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David Poland

By David Poland

Review: Captain America (1 Spoiler Section, well marked)

I kinda love the sepia-spirited movie that Joe Johnston made out of Captain America, one of my favorite Marvel characters growing up.

I kinda hate the commercial for Avengers that Marvel wrapped the film in and for me, pretty close to ruins the last 15-20 minutes of the film for me.

So where does that leave me?

The movie opens with the discovery by modern means of Cap’s shield under a load of ice. So any movie fan now knows what is inevitably coming. What scared me and excited me about the moment was that it suggested all kinds of interesting possibilities for how we would get back to the opening moment (and/or its result). But they didn’t make that movie. They made a wonderfully spirited Joe Johnston movie.

You’ve gotten all the basics in the ads. Steve Rogers is a little guy. The Benjamin Button effects, shrinking Chris Evans down to a puny guy, notably smaller than Stanley Tucci, are brilliantly executed here. If you didn’t know what was coming, they would be 100% convincing. It never felt like they were shooting to adjust for the effect or not shooting something to avoid an expensive effects shot. Great.

Tucci does what he was brought in to do perfectly. He is the conscience of the piece and he defines who Steve Rogers is without ever giving you the feeling he is telling the audience how to feel.

Evans, by the way, is excellent in this performance, s bit of a surprise. He is known for his bravado as an actor, but he really acts in this movie. Honestly, there is a point at which I kind of wish we saw him allow himself one of his killer smiles… but truth is, the screenplay didn’t let him do it. More on that to come.

Tommy Lee Jones is not really given enough to do to ever get rolling towards anything but a paycheck. He’s really the only one in the movie who felt like he was saying the lines he was given. There were a couple of moments, acting dyads where there was a glimpse of what could have been, but they don’t go that way.

Dominic Cooper, playing Robert Downey, Jr’s dad here, is terrific and perfectly cast… but I could have used a bit more of him. Dominic should be nominated for an Oscar for The Devil’s Double, but may not be because of the way the film is being released/dumped. Here and in that film, it is finally clear that he has arrived as a serious actor. He’s not just a pretty boy who can run lines and lean into his light well. But again, not quite enough of him.

The wild card here is Hayley Atwell, who is pretty much making an “And Introducing” debut in Hollywood with this performance. Marvel didn’t go its normal route of hiring a beauty whose career has slipped a little (Portman being the obvious exception) to team with The Hero. And Atwell doesn’t disappoint. She has a great entrance, she manages the very difficult job of keeping the audience from feeling like her interest in Steve Rogers is not just because he has a really big, uh, pairs of pecs now, and she has the kind of beauty that becomes more interesting as you see more of her.

But now, my second BIG complaint. I saw this movie in 3D. With shutter glasses. BLECH!!!

As regular readers know, I am not a 3D hater. I am comfortable with the glasses when there is a payoff, even in post-shoot conversions that are well done. But in the case of this movie, like X-Men: First Class, 3D is antithetical to the film that was made. I suppose you could do a period film that would be enhanced by 3D. But this was not it.

Moreover, as the movie looks into Ms Atwell’s eyes with a passion usually reserved for Douglas Sirk movies, I was squinting behind my glasses to get a good look, even though her head was in a close-up 30 feet high. And when I pulled off my glasses… WOW!… look at that girl!

If you want to go see Transformers 3 or Green Lantern or maybe even Potter (which I saw in 2D, but have heard some 3D raves for), go see the 3D if you like 3D. But for my money, if you pay to see Captain America in 3D, you are a sucker. I would love to see the movie in 2D and may go this weekend. I bet my bottom dollar that it will be a much happier experience without the freakin’ glasses or the darkness. (And about the darkness… I am convinced that some 3D formats are a bigger problem than others and that all of them can be better if the projector light is cared for. But this was a studio screening in a quality, new-ish theater… and it was too dark except in the brightest scenes.)

Getting back to the movie itself… old fashioned fun. Really, it was a WWII action movie with comic book elements, perfect for this comic. Even the lazer guns were basic looking old guns with a little glowing blue light strip on the bottom. Perfect!

The first big action sequence for Cap… conceptually brilliant… not weighed down with explanations… funny… relatively realistic… great ending… so good.

I could quibble with this or that throughout the film, but really, most of the time that something I would consider a minor misstep occurred, the movie just kept moving forward and got past it quickly. Few films are perfect, but the ones that can keep you in even at moments they threaten to pull you out are almost as rare.

The uber-villain is Hugo Weaving, who must be getting tired of doing these roles. But he’s awfully good at them and entertaining himself as he does them. In this case, he seems to be Doing The Depp by channeling Werner Herzog’s voice for his German baddie. It’s not a Werner imitation, flying off into parody, but the cadences are right there and Weaving hits certain syllables just the way Werner does.

Again, as with the Li’l Steve Rogers, the Red Skull effect is pretty much perfect. It never feels like latex or CG or something other than someone’s head.

The film spins on the Nazi thing by making Red Skull a Nazi who doesn’t much care for Nazi’s either. His troops are masked, like Lucas’ Stormtroopers. So the violence feels comic bookish. A punch is more exciting than an array of men being gunned down.

The movie charges forward. Our hero is super. Fun fun fun.

And then, the big final showdown and the end and the coda, which is usually at the end, after the credits (don’t bother staying… nothing there this time), but is now in the movie.


Some have argued to me that this ending is sophisticated. But, “Bollocks” I say. It’s a 90% turn for only one reason… to sell the next movie.

Marvel has made, by my count, 5 movies in-house in this era. 2 Iron Man, a Hulk, A Thor, and now this.

Captain America is the first time they have hired a really good film director to make one of their movies. It’s the first time they didn’t try to shove a box office star into the mix to support the opening. It’s their first period movie (because you could have unfrozen Cap at the top and put him in modern America).

