marketability (Spoiler Alert: It’s Shit)
When did superhero movies lose their gloss? It’s hard to pick a particular culprit to blame, but I think the release of Spider-man 3 had something to do with it. Speaking of which, did you see the new The Amazing Spider-man trailer? It looks like Stephanie Meyer wrote the screenplay for it (or at least directed the trailer).
This is exactly the kind of crap I’m talking about! Now, superhero movies are a common household genre which is bad for the hardcore fans out there. Why would an increase in popularity be bad? Let me tell you why.
Imagine you’re a chef. You work at a small diner that caters to 100 different people a day. Pretty busy, sure, but you have a good team in the kitchen and your signature dishes are gaining popularity for having a spicy, Southwest flair to them. Good for you. Now, the owner of the restaurant is happy to announce that you are so popular they are going to expand the restaurant and start doing a lunch buffet during the week. You’re now expected to cater to upwards of 500 customers a day. Given the lack of manpower and the increased diversity in clientele, you opt to tone down some of the extreme flavors of the dishes you serve so as to cater to a more general audience. The food’s not quite as good, but you have more customers than ever before, so you’re becoming rich and everyone’s happy.
Everyone, that is, except for the regular customers who supported the establishment from the beginning. Now, they show up once or twice a month to eat the flavorless slop you serve just to reminisce, and each time they do, a solitary tear rolls down their cheeks.
Marvel and DC are the chefs, and we are the customers. That’s what’s happening right now.
Captain America Saves the Audience!
After X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Thor, watching Captain America is sincerely like a breath of fresh air. It has a strong narrative that draws heavily from the comic’s own canon and long history and actually takes the time to give characters enough personality that we start giving a damn about them. The action isn’t too over-the-top, it’s just over-the-middle. No one seems too bulletproof, and the gritty, European battlefields of WWII are much more exciting than Thor‘s rainbow roads.
The stellar acting, the special effects, and the narrative are good enough to keep you wanting more of America’s First Avenger. Fortunately, Marvel and Walt Disney Pictures have their shit together and we’ll be able to see the captain in all his red, white and blue glory alongside Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Nick Fury on May 4th, 2012. It’s a pain trying to find the real Avenger’s trailer online, so make sure you stick around after the credits of Captain America to see it for yourself!