by Leeman Kessler
Johnny Storm changes his fire-jammies out for some patriotic knickers in one of Marvel Studio’s latest cinematic overtures Captain America – The First Avenger. The film understands the important truth that Nazis make for perfect villains but then veers away from this truth by trying to create super-Nazis in the form of the Red Skull’s science division/paramilitary organization/cult Hydra. This is gilding the lily, people. Nazis are bad-ass enough villains without having to put them into S&M outfits and giving them laser guns. Seriously, if Hugo Boss designed the SS outfits, then Hydra had a contract with Northbound Leather. While it is true Hellboy showed us that you can ratchet up the leather on Nazis and it can be pretty awesome, aside from the Red Skull himself, most of the Hydra team looked like bad minions in an FPS.
Red Skull was a pretty fun villain with Hugo Weaving wearing his make up well and chewing scenery with aplomb if his plan was a little vague and his motivations a touch meh – megalomania, kill lots of people, yawn. Stakes seemed all over the place in this film but most of it was just to serve the action which was pretty bombastic. Although, much as in Cowboys and Aliens, I feel the film-makers do a disservice by introducing powerful ray guns with infinite ammo into a pre-modern setting and then not really doing much to deal with the consequences of said introduction.
Tommy Lee Jones does a decent job trying to redeem his performance in his last comic book movie Batman Forever and is mostly successful, especially when it comes to eating steaks. The forgettable love interest Agent Carter is unnecessary and they would have been better served playing up the friendship with Bucky and/or Stark.
In the end though, this movie can be forgiven many things because of excellent usage of a bowler hat. Seriously folks, they introduce a character whose entire purpose is to have a jaunty moustache and a bowler hat and he excels at both. If for no other reason than bowler hats, I approve of this film. Try not to see it in 3D though because we don’t want to encourage them.