Captain America


I mostly knew Captain America from his bad 1960s cartoon show, and he always left me a little cold. He could run and jump and punch, and he had that damned shield, but his costume was beyond dorkitude. I don’t recall any individual episodes, but I still remember the theme song:



When Captain American throws his mighty shield,

All those who chose to oppose the shield must yield . . .



(There’s an echo of T. S. Eliot’s “Ash Wednesday” in that last line, but I digress.)



Well, Partner and I saw the new “Captain America” movie on Sunday, and I have maybe a little more respect for Cap now.



First of all, it’s beautifully filmed. It’s mostly shot in an elusive sepia, the color of old newspapers piled in the attic, to remind you that this is the 1940s, and the fights and battle scenes are very beautifully delineated. (We saw in in 2-D, which I don’t think spoiled any of the effects; naturally Cap chucks his shield right in your face a couple of times, and there are a few explosions which I’m sure would have been spectacular in 3-D. But we didn’t feel that we’d missed anything of importance.) But the final impression of the cinematography – and I think this is intentional – is of a very very very prolonged flashback.



So: we meet young Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, morphed down to the size of Gollum, or maybe Dobby the Elf). Steve is patriotic and kind and brave and sweet and asthmatic and anemic, and he has big sweet vulnerable eyes, and he aches to be a hero. We meet Stanley Tucci as Steve’s mentor / kindly uncle / father figure; Tommy Lee Jones (who reminds me of a big talking piece of leather) as Steve’s commanding officer, who basically reprises every role he’s played over the past twenty years; and some skirt (Hayley Atwell) playing a tough cute scientist who provides the necessary love interest.



A few injections and Vita-Rays later, little Steve turns into gigantic Steve, and is provided with a seemingly endless supply of tight white t-shirts. (Evidently the machine that makes your muscles bigger also oils you up. Also, it’s okay to leave your pants on during the transformation, because they change size automatically, right along with you.)



Big brawny Steve becomes a salesman for War Bonds; he sings and dances, he’s featured in comic books, kids love him. (Get it?) And he is dismally unhappy, and dissatisfied.



Finally, however, he meets the villain of his dreams. Hugo Weaving plays Johann Schmidt, and if you don’t know Johann’s secret – and his comic-book monicker – I ain’t gonna tell you. I loved Hugo’s irritable / vaguely constipated Elrond in “The Lord of the Rings,” and his Agent Smith in the Matrix movies was wonderfully creepy. He’s equally good here, as a smug uberNazi with an Odin complex.



There are a kajillion tie-ins with other recent Marvel movies: a dash of “Thor,” lots of “Iron Man,” and maybe even an echo of “The Hulk.” And we get a brief look-ahead to the Grand Unification: the Avengers movie promised next year.



And at the end of the movie –



Oh, come now. Who do you think I am? I wouldn’t do that to you.



[Evil chuckle.]




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

One Response to Captain America

  1. Larry the Barr says:

    Really nice comments and thoughts.
    I actually loved your comment about Pride and Prejudice and
    how you blabbed the marriages. WELL DONE!
    There is a major devil living within you.
    Thanks for a good July blog.

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