Captain America: The First Avenger – Movie Review

Having nothing planned on a Saturday night, my friends and I found ourselves going to the movies with this being as the only viable movie choice available.

Set in 1942, the movie stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, a disease-ridden and poor built American wanting to serve his country. Steve attempts to enroll the army many times, under different names and different hometowns, and gets refused every single time. On the eve of his best friend reporting for duty, Steve is overheard by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) and is taken to a special training program. There, he proves to be the best candidate for the secret project the government is preparing, not because of his physical built but because of his great heart. The project turns out to be a set of injections with a serum that will transform Steve into a superhuman.

At the same time, Johann Schmidt, a Nazi officer, invades a town in Norway and steals an artifact with untold powers that he starts harnessing in building weapons. And soon enough, it’s up to Steve Rogers, who becomes known as Captain America, to stop Johann Schmidt.

Captain America is nothing groundbreaking. But it has heart. It’s rare to see a superhero movie where the main protagonist is unaware of his own power. The vulnerabilities of Steve Rogers’ weaker self are transmitted to his stronger self. And that is refreshing to see on screen: a superhuman who is, at the end of the day, human and weak and vulnerable.

Moreover, there’s an artistic tint to Captain America that you cannot help but notice. The movie feels like it was produced with old-fashioned craftsmanship: the movie cinematography feels associated with the era in which the events take place. After all, the plot is a retrospective view, similarly to X-Men: First Class.

The performances in the movie are nothing over the top but they do not underwhelm. And after all, a movie featuring both Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones cannot be that bad – no matter how hard it tries. And no, Captain America does not try to be bad.

The plot might be color-by-number, especially with the overdose of superhero movies that Hollywood keeps throwing at us, but unlike other superhero movies, this one is charming. Sure, it doesn’t come close to greatness like The Dark Knight but it holds its own and manages to entertain you at the same time. The action sequences are nothing extraordinary but they are very well done and complement the plot without overdoing it, like superhero movies tend to do.

At the end of the day, Captain America is a breath of fresh air and an enjoyable cinematic experience that will entertain you for the duration of the movie, serving as a good prequel to next year’s The Avengers. You will love the innocence and the genuine characters it portrays. At the beginning of the movie, and part of why Dr. Abraham Erskine takes on Steve for his project, he asks Steve: “do you want to kill Nazis?” to which Steve replies: “I don’t want to kill anyone. I just don’t like bullies.” And that’s precisely where this movie differs from other superhero flicks: the ultimate message it attempts to convey. The 3D in it, however, is mostly useless.

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Easy A – Movie Review

Easy A. The best comedy of the year, aka the best teen comedy in a long, long time.

The movie tells the story of Olive Penderghast, a high school girl who’s as off the radar as you can go. A rumor starts that she lost her virginity and soon enough, she becomes the most popular girl in school. Inspired by the novel “The Scarlet Letter” from where the letter “A” in the title comes from, it shows how the precocious teenager in Olive got turned due to word-of-mouth alone into something as close to a harlot as you can get – without the sex.

Her fictional one-night with her fictional college boyfriend soon becomes the introduction of many guys asking her to fake sleep with them to improve their reputation. A gay classmate comes up to her and in one hilarious scene, they fake sleeping with each other so well that your ribs would almost crack from laughing. But as with all comedies, soon enough Olive’s world will come crashing down as it all becomes unbearable and things she hasn’t even pretended to do are affixed to her…

Olive’s parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are hilarious. They excel at being the hippies, carefree parents. You can’t help but laugh everytime one of them tries to console or give guidance to Olive. They are so out of place that I thought Olive was adopted at first. They are still so taken by their long-ago sexual and chemical experimentation that they don’t even care about all the turmoil in their daughter’s life. Their advice: Oh but it’s fun! You can’t help but laugh.

You might think the plot is cliched and whatnot – after all, most high school comedies are. But what elevates this movie is the outstanding performance by Emma Stone, who, in my opinion, should have won her category at the Golden Globes. There is no other one who deserved the best actress in a comedy as she did. She spun this movie out of her likeability alone and made it into what it is. Like or hate the movie, you can’t but like her character. She shows such promising talent that how she was a relative unknown before this is mind-boggling.

The movie also stars Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley as Olive’s love interest. Amanda Bynes returns into the movie business as the overzealous Christian who wants to stop all the “sinning” going on in her school. She is really good as well, especially when she’s in one of her prayer sessions.

Easy A may not be groundbreaking. But for once in a long while, Hollywood gives you a comedy that is refreshing, breezy and likeable without going into the comedy of shock-value. And for that, I love it.