These were all really good decisions and make this the most accomplished of the 5 films produced in-house so far.


But then, instead of going with that and bringing all the Captain America pieces together at the end for a classic movie climax, they strip the movie of the elements that were so enjoyable until then and close with a take-away, which unlike, say, Casablanca, is not connected to the theme of the film or a natural outgrowth of the characters.

Everything is fine until Cap gets into the flying fortress. Then he is alone, no longer connected to his team, his girl, or the war… there is really nothing specific to being in flight, aside from one autopilot gag… Red Skull is dispatched with little real drama… and then, “I’m going to kill myself in order to save NY.”

Don’t even get me started on the issue that killing Hydra off only helps Hitler, who was one of Red Skull’s targets… so the war isn’t over and Captain America is already being shelved.

You can practically feel like you are sitting in the meeting, listening to everyone trying to rationalize why the ending isn’t The Dance with The Girl before Cap heads off to the help with “The Japs” in the sequel that should have been. “See… we need to get him to 2010 so we don’t need to spend time explaining it in Avengers. And we still want him to be a virgin, cause maybe we can make that funny. What a great laugh when he gets his first blowjob from Scarlett! Do you think we can make it work in an elevator in the Chateau Marmont?!?!”

Thing is, one part of this film that is a little off-putting is that Cap, honorable as he is, is kind of a boring guy. He really needs a good woman to help him understand the rest of his powers.  He has one in this film… but instead of the climax movies like this have, literally and figuratively, because audiences love them and have since Valentino, we get the loss from a distance gambit.  I can embrace loss as an ending in a film in which it fits.  Here… no way, Jose.  If they don’t dance, the Red Skull wins!

And I wonder what Avengers will do with him. He’s not a right winger or spouting Bible verse. He is kind of a goody-two-shoes, but it’s not really an established character thing, like Superman’s “aw shucks.”  So like Thor, he’s a man out of his element. I don’t see that being the schtick for two characters, so… I guess we’ll see.





I guess where I am is that I really enjoyed most of Captain America and i was profoundly frustrated by the last 15 minutes or so. A great ending can save a mediocre movie and a bad ending can sink a pretty good movie. For me, this was a bit more than a pretty good movie and if it had ended as it seemed to be intended to, it might have been on par with the better Hellboy, Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman movies, creating a universe of its own, bigger than the details you walked into the theater anticipating.

For me, that misstep is more frustrating than outright mediocrity.

At the same time, I will be happy to sit through a 2D screening of this movie again… soon.

If you’re a movie lover, you pretty much need to go see this film. And you might pray, as I do, that a version without the Avengers product placement (or with it after credits, where it belongs) turns up on Blu-ray someday.

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92 Responses to “Review: Captain America (1 Spoiler Section, well marked)”

  1. JS Partisan says:

    It’s called The First AVENGER for fuck’s sake man. Come on. COME ON!

  2. I fully agree with DP about the final few minutes, and I have to wonder how the theoretically older/less comic book-y audience that would otherwise enjoy this film are going to react to an ending that, if you have no hardcore knowledge of the character (and if you aren’t the kind of movie nut who knows about next year’s The Avengers), is a real ‘screw you’ ending. Otherwise, yeah, the best Marvel Studios film thus far and one of the very best Marvel films, up there with X2: X-Men United, X-Men: First Class, and the first Spider-Man (or, if you prefer it, Spider-Man 2). Stanley Tucci is absolutely wonderful in this, helping craft one of the best first acts in a comic book film, up there with X2 and Superman: the Movie.

    For those who care –

    But there IS something after the credits, it was just withheld from press screenings. I won’t reveal what it is for those who don’t want to know, but your sitting through ten minutes of end credits will not be in vain (even if mine was).

  3. David Poland says:

    Well, JSP, maybe they could have called it Captain America: The Dark Knight and had him end up in a cowl in a cave.

  4. David Poland says:

    Scott… if it wasn’t there, how do you know it is there?

    And if it’s on the end of the release print and not on the press print, frankly, that’s fucked up. 80% of the audience stayed and all they got after the credits was a title card.

  5. I’ve read in several places that it will debut this weekend as an end-credit cookie (have actually seen a crappy bootleg version of ‘it’). They could be mistaken, but that’s what I’m hearing. Yes, it IS fucked up, we all stayed and we were all a little pissed. But, if I recall, Marvel did the same thing with the first Iron Man, where press audiences didn’t see the Nick Fury cameo.


  6. Sean says:

    Kenneth Branagh’s not a really good film director?

  7. anghus says:

    “Do you think we can make it work in an elevator in the Chateau Marmont?!?!””

    that made coke come out my nose.

  8. David Poland says:

    He hasn’t made a really good film in 20 years, Sean… so “no.”

  9. yancyskancy says:

    I’m glad to hear the skinny Steve f/x impressed you. I thought they looked fine in the trailer, but some here thought they were crap. I suppose some tweaking may have been done in the interim, but whatevs. I’m really looking forward to this.

  10. SideshowBill says:

    So that thing that I also saw a crappy bootleg of, and which still gave me a nerd boner despite being a crappy bootleg, is going to be stuck on THE END OF THE END CREDITS???

    Am I the only one who finds the whole after-the-credits thing kind of assholish anyway? It’s cute here and there, and I respect filmmaking enough to often enjoy the credits and score. But I haven’t stuck around for any of these post credit things in the Marvel films just because it seems, I don’t know…kinda dickish. Maybe I’m just too sensitive. Life is short. Got things to do that rule out sitting through 10 minutes of credits to see something that maybe should have just been in the movie or, in this case, before the movie.

