Sometimes I legitimately look in the mirror and wish that for a few seconds I could be half the man Captain America is on a daily basis! That, and I wish that I was a wee bit taller, pipe dreams are all I have people!
Two movies from the same franchise this week,
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, Joe Johnston, United States Of America) ***1/2
I’m a huge fan of The Rocketeer, so I knew that Joe Johnston had an understanding of pulp storytelling. After Captain America: The First Avenger I’ve come to the conclusion that he is probably the best pulp director that film has ever seen. He understands what drives pulp, what makes it work, and why it can be so completely awesome. The bizarre gadgets and weapons, the brutal action, the hero who stands for something greater, the ideas that drive the characters, and so on. All of this is present in Captain America: The First Avenger, and I had a damn fun time with this movie. Chris Evans surprised me with the charisma he showed, and the rest of the cast were on the money as well. There’s plenty of great action, some fine direction, and a raucous score in Captain America: The First Avenger. This is far and away the best of the Marvel movies so far, and another great bit of pulp from Mr. Johnston.
The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon, United States Of America) ***1/2
I get that there are flaws to be found in this movie. I understand there are some pacing issues and that the Hulk’s third act isn’t handled the best. That being said, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. As a lifelong comic book and movie nerd I’m happy that Joss Whedon has managed to deliver such an awesome spectacle. The action is great, the humor is really funny, and the acting is pretty much spot on. It’s not the greatest movie of all time, but The Avengers is a great experience and a damn great movie. I understand why others wouldn’t dog the largeness of this film, but I do, and I was damn happy with the finished product.
I want to stress that both movies this week were awesome. In my capsule review I didn’t adequately voice the pure pleasure and joy I gained from watching The Avengers. However, Captain America: The First Avenger is the sort of pulp hero storytelling that I crave and hardly ever receive. It’s not just a great movie, it’s a portrait of possibly my all-time favorite hero, and it’s pulpy in a way that makes me giddy. Captain America: The First Avenger takes home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!