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Captain America: The First Avenger – Verdict

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


The first in our Top 5…Iron Man 2

In 2010, Robert Downey Jr returned in Iron Man 2, as the witty and ever so charming, Tony Stark, in the sequel to the 2008 hit, Iron Man. And well, Downey pretty much delivers  perfectly, in the portrayal of Stark, as he did in the first movie, with his comical and sarcastic, yet oddly serious, view on life.

With Tony Stark’s alter-ego Iron Man now being compromised, the United States put pressure on Stark from all angles to force him to share his state-of-the-art technology with the military. Disinclined to do this, Stark must put his trust in new allies, and old allies, including the lovely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), as well as encountering new and deadly enemies.

Now, me, being a big fan of Iron Man 1, was expecting great things from this sequel, and overall, it did deliver in more or less all aspects. As mentioned, the portrayal of Stark was excellent, and there was a relatively serious plot to the film, with a fitting combination of drama, suspense, and might I add, a much larger dose of comedy than its predecessor, which I especially enjoyed. In terms of action, it did deliver, although nowhere near as much as I expected, with only a few actions scenes, not long in duration, compared to the first Iron Man, which contained prolonged scenes of explosive action. However, I found the remainder of the film interesting enough and well produced to not let this this decrease in action affect my view on the film…although a little bit more action wouldn’t have hurt anyone.

Although I’m not hugely familiar with Mickey Rourke’s previous work, I must say that I found his performance as Ivan Vanko, a.k.a Whiplash, to be a powerful and convincing one; a cold man, determined to rival Stark’s technology, agreeing to help Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell), a rival of Stark’s, who had been publicly embarrassed for producing failed attempts of Stark’s technology. Vanko agrees to help produce improved products for Hammer, before the plot begins to unveil further.

One area I must say I am very disappointed with, is the role of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Everyone knows that Jackson is undoubtedly a legend in the movie industry, with brilliant roles in films such as Pulp Fiction. However, I get the vibe that his roles in recent films are beginning to seem less and less important, and dull. His role as Nick Fury did not stand out to me in any way. But who knows, perhaps he may re-ignite his classic talent in the up-coming Avengers movie. I enjoyed Don Cheadle’s role as Lt. James Rhodes, more popularly known as the badass that is of course, War Machine, who represents a firm and respectable ally of Stark’s.  However, I must admit I preferred Terrence Howard as Rhodes in Iron Man 1.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and, although I wouldn’t say it’s as good as  the first one, it came quite close, and is definitely worth watching, especially for the Iron Man fans out there, which is why this movie has veen placed at number 5..oh, and due to a surprisingly well played role from Scarlett Johansson, who provides good acting, as well as some stunning eye candy…

I give this movie a strong 4.1/5

Look out for the fourth in our top ten of 2010 at iHartMovies, which will be revealed tomorrow.

By Manpreet Singh


Iron Man 2…Are two Iron Heads better than one?…

Actor Robert Downey Jr. promoting the film &qu...

Image via Wikipedia

Robert Downey Jr returns as the witty and ever so charming, Tony Stark, in the sequel to the 2008 hit, Iron Man. And well, Downey pretty much delivers  perfectly, in the portrayal of Stark, as he did in the first movie, with his comical and sarcastic, yet oddly serious, view on life.

With Tony Stark’s alter-ego Iron Man now being compromised, the United States put pressure on Stark from all angles to force him to share his state-of-the-art technology with the military. Disinclined to do this, Stark must put his trust in new allies, and old allies, including the lovely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), as well as encountering new and deadly enemies.

Now, me, being a big fan of Iron Man 1, was expecting great things from this sequel, and overall, it did deliver in more or less all aspects. As mentioned, the portrayal of Stark was excellent, and there was a relatively serious plot to the film, with a fitting combination of drama, suspense, and might I add, a much larger dose of comedy than its predecessor, which I especially enjoyed. In terms of action, it did deliver, although nowhere near as much as I expected, with only a few actions scenes, not long in duration, compared to the first Iron Man, which contained prolonged scenes of explosive action. However, I found the remainder of the film interesting enough and well produced to not let this this decrease in action affect my view on the film…although a little bit more action wouldn’t have hurt anyone.

Although I’m not hugely familiar with Mickey Rourke’s previous work, I must say that I found his performance as Ivan Vanko, a.k.a Whiplash, to be a powerful and convincing one; a cold man, determined to rival Stark’s technology, agreeing to help Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell), a rival of Stark’s, who had been publicly embarrassed for producing failed attempts of Stark’s technology. Vanko agrees to help produce improved products for Hammer, before the plot begins to unveil further.

One area I must say I am very disappointed with, is the role of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Everyone knows that Jackson is undoubtedly a legend in the movie industry, with brilliant roles in films such as Pulp Fiction. However, I get the vibe that his roles in recent films are beginning to seem less and less important, and dull. His role as Nick Fury did not stand out to me in any way. But who knows, perhaps he may re-ignite his classic talent in the up-coming Avengers movie. I enjoyed Don Cheadle’s role as Lt. James Rhodes, more popularly known as the badass that is of course, War Machine, who represents a firm and respectable ally of Stark’s.  However, I must admit I preferred Terrence Howard as Rhodes in Iron Man 1.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and, although I wouldn’t say it’s as good as  the first one, it came quite close, and is definitely worth watching, especially for the Iron Man fans out there. And look forward to a surprisingly well played role from Scarlett Johansson, who provides good acting, as well as some stunning eye candy…

I give this film a very strong 4/5,

A debut blog for IHartMovies by Author Manpreet Singh .