  11. SamLowry says:

    Someone will surely post it on Youtube on premiere night. Someone posted the Easter egg for Pirates 4 from a Scandinavian showing and it was hilarious to hear someone mutter with a very thick accent “Evil bitch”.

  12. palmtree says:

    They could take a cue from Fast Five and deliver the easter egg in the middle of the end credits…not at the end of them.

  13. Drew McWeeny says:

    There definitely is something attached to the end of the film, after the credits, and it’s been confirmed by Paramount that they intentionally left it off of all press screenings so no one would write the details of it.

    Then they showed the film on a special military base screening, and three people ended up posting the ending to YouTube.


  14. Tofu says:

    I’ve been wondering since Monday where that screening was at, Drew. That audience was so amped I thought Comic-Con had started a week earlier!

  15. anghus says:

    The whole ‘after credits’ thing is kind of tired, but isnt this the last one? Next is the Avengers.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Avengers film started with a credit roll for 8 minutes, then the movie started?

  16. Tofu says:

    Have to admit, the fact that I just read an industry professional tell me to skip the credits of a movie made me grimace. GRIMACE HARD.

  17. JS Partisan says:

    David and Scott: who goes to a Marvel movies expecting them to not be connected to the other? Seriously? This is a movie universe. You and Scott or anyone else getting pissy about it. Totally fucking ignores why it’s so fucking tremendous.

  18. NickF says:

    It’s a bad movie, but what they did at the end of The Incredible Hulk made things even worse. That’s the time you put your tie-in bullshit after the credits, instead they screwed up royally on that one.

  19. David Poland says:

    Sorry, Tofu… collateral damage there… I still love sitting through credits… people should. And according to Drew – and a terrible cameraphone version of the teaser – they will find something there after all.

    JSP – seriously… I have no issue with them connecting things… but don’t fuck up one movie to promote the next. That’s just fucking stupid. Note also… loved Stark’s dad being in it… fine with all the references… just not hijacking the ending of a period action romance to sell another movie… could have done exactly the same thing, letting the movie they were making play out, and then sending him off on a mission with the result they have here.

  20. JS Partisan says:

    Nick and David, you have your points, but these are comic book movies. That’s how you end things in a comic after an arc with a teaser of what’s to come. They don’t always work in comics either but that’s the rub: THEY ARE COMIC BOOK MOVIES. Being upset about the connective tissue is sort of confusing because it’s not going away, and it’s only going to get more expansive whenever they get Spidey and Wolvie back.

  21. Tofu says:

    Anyways, thanks for the heads up on the 3D opting out, David. It seems like for every good conversion we get these days, a bothersome one pops up to match it. The surplus charge is a total 50/50 gamble at this point.

  22. SamLowry says:

    If Wolverine never comes back, I’d be happy.

    I was disgusted to discover that Marvel considered him such a touchstone character that he was retconned into the Howling Commandos and into the spytastic adventures of Peter Parker’s parents.

    It was bad enough when Eisner decreed that every ride in a Disney park had to be associated with a Disney character, but what if he said every Disney movie had to include Mickey Mouse in there somewhere?

  23. storymark says:

    I really can’t wait to see this. Ive never even particularly been a fan of the character, but the trailer have hit so many of my geek sweet spots…. Im totally sold.

  24. JS Partisan says:

    Sam, the Enterprise will be built in Iowa, and James Howlett is incredibly important to the Marvel universe. I would almost guarantee you that by 2015, we have an Avengers movie with Wolvie and Spidey in it. It’s going to happen because at some point, Disney is going to want to bring them home, and we all know Disney is like Lola.

  25. Geoff says:

    “Nick and David, you have your points, but these are comic book movies. That’s how you end things in a comic after an arc with a teaser of what’s to come. They don’t always work in comics either but that’s the rub: THEY ARE COMIC BOOK MOVIES. Being upset about the connective tissue is sort of confusing because it’s not going away, and it’s only going to get more expansive whenever they get Spidey and Wolvie back.”

    JS, you have a good point above regarding comic book movies. But you said something about Nolan on another blog and how “special” he is and I completely agree…..there is a way to do that type of thing within a comic book story yet make it organic to the story.

    Nolan is the modern master, honestly. Watch that last scene of Batman Begins, fucking awesome! THAT’S how you do it – completely in line with the story and where it’s going. Nice subtle introduction of the Joker coming into play and it being all about “escalation.” Connective tissue to another story and famous character, but not jarring in the least.

    Compare that to the ridiculously clunky ending of The Incredible Hulk, which is not a bad movie at all. But you basically brush aside Norton’s Banner character and just have Tony Stark walk into a bar to chat a bit with the General???? All just to mention the Sheild project and THAT’s how the movie closes…..sorry, that’s just bullshit and pretty much a 60 second fuck you to the audience who just dug watching the Hulk’s story. Now if Captain America has about 10 minutes of that crap, that’s just ridiculous.

    I think we all get that these are comic book stories, but we are still talking about movies with cohesive narratives first and foremost – there’s a way to pull this off and no one did it better than Nolan. Hell, now we can all just watch that throwaway line from Morgan Freeman about how the gear “can protect you from cats” and have a nice little wink coming into TDKR. All you need, not a freaking 10 minute add-on to the story……

  26. StG says:

    You people are are blind. Hawkeye was in Thor. How did you miss him? How did you not see him hesitate when selecting a bow over a rifle for a weapon? He had several line of dialogue too.

    You aren’t movie buffs or Marvel fans. You are just blindly staggering through life thinking you have something to offer. STFU

  27. David Poland says:

    StG… not sure why you think no one noticed that they added 3 minutes to Thor just to introduce Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, hamfistedly.

    But he was just a tag on. In Cap, the priority of Avengers changes the tone of the end of the movie dramatically.

