Captain America: The First Avenger is the latest Marvel comic-to-movie release, and the final movie tie-in with the hugely anticipated The Avengers, which is due for release on 4th May next year. The story revolves around Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) - a young man who has failed to gain entry into the military service numerous times, mostly thanks to his asthma and general physical attributes. However, his determination and perseverance keep him going long enough for someone to notice him – Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones). Dr Erskine notices Rogers, and offers him the opportunity he’s been struggling to find. Enter Captain America – a chemically-enhanced super soldier, fighting for America and everything it stands for.
Now, although I haven’t read any of the comics associated with Captain America, after having done a little research into it, and having asked reliable sources, the general structure of the storyline and character seems to match the comics quite well, going along the same, main lines. The movie is set in the 1940′s, in particular, during the World War 2 period. The main villain is a man named Johann Schmidt, also known as the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), a man associated with Adolf Hitler, who is head of a secret research department known as HYDRA in Nazi Germany.
The storyline was actually quite a strong one, detailing Rogers before his enhancement, as a wimpy, below-average build man, who, although is ignored by everyone, is always determined, never giving up. As he is perhaps the most determined and brave person Dr Erskine has seen, he selects him to take part in Project Rebirth. Due to this reason, the beautiful Peggy Carter also takes an interest in him, played by Hayley Atwell.
I have to say, along with the strong and developing storyline, I particularly enjoyed the sub-story, of the relationship between Steve and Peggy, and how even though they are on opposite ends of the spectrum (nerdy, wimpy to graceful, beautiful), Peggy still takes an interest in Steve…and even more so after his transformation. It’s interesting to watch the relationship between the two, and see how it progresses; and even though many parts of the storyline, if not most, are quite predictable, it’s still enjoyable to watch the progression.
Another thing most Marvel flicks tend to infuse into their movies is comedy. And in the case of this movie, is generally worked. There were a range of comical scenes in the movie, and they manage to actually make you laugh. From stupid comedy to sarcasm, it works well with this movie. The role of Colonel Chester Phillips played by Tommy Lee Jones, in particular was quite enjoyable from a comical aspect, being the rough colonel-type character you’d expect, yet being humourous through sarcastic and blunt means.
I was expecting this movie to boast about the US in a patriotic manner as much as possible, but I was quite surprised to see it didn’t really do this much. Other than the American-themed costume, there wasn’t really any huge biased message, trying to make America seem better than every other country (well, no more biased than the usual amount in other movies anyway). And the scenes, along with the feelings to the scenes matched the year they were set in well, making you feel like you were actually experiencing a story set in the 1940′s, giving a good, nostalgic feeling.
Now, being the movie that this is, I was expecting huge action scenes. However, I was somewhat disappointed on this aspect. Don’t get me wrong, the action scenes were good, and I enjoyed the way Captain America smashed the bad guys around, socking it to ‘em with his harder-than-hard shield (definitely want one of these), along with the rest of the action; however, none of it striked me as anything spectacular. This somewhat disappointed me, as I also felt that a lot of action scenes which could have been great were rushed quite a bit, though I suppose there was a more of a focus on the storyline in this movie, as opposed to the action – though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, providing the movie can pull of a decent storyline. Luckily this movie did, keep you interested throughout; although, being the movie that it is, I would have enjoyed some more spectacular action. Although again, I suppose there is a limit to what you can do with a pistol, shield and optimum human power…
The enjoyable storyline continued right through to the end, with what I thought to be quite a good ending. I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to give anything away, except for that it manages to suitably tie-in with The Avengers at the end. And to those of you with little patience like me, I know it’s hard work, sitting through the credits which seem to go on forever, but there is an Avengers-themed surprise after the credits, which I’m sure many of you expected; although a lot of people at the cinema showing I went to seemed to forget that this movie ties in with The Avengers, running off as soon as the movie finished. But stay right till the end.
To sum up, although I’m sure this would be a much more enjoyable watch for you Captain America fans, I still found this to be quite an enjoyable movie. With a good storyline, decent action sequences, and enjoyable, and somewhat unique sub-plots to it, it was worth a watch. Remember, this is coming from a person who never read the comics, and had no expectations of this movie before watching it. I felt it was also a good lead-up to what will indeed be a spectacular movie, The Avengers – I mean, after all, Captain America is The First Avenger.
iHartMovies Rating: 3.8/5
By Manpreet Singh
- Hey Bad Guys, Here Comes America!: A Review of “Captain America: The First Avenger” (hoganreviews.wordpress.com)
- Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger (2D) (2011) (pacejmiller.wordpress.com)
Neon Genesis Evangelion 1.11 You Are (not) Alone and Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.22 You Cannot Advance: ReviewPosted: July 26, 2011
Well thanks for taking the time to pay interest in this post and as you can see, this area of the site is new and so as you guessed, I am a new writer; so maybe a little rusty straight off the bat, but I look forward to writing many more Anime reviews in the future. Well, I’m going to be writing about Neon Genesis Evangelion 1.11 you are (not) alone, and Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.22 you cannot advance. As most of you hardcore anime fans know, Neon Genesis was one of the first Anime’s to westernise the anime franchise with the original series being brought out by the studio Gainax in 1995. Well, Neon Genesis Evangelion 1.11 and 2.22 are reimagining theatrical versions of the anime made into feature length films that in my opinion, are something astonishing. As you know, when you usually hear an anime is being remade or remade into a series of films, you hear it in dread, believing it should just be left alone in its original glory. But this time that is not the case; they have really given this series the glory it deserves.
