Friday 18 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Action · Captain America: The First...

Captain America: The First Avenger

Enlist in 'Captain America,' the final and finest superhero adventure of a summer season flooded with them.

Rod Lott July 25th, 2011

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is Marvel's third — third! — superhero movie just this summer, following "Thor" and "X-Men: First Class," so it would be reasonable to expect audiences to be burned out on men in tights.


That would be bad, however, because Marvel has saved the best for last. It's miles better than that Norse god with the magic hammer, and just a hair below the greatness of Robert Downey Jr.'s first go-round in his iron armor, both of whom will team with Cap in next summer's guaranteed nerdgasm, "The Avengers."

With all but a few minutes set in the 1940s, "Captain America" celebrates the Great War and its Yankee soldiers without pushing your face in halfhearted, jingoistic rhetoric. Its patriotism burns real, meaningful and infectious, whereas, say, "Battle: Los Angeles" was forced and felt manufactured, as if to cloud its sheer lack of story.

This story is, naturally, an origin tale of the star-spangled superhero of Marvel Comics' golden age — a 98-pound weakling of Charles Atlas ads transformed by science into the United States' strongest weapon against Hitler and his armies, not to mention the even more threatening foe of the crimson-headed Red Skull (Hugo Weaving, "The Wolfman"). String-bean orphan Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") is the perennial-rejected Army enlistee until a top-secret super-soldier serum is tested on him, and works like a charm.

Most interesting in this adaptation is how long director Joe Johnston ("The Wolfman") keeps Cap's superheroics at bay. Cheekily, although not cheesily, the period picture first shows him not fighting on front lines, but playing propaganda prop on USO tours, like Bob Hope in a Halloween costume. In a montage set to a full-blown musical number that would make Busby Berkeley proud (complete with an original Alan Menken tune destined for Oscar recognition), kids snatch up copies of "Captain America Comics #1" as it existed in our world, and movie audiences enjoy him romp in a 15-chapter, black-and-white Republic  actually released in 1944.

The action hits hard in hour two, and the punch is considerable. Like a light, pop-culture take on "Inglourious Basterds," it's rich in period detail, but approaching weighty, revisionist themes without taking itself too seriously (the last line, however, is absolutely haunting). Evans proves the best choice for the role, more invested than he was in the "Fantastic Four" films. Matching his character in bravery and balls is Hayley Atwell (TV's "The Pillars of the Earth"), more than merely the love interest — and the only argument for experiencing the well-made film in its converted 3D. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5