  28. JS Partisan says:

    Wow StG, I am not even that hardcore. I will applaud you anyway because that level of hardcore is just ridiculous. You also can’t blame these normals for not knowing the name of Clint Barton. Not everyone can be up on the haps.

    Geoff, Hulk doesn’t end that way. You know how Hulk ends? It ends with Bruce learning to control the HULK. That’s how it ends. If you don’t like that scene with Tony and Thunderbolt that’s your problem because it kicks ass in so many ways. It’s just tremendous to have those two characters talking and that’s what I think you normals are missing.

    We — as in people who get excited by this stuff and don’t treat the Marvel Universe films as individual entries — get all sorts of excited when we see these characters interact with one another. Steve is the First Avenger and disconnecting him from his future stories with THE AVENGERS, would just be stupid. I don’t care if you think it doesn’t fit with the movie or not. He’s an Avenger, there’s an Avengers movie coming out next Summer, and that’s important to set up in the context of a movie about the man who is the glue of that team.

    This connective tissues in the Marvel films is why, even with Nolan’s films, Marvel is better as a whole. You have to make a film universe for these characters even if it pisses you people off. Until DC figures that out, they are going to be sorely lacking in what makes the Marvel films just more interesting COMIC BOOK MOVIES.

    ETA: Oh yeah, if Haley Atwell does not put on a blonde wig and playa Sharon Carter. Someone at Marvel needs a punch to family production planet.

  29. SamLowry says:

    JSP, I’d never even seen the words “James Howlett” until yesterday, when I was looking up Wolverine’s first appearance. All this ridiculous backfill and relationship-making (Sabretooth?) is what drove me away from Marvel.

  30. Geoff says:

    Sorry, JS, but how a movie ENDS is important – yes, the story of Hulk ended with him controlling his power, but the MOVIE had to tack on that extra scene with Hurt and Downey. Not even saying it was a particularly bad scene, who doesn’t like seeing those actors together? (Though I have to admit that I liked Sam Elliott better in the other Hulk movie.)

    But it has NOTHING to do with the story of Hulk and it’s basically just an inside joke for the rest of the audience – why not just put it in the middle or the end of the credits??? They did that with the first Iron Man, which came out just about a month prior….

    I remember I saw that with my wife at the time and her and most in the audience were shrugging and like, “Huh, why is Iron Man in this????” Not the most satisfying way to end a movie.

    Batman Begins set the standard – Joker’s an iconic character and it was done gently, still in the context of the plot – the audience was JUICED at the end of that movie! And Nolan said in retrospect he wasn’t even planning on a sequel….not sure I’m buying it, but hey, THAT’S the way to do this. JS, can you really dispute that?

    This isn’t about DC vs. Marvel – it’s about cohesive filmmmaking vs. building a brand…..big reason why Iron Man II felt so damn clunky.

    I will say this about Thor – Branaugh and his writers used the Shield stuff nicely, because it was probably the best way to ground Thor’s story to an earthbound setting. I mean, you have this otherwordly being crashing onto Earth; of course, you’re going to have some government agency checking in on it – why not SHIELD, then?

  31. Mike says:

    To give credit where credit is due, Nolan lifted the end of Batman Begins straight from the end of Frank Miller’s Batman Year One. And there was no Miller sequel to that book, so Nolan may have been honest about not using that to plan a sequel.

  32. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Mike, but doesn’t it go without saying that Nolan lifted most story beats and characters from Batman comics?

  33. Mike says:

    Well, yeah, but he does get credit for lifting all the right ones. (Well, we’ll see about Bane.)

    I just thought it was worth agreeing that the Batman-Joker connective tissue was never really designed as connective tissue until Nolan started thinking about doing a sequel, whereas all the Marvel connective tissue is designed only for that.

  34. Geoff says:

    Good point, Mike. No doubt, he has been selective about what source material to lift.

    That’s definitely difference between filmmakers trying to make the best possible movie vs. trying to insert stuff to set up sequels.

  35. hcat says:

    All that connective tissue is what always bugged me about reading Marvel comics, that every year or so something would pop up that had nothing to do with the comic I was reading but they needed for crossover purposes like the David Hasselhoff Beyonder, or those Rom Spaceknight mucus creatures.

  36. SamLowry says:

    …or switching adversaries, or the Mutant Massacre, or “Justice Is Served!”…

    But really, making all the characters related? If Holmes & Moriarty were Marvel characters you know damn well that some idiot would reveal them as either brothers or father & son.

  37. Not David Bordwell says:

    Is anyone else kind of stoked that Jared Harris is Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes sequel? Like, maybe the only reason to see it?

    Jared Harris is my new favorite HITG.

  38. hcat says:

    Actually I loved the story of the Mutant Massacre, just what the hell was Thor and Power Pack doing there?

    The funny thing is that with these properties being spread out among different studios there was a chance to compartilize a bit. Keep the mutants seperate from the Spider-man type industrial accidents from the magical powered, from the Sheild Agents, from the aliens.

    I have no wish to see a JLA movie with Batman in it. But if after the Nolan cycle, they decide to redirect and include Robin and Huntress and other similiarly outfitted heros and create a series based on that connective thread I would be all for it. Just as Daredevil or a non-splatterhouse Punisher would be interesting to see in a Spiderman film down the line, but having mythical gods and super soldiers battling aliens tips the nonsense scale.

  39. hcat says:

    Love Jared Harris as well, putting him and Eddie Marsden in a film together is HITG heaven.

    And while I normally dislike this whole don’t put a number in the sequel name trend, the new Holmes title is particularly lame. Isn’t it much more fitting to have it be Sherlock Holmes and the Game of Shadows?