Well enough of an intro, let’s actually review the films. Evangelion Neon Genesis 1.11 is an apocalyptic mecha story, for those of you who don’t not know what mecha means it’s a term basically meaning giant battle robot; sounds cheesy yes, I know. Within the story, Earth has been affected to the point of most life being destroyed and leaving the environment in such a state that most life cannot be sustained, as well as two thirds of human life having been destroyed. This was due to a race, code named ‘Angels’. The first ‘Angel ‘ was a biological life form, gigantic in form that was to put in simple terms, a giant bomb destroying most life and poisoning the environment to the point life struggles to go on. This is not the end though. These ‘Angels’ will not give in, and keep coming back, attacking the Earth in different ways, all with only one aim that you can see, which is to wipe out life. The ‘Angels’ all share one thing in common - they tend to be gigantic in form and can generate something called an AT field, which conventional weapons cannot penetrate. Later, ‘Angels in the original anime take different forms, such as viruses and even humans, but the films have not really explored this yet. Due to this alien threat of the ‘Angels’, an organization called Nerv have developed a weapon, half biological, half mechanical. Created from studying the remains of the first ‘angel’, these weapons are mechas called Eva’s.
The main character in this series is a boy called Shinji Ikari, who is the son of the leader of Nerv. Let’s basically say Shinji has father issues that play on his mental health, leading to a lot of psychological breakdowns and other stresses that I will explain in a bit. Shinji is chosen to pilot one of the Eva’s that has been created. The Eva connects to him when piloting through the nervous system, meaning Shinji can freely move the Eva like his own body, but with the downside of being able to feel all the pain inflicted on the Eva. These weapons are used to fight the ‘Angels’, due to them being the only weapon that can break an AT field. Now, you have probably been wondering what the ‘Angels’ are through reading this review but the thing is no one really knows what they are, except they usually enter Earth by travelling through space. Many theories have been written, but none of them are definite. Some people hate this plot device, but personally I love it, as it brings a new fear to these ‘Angels’, not knowing where they are from, what they are and what there ultimate aim is. In this film as well, a lot of religious quotes are mentioned, sparking off philosophical discussions between main characters.
Within the films there are more Eva’s pilots with all one thing in common - they are all children aged 14-16 years of age. Due to this, because they are pushed into battle at such a young age, the things they see and experience affect their mental health. This leads to many psychological break downs, which can cause the Eva’s to go berserk due to being connected to the child’s nervous system as well leading to new strengths, harming the pilot or even harming allies giving a whole new outlook on the story. The two films have a very deep plot, with many twists and more to come in the later films if it follows the same story as the original, which it has already changed a fair bit. The films are also very action-based, leaving me and friends with shivers after some of the fight scenes, with the powerful explosions and dramatic conflicts. The animation of the films are just beautiful really, showing what gifted modern animators can do. The two films so far have won multiple awards as well as being some of the most talked about anime films over the net. Personally, I think these two films are well worth a buy that will lead you to watching them many times over and looking forward to the next film. The only negative I can really express about it is that it can kind of throw you straight in to the story line, expecting you to have watched the original anime. But this is only in some parts and can easily be resolved with a quick look on Wikipedia. I hope you have enjoyed this review and look forward to writing more in the future.
By Richard Broadhead, a new addition to the iHartMovies team, sharing his opinions on a wide variety of Anime.
- Finished! Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 2 (abookaddict.wordpress.com)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion Review (kal01.com)
- The Neon Genesis Evangelion Convenience Store [Anime] (kotaku.com)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon was originally titled Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, but changed, apparently due to copyright arguments from Pink Floyd. If this is the reason as to why the name had to be changed, that’s just ridiculous and the members of Pink Floyd need to lighten up – the ‘dark’ aspect of the Moon is pretty important in the movie’s storyline. But moving on, Dark of the Moon, is the third installment in the Transformers movie franchise, this time, travelling back to the year of 1969; in particular, the day of the Moon landing, to explain the story of an Ancient Cybertronian item which has been hidden there for some time.
The U.S. President at the time, JFK, pushes astronauts to land on the Moon before Russians, in order to find and reveal the unidentified object, which is in fact a spacecraft, known as The Ark, which was piloted by mentor to Optimus Prime, and original leader of the Autobots, Sentinal Prime (Leonard Nimoy), which the Autobots believe will help them win the war against the Decepticons. And from this flashback, through the use of brilliant CGI and clips of the President from the 1960′s, the back story to the initial discovery of the Transformers was given, before the movie pushes forward back to present day.
