I just want to start this out by saying that star Chris Evans has a very triangular nose. The thing is like a perfect 45º angle off his face. It’s really quite impressive.
Now, let’s get down to the actual movie: I liked it. That, however, does not mean it does not have its problems. In fact, there are a fair share of problems. So, let’s start out with those first.
The most obvious for me was that there were way too many unnecessary explosions. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the good ol’ fashion explosion, but this movie just had a lot of them. Some of them looked real and others looked generated. The ones that were real were pretty neat while the ones that were generated seemed excessive. At a certain point, it just seemed like there were explosions just for the sake of having explosions.
Secondly, the parts of the movie meant for 3D (I really despise 3D films) were REALLY cheesy. For instance, there is an obligatory “awh shit, someone is throwing something out of the screen!” I definitely gave this one a chuckle.
Thirdly, some of their computer generated backgrounds were pretty bad. You’d have Cap jumping over a low angle shot (looking up) with a moody cloud background behind him that just looked pretty bad. In the end, it just seemed like there was too much of an emphasis on CGI (though, seeing people basically erased from existence by the Cosmic Cube powered guns was pretty neat).
Fourthly, by making the villains actually Hydra members rather than Nazis sort of detracted from the film. They became faceless, evil stand-ins. I believe it actually removed some of their ferocity by not showing their faces, and basically made them videogame villains: easily expendable and only a cosmetic threat.
Here’s a middle ground of something: I really liked how it was filmed with an extremely high depth of field. Meaning that nearly everything was focused which sort of gave it a soap opera feel. That was pretty neat. This was, however, ruined when a CGI thing would come in and suddenly everything would go into a low depth of field.
I enjoyed the first half of the movie far more than the second half. I believe it was mostly because this was working on characterization rather than action. You got to feel Steve Rogers’ determination and drive to fight in the war. They effectively established his base humanity and allowed the audience to emphasize with him fairly well.
Exploring that even further, the acting in this film was actually really good – way better than I expected. Sure, there was the cheesy moments between Steve and Peggy, but, other than that, the film actually rested more on the shoulders of the actors rather than the action. Also, the death that was the driving force throughout the second half of the movie was not handled properly (it was forgotten pretty quickly), but the rest of the film held up. Tommy Lee Jones eats the screen away from everyone else and Hugo Weaving makes a fairly dastardly villain despite his villainous plan being rather simplistic. Also, for being a young actor Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark makes the role entirely his own and really should deserve a lot of the credit for the comedic aspect of the film.
There are also little treats like the costume we know of Captain America in the comics today is actually Steve Rogers’ War Bonds show costume. I also enjoyed how the shield that he used for the stage show was also the one that he first appeared with in the original comic (which had to be changed due to copyright issues with The Shield, I believe). There’s also an original Human Torch reference for the die hards… and Stan Lee’s cameo was spot on and funny for people who don’t even know who Stan Lee is.
Overall, the film wasn’t phenomenal. But, it did what it had to do as a superhero film and supplied surprisingly good acting. I haven’t seen any of the other superhero/comic book movies this summer (I know, for a comic geek that’s blasphemy), but I feel like they just would not compare to this rather delightful film.