  40. JS Partisan says:

    Geoff, that scene is tremendous. Why does it bother you so much? Tony brings up Thunderbolt’s HULK PROBLEM. It plays into what just happened and that Tony has a team that can take him down. What’s so complicated about that Geoff?

    Again, the DC movies are not a UNIVERSE and it’s like you guys can’t wrap your minds around that the Marvel moves are. This is a cinematic universe. They have to connect.

    Oh yeah, if Batman is not in a JLA movie, there’s no point. He’s a core Justice League member. Period.

    The fact that you have a hard time with comic elements being put on screen HC, is why you are who you are :D. Especially given that we are going to get a god and a super solider battling Skrulls next year!

    Seriously though guys, I love Jared Harris, but this is all about Noomi Rapace. Seriously.

  41. Not David Bordwell says:

    So, does this mean that Dominic Cooper will also star in a Mad Men prequel?

    Dominic Cooper IS Roger Sterling in… The Sands of Iwo Jima!!!

  42. hcat says:

    Did they confirm that the Skrulls are the villian in the Avengers? For some reason I thought it was Loki. But yes I mentioned aliens because I thought the Skrulls or Kang were going to show up eventually.

    And I have no problem with Comic Book elements. Even if they did not cross over they would have Comic Book elements. I just like to have a clearly defined Universe where these things are happening. Otherwise its a bit of a scramble. And I will absolutly check out when Stark goes clubbing with the cigar-munching duck.

  43. storymark says:

    I don’t have a problem with the Stark scene in Incredible Hulk…. but tremendous? Even Downey has made fun of it.

  44. JS Partisan says:

    SM, oh come on! Who doesn’t find a drunk Thunderbolt TREMENDOUS? I do so raspberry in your face there SM.

    HC, if comic version Howard the Duck shows up, that’s a problem. If Rocket Raccoon shows up. Everyone better stand up and applaud because Rocket Raccoon is fucking awesome! While they haven’t confirmed the Skrulls. It makes sense unless they go with THANOS. Also bad ass THANOS!

  45. I’m a little stoked about Jared Harris as Moriarty. It’s just a question of whether they cast a character actor because it was good for the movie (In which case yay for not just finding the biggest star who said yes) or merely because Downey Jr and Law didn’t want to be upstaged. We won’t know till we know, but the idea that Ritchie cast someone who would more-or-less disappear into Moriarty is pretty cool. But of course it robs the marketing team of Moriarty-based campaign, which explains the terrible trailer.

  46. Geoff says:

    Ok, JS – I’m not losing sleep over this, the scene itself is nothing terrible. But….the placement of it at the very end is ridiculous, completely ridiculous. So what, it’s teasing a movie that will MAYBE come out in four freaking years????

    Story comes first, remember? Everything else is secondary, including the freaking universe…..

    Reminds of that great line in Casino Royale, setting up Bond to give his signature line: “How do you like your martini, sir?” “Do I look like I give a damn!?”

    I mean, this stuff is reminding me of the Star Wars prequels – you HAD to have some shout-out to Chewbacca and the wookies whether it added anything to story at all. You HAD to incorporate Boba Fett even if the way it was done actually made him seem completely boring.

    Hey, I’m looking forward to Avengers, I’ll be there opening weekend – sure, it will be a kick to see Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor together…but how many movies in the leadup to that have to be weakened? Seriously, JS – if these characters are interesting enough, shouldn’t they stand on their own?

    And sorry, I’ll say it again…..Incredible Hulk was a solid entertaintment, but strangely, I found Sam Elliott to be a better Thunderbolt than William Hurt. Ed Norton was an upgrade over Eric Bana and Tim Roth was DEFINITELY an upgrade over Josh Lucas. Liv Tyler vs. Jennifer Connelly…..hmmm, that’s tough. Connelly is a much better actress, but Tyler seemed to fit her role better.

  47. hcat says:

    Since they have split up the hero rights over three studios, wouldn’t that mean they would also have split the villian rights? Dr. Doom won’t show up in a Spidey film, Hulk will never battle the Thing. Wouldn’t Fox own the Skrulls as a FF villian? I am sure there is a very confusing spreadsheet somewhere letting each Sony and Fox know exactly who they get to use and who they don’t.

    As for IO’s thoughts of the rights eventually slipping back in the next few years. Wouldn’t that actually be a problem for Disney, since now they would have to come up with 3-5 large scale comic book movies a year on top of their already expensive animation and live action slate? Isn’t having two other studios on board to feed your brand (not sure what the merchandising cuts to the studios are) a helpful distribution of costs and risk?

  48. Al says:

    I thought the rights reverted only if Sony and Fox stopped making the films? Disney can’t just take them back when it wants to can it?

  49. hoopersx says:

    Ed, you beat me to the punch. I’m pretty sure you are right. They have a window of a couple or so years between the release of one film and beginning of production of the next. If they meet that deadline, they retain the rights and Disney can’t get them back.

  50. hoopersx says:

    Opps, I meant Al.

  51. JS Partisan says:

    Hcat, you make a very good point, but Marvel wants those characters back. They have wanted them back for a while and now they have Disney’s fat wallet, which gives them the ability to get back Wolvie and Spidey. Again, those two characters are Avengers now. You put Wolvie and Spidey in an Avengers movie in the next few years… MONEY… MONEY… MONEY!

    Again, at some point, Disney will just bring everyone back because it just makes the most sense to the bottom line. You don’t want other studios having CONTROL over those characters. I am not stating this will happen over night but it’s going to happen because this is Disney, and they can afford to make it happen.

  52. Foamy Squirrel says:

    It doesn’t make the most sense to the bottom line. They have, what, 10 characters out there on the go currently? They only have $X million in capital, and to finance all those films PLUS the B-roster which they’ve been trying to develop for the last few years will require $X+Y million in capital.

