Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain America: The Frist Avenger Review

Last night I went to see Captain America: The First Avenger and I have to say, I think it is my favorite super-hero movie of the summer.  I thought Thor was okay and way over hyped, I liked Green Lantern more than most people seemed to, and I didn't see X-Men: First Class because I have had no association with the X-Men since a few years ago I was having the comics pulled and, despite Marve's continued promise that there would be no crossovers, one day I opened up my newest issue to find myself smack dab in the middle of someone else's story with no idea what was going on and no idea when they would get back to the story arch I was reading.  But I digress...

The first thing I want to say about Cap is that one of the reasons the movie works so well is that Steve Rogers is such a likeable guy.  Rogers is a true patriot and more than anything wants to be on the front line fighting the Nazi's, not because he want's to kill them, but because he doesn't like bullies.  The problem is he's small, a 90lb weakling with asthma, so the army won't take him.  But he keeps trying, and eventually finds himself in a special group of soldiers - candidates for the Super Soldier Serum.

It's important that Rogers is such a good guy, because as we learn, the Serum doesn't just amplify your muscles, it amplifies everything about you.  A good man becomes great, a bad man becomes worse.  But Rogers is just the guy for the job, having been a small, bullied man his whole life, he knows the true value of power, and more importantly, he knows compassion.  Also, he's the bravest guy ever, never backing down from anything.  "Once you start running," he says, "they'll never let you stop." 

The character of Steve Rogers is in such contrast to the recent run of hero's - Tony Stark being a billionaire playboy who becomes a hero only after seeing all the damage he has done; Thor a god and heir to the throne, a spoiled brat who loves himself more than anything and has some growing up to do, etc.  Rogers is different, he is a hero from the outset, a man who want's to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  There doesn't need to be another reason for him. 

While Roger's most endearing qualities could run the risk of making him appear naive, the movie does a good job of not letting the character come across that way (well, he can't talk to girls, but that's mostly because before he became Cap they wouldn't talk to him).  Rather, he is a man who knows what needs to be done and is willing to do it, no matter the challenge.  In light of the recent end of the American space program, with Kennedy's speech about America going to the moon and attempting other hard tasks "not because they are easy, but because they are hard," Cap's star shines even brighter. 

I don't want to spoil too much, so I won't get much further into the plot, but I do have a comment on the way the film was shot.  There is a point where Cap is going around fighting bad guys, and the movie jumps around from action sequence to action sequence.  It may seem like an unusual choice at first glance but the reason it works so well is that it is shot in the style of an old WWII propaganda film, the type of films where a voice over would read all about the brave men and women fighting overseas while showing you a collaboration of shots, tanks rolling, planes flying, someone raising the American flag.  The style wouldn't have worked for Spider-Man or Iron Man or Thor, but for Cap's origin, it is the perfect fit.

So that's my take on it.  I love a good redemption story as much as the next guy, but there is something refreshing and even inspiring about Captain America and the innocence with which he sees things.  Superman is called the boyscout, but as far as the movies are concerned, the boyscout hasn't had a strong showing since the 70's. It is great to finally see someone step up and fill the gap.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Umm, Maybe You Shouldn't Have Told the Post...Maybe

Morgan Webb of G4 has a new show called G4 Underground.  I am actually watching an episode right now.  It's abut a real life crime fighter, a guy going by the name Dark Guardian.  He's based in New York, seems to spend a lot of his time patrolling various rough neighborhoods in Manhattan, and mentioned in his interview that he was born and raised in Brooklyn.

The guys got guts.  He just approached a guy in Washington Park, an alleged drug dealer, and told him to take a hike or he was going to call the cops.  The guy left.  But Dark Guardian may have been able to hold his own if it came to blows, he's been studying martial arts for ten years and has a trainer, Mike, who helps him train every day.  Whether he's any good or not I have no idea since I'm convinced with the right editing I could look like Mike Tyson hitting a heavy bag, but I will tell you this, I wouldn't mess with him.

But here's something interesting.  Morgan Webb, who as far as I can tell only introduces the segments, I haven't seen her actually talking to anyone...but Ms. Webb said that Dark Guardian would only give G4 an interview if they promised not to reveal his "secret" identity.  I put secret in quotes because the guy doesn't hide his face at all, his only attempt at a disguise being a pair of very transparent goggles.  But there's more to it.  While the segment was still on I Googled Dark Guardian and found and article from the New York Post about a handful of New York crime fighters, Dark Guardian among them.  In the article, I learned that, as of April 11, 2010, Dark Guardian, aka Chris Pollak, was a 25 year old man currently living in Staten Island.  So really, preserving his "secret" identity was just a dumb something or other done by either him or G4 producers.  Either way, it's stupid.

Guardian isn't alone in the crime fighting business (I don't know about being alone in being dumb enough to tell your name to one major news source only to deny it to another later) and apparently there is a whole movement, which you can learn about at http://www.reallifesuperheroes.com/ and http://www.reallifesuperheroes.org/.  Say what you want about them, at least they're trying.

Yeah, that's him.  He wears a biker jacket.  At least he'll be safe if he trips on the sidewalk...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And Now, A Word From the Captain...

And to show our appreciation...

Remember kids...if it moves, shoot it.  Unless it's the Captain.