Captain America: The First Avenger

[1] You know what made this movie better than it had any right to be? It was the Captain America they wrote into it. I know that sounds painfully trite, but stay with me for a second here. I’ve read the ultra-patriotic Captain America of the 1950s[2], the reflective, uncertain, self-consciously apolitical Captain of the 1970s, and the hyper-capable, overly superior (in thought, word, and deed) Ultimate Captain of this past decade. There are things to like and dislike about each of them, but none of them made it into the movie. This guy, from his abortive attempts to enlist during World War II as an asthmatic, archetypal 98-pound weakling through his confrontation with the chillingly and somehow never cartoonishly villainous Red Skull, and at every moment in between, is just an all around average joe who happens to be the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. That he’s brave, intelligent, and acquires super-powers is almost beside the point. The heroism, explosions, and cool stunts were certainly worthwhile too, don’t get me wrong. But mainly, it’s how damn likable Steve Rogers is that carried me through the movie. Everyone has shades of grey these days, and they should, because that’s the real world. But it’s refreshing to know that sometimes the good guy really can just be, y’know, the best guy.

It’s not fair to compare him with the Captain America who was frozen in the Arctic Circle for a variable number of decades since World War II and wakes up with his whole life left behind him in the blink of an eye. Of course that guy is going to have a harder time of it than the one who asked for a chance to fight and was given everything. But it really is going to be hard to go back to angsty and/or superior Cap after liking this one so very, very much.

[1] Just to get it out of the way, my intent was not to see the movie in 3D, but events conspired against me. It’s, y’know, fine?
[2] This is true from a certain point of view, at least.