    In other words, they have more IP than they have resources to sustain said IP.

    The solution, as Google, Microsoft and Apple will all attest, is to license your shit out and let other people pay you for the stuff you don’t have the manpower or funding to do yourself. You think Apple wants to sit down and develop 35,000 iPhone apps so it can collect every single dollar? Fuck no. Let other people do it. Then you sit back and let the sweet, sweet cash roll in.

    Which, coincidentally, is EXACTLY the strategy Marvel used in the 90s to come back from being a month away from bankruptcy.

  53. Mike says:

    I don’t know that Disney wants to make all the Avengers movies, X-Men movies, Spider-Man, etc., but all that IP goes well for expanding other avenues like TV, books, online content, etc.

  54. Martin S says:

    Foamy is right. The only thing I disagree with is Marvel’s bounce from bankruptcy. They didn’t license anything to Toy Biz, because they were owned by them. It was legal laundering.

    As for the Grand Marvel Unifying Theory…

    Hulk rights were controlled by Universal since the 70’s TV show. Hurd worked on a film for a decade and it bottomed out, twice. Uni decided to let the rights go because its value had been halved. Now straddled with a damaged property, Disney is trying to send it back to TV. If that doesn’t pan out, Hulk gets folded into the Avengers, when for the previous forty years before they bought it, he was the second-most valuable property Marvel owned. So a Spidey/Wolverine Avengers would mean Sony/Fox had strip-mined the characters to the point where Disney was trying to resuscitate the value of all three. That project would most likely be the last Marvel film, ever, as it would signal the IP had imploded.

  55. SamLowry says:

    Wolverine and Spider-Man in the Avengers? Heh, I think even the fanbois would rebel against that.

    And if Marvel really wants to be serious about this whole Avengers thing, will a Vision & Scarlet Witch movie be coming out before 2012? Or is it just a popularity contest?

  56. Not David Bordwell says:

    Man, Spidey as an Avenger would just be pathetic. I know he’s in the New Avengers or whatever, but a lot of what I remember about the titles I collected as a kid is how often he tried and failed to be accepted into the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and even the X-Men (not a born mutant, Peter, sorry!).

  57. SamLowry says:

    …and even then he wanted to join only because he thought those teams paid salaries.

    The sheer number of stories predicated on his poverty grew thoroughly annoying. Imagine if a comic about a female hero started its run while she was having a period and every subsequent issue came out exactly one month later, so all we’d ever hear about is her friggin’ period.

    Sounds like fun, right?

  58. Al says:

    So anyways the point is moot as fox/sony will just keep making these films in perpetuity until (if ever) they become too damaged, in which case Disney will get them back.

    Either way IO it’s highly unlikely that they’ll fold back into Marvel in the foresseable future no?

  59. JS Partisan says:

    Al, I think Disney will pay for them or trade for them. If they can trade Al Michaels. They can trade Spidey and Wolvie. That aside, what fucking movies did David see? My movie didn’t end with the Avengers ruining the movie, so what version of this movie did David see?

  60. Brainy Pirate says:

    Hmm, I don’t follow Marvel too closely, but I’m pretty sure Spidey and Wolverine have both been Avengers (off and on) for several years now. And Batman wasn’t originally a major player in the JLA for several years–apparently the editors didn’t want him and Supes being over-exposed, so for the first few years they were mostly replaced by Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter.

    I like Poland’s point that we should have had the payoff with the girl and a sequel with the Japs, etc. They could have had three WW2 movies and still had him in the present-day Avengers films. No reason to cut short his military career for the sake of next year’s film.

    Watching this film also helped me understand the complaints behind Green Lantern. The pacing was really good in terms of the progression of his exploits, and the villain was the right size for a first-time out adventure. By comparison, it’s obvious how the GL storyline flowed poorly (Earth, Oa, Earth, Oa, repeat…) and escalated too quickly for the first film. Hal should have stayed more on Earth, fought Hammond (w/o Parallax taking over at the end) as the main villain and had the ending open up the cosmic scope of the Parallax problem.

  61. JS Partisan says:

    Captain American never fought in the Pacific theater. He fought against the Nazis and then they froze him kinda sorta. You also have to understand that Cap and Tony interacting is going to be better than another war movie! Pinkie swears it!

  62. The Big Perm says:

    Spiderman wanted to join the avengers because he thought they paid? Ha ha, what a whore.

    Hey, how WOULD you do a 1099 for Thor anyway?

  63. The Big Perm says:

    Oh, and IO…you see, in these things called movies, they don’t have to do the exact same stories as the funnybooks. So, Cap COULD fight in the Pacific Theater if they wanted him too. That would be awesome, he could fight ninjas.

    And maybe Captain (refer to him by his FULL name, you) and Tony would be better than another war movie, that doesn’t discount what Brainy said. They could still do both. But I’m sure the next movie will be modern day. And I’d actually make that same decision if I were a money grubbing studio.

  64. Brainy Pirate says:

    By the way, did anyone else think that the American soldiers were jerks in the first half of the movie? I almost wanted Rogers to decide the Army wasn’t worthy of him….

  65. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah like I care what some bitchy film editor on B-movies thinks, and you don’t get that the whole reasons these movies exist are these funny books. Seriously, go back to 1981. You’d like it better back then, when your thoughts about the world weren’t as antiquated as they are now!

  66. SamLowry says:

    Toys R Us is the whole reason these movies exist.

  67. JS Partisan says:


  68. cadavra says:

    Help out an old dude: What does HITG stand for?

  69. SamLowry says:

    Silly boy, you’re supposed to hit the Gräfenberg spot.

    Girls will love you for it.