The storyline is average. Of course, it is a bit ridiculous and corny, but it is imaginative and interesting enough to keep you paying attention throughout the whole of the movie. As usual, like in the first 2 movies, Transformers (2007) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), the storyline is quite a linear one; and you pretty much know where it’s going to lead, although there are still some enjoyable twists along the way. However, the addition of the back story, dating all the way back to 1969 with the first Moon landing, does add to enjoyment, appealing to the ‘conspiracy-loving’ sides of our minds, what with the Moon landing having been a cover-up in order to investigate the strange object which crash-landed there.
However, as many of you who know about Transformers and have seen the first two installments know, these movies are mainly all about the action…and of course Megan Fox, though not anymore. But I’ll come back to this later on. I was expecting the action sequences to be great, what with the great action scenes in the first two. However, I have to say that they actually exceeded my expectations. The action scenes were brilliant, involving large amounts of Transformer battles, destructions of car, buildings and landscapes, stylish guns and swords, plus more. It was pretty much all the action you could want from a movie, with a lot of it even managing to build up suspense within me, which I was impressed with.
These brilliant action sequences are, of course, tailored by the special effect visuals, which, even though were great before, appear to have improved even more so. The special effects were outstanding; from the attention to detail, in every nook and cranny of the robots, to the scenes with huge battles and massive buildings being destroyed. Also, the beginning scene in particular, displays some of the finest special effects of the movie, and generally, to date. If you’re a fan of movies with brilliant use of special effects, then you need read no more, because I can tell you right now, it’s worth the watch. But it would be nice if you read on anyway; I have carried on writing after all…
Action and special effects aside, I’m sure you know that there is a reasonably large element of humour to the Transformers movies. I particularly enjoyed this humourous aspect in the first movie, although I felt they got a bit too carried away in the second one. In Dark of the Moon, at first, I was beginning to feel the same as I did about the second movie – that they were trying to hard to make it a funny movie, and it just didn’t seem comical. However, as it progresses, the comical scenes do become more genuinely comical. This is particularly helped with the appearance of Ken Jeong, more commonly known as Mr Chow, from The Hangover 1 & 2. In fact, I actually found his scenes funnier than many of his scenes as Chow in The Hangover. However, the reprisal of the character Simmons (John Turturro) was the most consistent and entertaining source of humour for me in this movie, with almost everything he said being funny, along with his Dutch assistant, Dutch. The small role from John Malkovich was also an enjoyable and comical one too, with him seeming crazy in a funny way, as usual.
The one part of the comical aspect which I was annoyed with was the miniature Transformers that they had running around, which most of the time, weren’t really funny, and eventually got quite annoying with their “‘funny” moments. Although, they did have some moments which were kind of funny, but no match to the rest of the comedy.
I also managed to find some emotion in this movie, too, with one of the scenes in particular seeming quite emotional; and this was helped by a pretty impressive musical score from Steve Jablonsky. Although, at one point in the movie, I’m pretty sure I was watching Inception for a whole scene. Those of you who have seen this movie, along with Inception, will understand what I mean. Generally though, I enjoyed the musical scores, with their tones of suspense, and outbursts of suitable emotion suiting the movie reasonably well. The general soundtrack wasn’t too bad either, including the likes of Linkin Park and the Goo Goo Dolls, suiting the relevant parts of the movie relatively well.
One thing which pretty much consistently pissed me off about this movie was the lead female role being portrayed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as new love interest, Carly Spencer. Sure, she’s stunning, she’s enjoyably to glare at and think about – but from a performing aspect, her acting is terrible. It remained relatively monotonous throughout most of the movie, showing little emotion or good acting ability. It just seemed that she was added to the cast solely due to her good looks, with the makers hoping that we wouldn’t notice that she can’t act. But we did. It’s the fact that she’s great to look at that calmed me down. It’s a shame Megan Fox didn’t reprise her role, as she at least had somewhat better acting abilities (and is also fun to glare at). The performances from the rest of the crew however, were reasonably good.
One small thing I noticed about this movie, which I’m sure other sci-fi geeks will have noticed, were the space references, considering the movie was largely related to space; in particular, how they showed an episode of Star Trek on the TV for a second or two, showing a scene with Spock (Leonard Nimoy). There were also other little references. See if you can spot them.
In the end, though, I pretty much enjoyed this movie. Despite it pretty much being focused mainly on action-packed scenes and great CGI, it very much appeals to the side of me which happens to love action-packed movies. It’s a great watch, and if you do decide to watch it at the cinema, I would definitely recommend doing so in 3-D, as this only enhances the brilliant special effects and action scenes, making the movie a lot more enjoyable, which I can’t say about many 3D movies. A great piece of work from Michael Bay, with the help of Steven Spielberg, I would recommend this to fans of epic action movies in particular, but generally to everyone. Just don’t expect any brilliant or extraordinary dialogue scenes or clever plots; just sit back and enjoy what it has to offer.
And, by the way, Optimus Prime is badass, as usual.
iHartMovies rating – 4.o/5
By Manpreet Singh
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) (greenskyoutside.wordpress.com)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon – REVIEW (blogupnorth.wordpress.com)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon [Review] (blazingminds.co.uk)
- The Sounds of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (ridelust.com)