  70. The Big Perm says:

    These movies exist because of the comic books like they made Scream 4 because of how much everyone loved the original Halloween.

    In that, yes you can trace the lineage, but that time has passed, my friend. No one gives two fucks about comics readers, if they did there’d be a squid in Watchmen.

  71. Not David Bordwell says:

    Cadavra: “Hey, It’s That Guy!”

  72. Anghus says:

    There was a lot to like about Captain America. Evans feels like the kind of presence people were hoping Ryan Reynolds could be. Great old school spectacle. I was actually saddened by the ending.

    Seeing it at comic con made for a great fan experience.


    The times square ending felt so brief and crammed. Kinda felt the same way about the cap ending as I did on HP7. It would have been great to see steve have more than thirty seconds to deal with his situation.

    I already know a million people will cry THEYLL DEAL WITH THAT IN AVENGERS……. but I think another five minutes would have helped a lot.

    Bucky falling Wile E Coyote style to his death was kind of weak.
    Tommy Lee Jones was sleepwalking.

    Minor quips. Very enjoyable movie

  73. LexG says:

    Chris Evans has been in like four movies a year for a decade. Why is he such a “revelation” to critics (and Anghus, apparently) in this? Ken Turan practically blew a load over the guy today… Where was he when Cellular dropped?

    Or is “I’ve NEVER SEEN A CHRIS EVANS MOVIE!” next in line after “I DON’T KNOW WHO RYAN REYNOLDS IS!” on the Average Guy Scale?

  74. anghus says:

    Ive seen a lot of films with evans in it but he hasnt really had a particular role which gave him a chance to be an iconic leading man. Much like Reynolds hrs ben in a bunch of forgetable films.

    Sometimes an actor can br around for years before finding the right role to make people go “ohhhhhhh, I get,it now”

    Seems like this was the film for Evans

  75. Geoff says:

    Dude has been in a LOT of movies, though – keep forgetting he was also in the Danny Boyle sci fi thriller, Sunshine – STILL have not seen all of that movie, but it looked damn interesting.

    But interesting questions: has ANY other actor starred or co-starred in as many comic-based movies as he has???? Seriously, you have two Fantastic Fours, The Losers, Push, Scott Pilgrim, and now Captain America. That’s six movies in the past six years.

    Does any one else even come close?

  76. JKill says:

    Evans is fantastic in SUNSHINE, which is the most underrated movie of the great run Danny Boyle is currently on.

  77. Monco says:

    Sunshine sucked ass. What a horrible movie.

  78. JS Partisan says:

    I’m with you Monco. That movie is atrocious. If you want an under appreciated Boyle movie. That movie is titled A Life Less Ordinary.

  79. SamLowry says:

    Well, Evans PLAYED an iconic leading man in Scott Pilgrim.

    (slinks back into shadows before beer bottles fly)

  80. JKill says:

    With the exception of the last ten minutes or so, where the movie takes an unfortunate left turn, SUNSHINE is pretty brilliant. It’s visually stunning, suspensful, thought-provking, has strong performances and an amazing score.

    What do you not like about it?

  81. Anghus says:

    Name an Evans movie that grossed more than 100 million?

    Take out two Fantastic Four movies that no one really cared for.

    Youre left with zero I belueve.

    So why is it so difficult to see this as Evans coming out party?

    Doesnt matter if you appear in forty movies. If no one sees them and they dont acheive mainstream success does it matter?

    Cellular, Scott Pilgrim, Push, Losers, Nanny Diaries, Sunshine…..

    This is the one that could take him to another level. Or not. But hes been mired in mediocrity for 6 years. Hes finally in a big studio film hat people seem to enjoy. Hence the gushing.

  82. Martin S says:

    Lex – Evan skepticism was about people knowing him mainly for playing the dude you want to be, so translating that to Cap didn’t square. It’s why the consensus was Reynolds was a great pick for a 90’s Flash and Bradley Cooper was a good fit for GL. Once Cooper got cold feet and WB didn’t trust Goyer behind the lens, they shuffled Reynolds into GL and it never seemed right.

    …and Jason, Arad shot down your Spidey/Avengers fantasy at the Amazing panel.

  83. Madam Pince says:

    Goyer was going to direct Green Lantern? Really? I wonder what that would have looked like. Maybe a lot more space/alien attention.

    Most of these origin flicks feel alike to me. People kept saying “Star Wars” when talking about the Lantern trailers, but all I saw was “Incredible Hulk”. Same with Thor. Same with script rumors from “Man of Steel” with General Lane = General Ross. Even “I am number four” trailers had a whiff of IH. Then I started to wonder, “Why are all these films ripping off Incredible Hulk? Was it really such a ground breaking film?” I mean I liked it, but it wasn’t some definitive movie or anything. It wasn’t “Die Hard” where you understood all action films following it, ripping it off. Then I realized that it wasn’t really about Incredible Hulk. It was some “origin formula” that all the films felt they had to regurgitate. All these new filmmakers should learn to take a page out of Tim Burton’s book. He kick-started a mega-franchise, without bothering to belabor origin plot points. I haven’t seen Captain America yet, but the trailers and reviews give me hope. Because, for once, a superhero movie doesn’t seem to be re-doing the Incredible Hulk again.

  84. Don R. Lewis says:

    I think DP is spot-on in his review. What irks me about the CAP movie turning into a commercial for the AVENGERS movie is, everyone seeing CAP already KNOWS about the AVENGERS movie. Why do we need to be beat over the head more with it??

    In my mind- everyone seeing THOR or CAP is already going to see THE AVENGERS. Why not make THOR into a sword/fantasy epic and try to draw in that crowd? Then make CAP a classic Hollywood action flick (as it is the first 3/4’s) and draw in an older audience? It just seems lame to have all these films feeding into the tent-pole film of next summer.

  85. JS Partisan says:

    S bag, like anyone gives a shit what Arad has to say. If Kevin states as much, then I will give it some credence. Again, that Spidey movie could get HELLBOY 2ed next year and if that happens. Get ready to be proven wrong again.

    Now, Don, this is a movie universe. What that seems so hard for people like you to accept remains confusing but to a lot of people, it’s awesome. Cap also didn’t turn into a movie for the Avengers. What David saw didn’t play that way for me or anyone else who saw the movie this weekend. Why you folks have yet to rake him over the coals for it is beyond me.

  86. JKill says:


    I think The Avengers stuff in THOR and IRON MAN 2 were without question the weakest stuff in the movies, although I really like both. But for CAPTAIN AMERICA it’s almost missing entirely, with the exception of the ending, not the last quarter or twenty minutes as some are alleging. If you include both book-ends, it’s probably about five minutes of screentime in its entirety. I would’ve prefered the movie to end on the beat of the kids playing with the shield in the street because I thought was was moving and fitting, but the ending they went with was actually pretty wistful, sad and bittersweet, and hardly a commercial for next summer’s movie. Unless you’re referencing the after the credits surprise, which is literally a commercial for next summer’s movie, but I don’t get how anyone would have a problem with that. I do hope this is not the end of the Peggy/Rogers romance, however, because that stuff was the highlight for me and it seems pretty wasteful to give up on that so soon.


  87. Don R. Lewis says:

    Good points, JKill. But with so many characters in THE AVENGERS, do you really see them tying up or giving catharsis to the Peggy/Rogers romance? As such, (and getting to IO’s point a little) I kinda felt like CAP lost a little because it’s basically an origin story that serves to show why Cap is in the AVENGERS. I haven’t seen THOR so I can’t speak specifically to that, but I get the feeling it’s the same sort of thing. These are iconic characters who have rich stories on their own. I don’t see why the AVENGERS has to be so soon. Why not let these characters develop in their own franchises for a while?

    I’d just feel better about these movies if they were stand alones rather than a lead-up to THE AVENGERS. I also should admit, I’m not super psyched for an AVENGERS movie. I’m kinda excited, but there’s no stakes involved with that team/franchise. The X-MEN has several tragic story-lines and there’s a constant struggle within the characters between using their powers for good or evil. THE AVENGERS are just kinda fun, comic booky characters. We shall see I guess.

  88. JKill says:

    Yeah Don, I feel the odds are that it will not factor into THE AVENGERS, although it could very well factor into CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, if it’s hopefully made. I’m really looking forward to THE AVENGERS, hope it’s super cool and good, but I’m almost more looking forward to the post-Avengers Marvel movies where they won’t feel so responsible for connecting everyone and everything together. For instance, I hope Shane Black’s IRON MAN 3 really comes out swinging. This connecting they’ve done, though, does put real pressure on THE AVENGERS to be great because they have to stick the landing after all of the ground work they have laid so far. (I will add that while I love Ruffalo and I’m sure he’ll be a great Hulk, it would’ve been great and fufilled the continuity promise better if it would’ve been Norton in that teaser at the end instead.)

  89. Geoff says:


    Ok, I saw Captain America tonight and I am COMPLETELY in agreement with you, Dave – was really digging the movie, but that ending is a fucking cheat!

    Every one wants to see him end up with her and take that dance and fight again….and it just puts more pressure on an Avengers movie. Hydra is bigger than the Nazi and on their way towards destroying the world….we’re talking about World War fucking II on a bigger scale, how could the stakes possibly be higher in The Avengers?

    And yeah JS, that ending cheats the character – so now we’re going to see a brooding, wistful Steve Rogers in Captain America???? What fun is that?

    Seriously, I know that I was not the only one in the audience who felt this – his character basically gets fucked over for 70 years???? He’s becoming a man, building a comradery with his men, falling in love…..and then boom, Times Square and Samuel L. Jackson in an eyepatch!

    These movies were cast well – how could you not dig seeing these guys romancing Natalie Portman and Haley Atwell? And now, The Avengers…..better be fucking good.

  90. Krillian says:

    I must say I’d rather see a Captain America 2, set int he 1940’s, than Thor 2, Hulk 2, or Iron Man 3.

  91. anghus says:

    i saw Captain America again. I was conflicted with the ending the first time i saw it. The second time, i had less problems with it.

    In the grand scheme of things we want to see Captain America save the day and get the girl. In the opening of the film Steve talks about all those boys giving their lives… when they throw the grenade he jumps on top of it. He’s always going to be the guy who makes the hard choice and does what has to be done even if it means sacrificing his own dreams and desires. Doing what’s right is not always easy.

    The second time around i kind of appreciated the ending. Here’s this poor schlub who’s been beaten down by life but keeps fighting. Then he becomes this great hero and loses his best friend and then the woman he loves because of the sacrifices he has to make in order to save the world.

    It’s true to the original character. It captures a lot of what makes the character so great in the comic book.

    Could they have done it better….. sure. There had to be a more eloquent way to get the character from then to now.

    Do you show a scene with Agent Carter at the Stork Club staring at an empty chair while everyone celebrates the end of the war around her?

    One issue i did have with the ending was the placement of his “staged” cell. Are you telling me Shield is going to put a guy in the middle of Times Square? That was oddly convenient. Maybe if it had been in Brooklyn where the original project was housed… or maybe any place other than the most trafficked place on the face of the Earth to house your secret ops base.

    It’s a melancholy ending, but i can still justify it.

  92. kladionice says:

    I don?t even know how I stopped up here, but I assumed this post was good. I don’t realize who you might be but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger when you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

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