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July 31, 2011

Marvel gets it.  Hearken back to the old days when Marvel movies and TV shows (yes, I know I’m the only one who saw them) were hideous partially due to budget but mostly because it viewed the comic book universe as baggage.   Today’s crop of Marvel movies give us the comic book back-history as fun Easter Eggs even if most of the audience doesn’t get it (but I do and that’s all that matters to me), adding a fun element to the movies.

I was looking forward to Captain America because it’s the first comic book movie she wanted to see with me.  The first act of the movie was absolutely wonderful.  Great characters, fun acting, amazing “puny” effects.  Heaven.

Before I get to the next two acts, let me show my bias.  One of the best things about Ed Norton’s Incredible Hulk was the “rediscovery” of the super-soldier serum that was injected into Emil Brodsky (less the Vita-Rays).  I considered his speed/strength/agility effects to be a hint at what we would see in Captain America.

So, Steve Rodgers is now BIG.  He shows us he can jump a chain-link fence like a hurdle.  And that was it in the speed/strength/agility department.   Col. Philips rejects a super-able bodied soldier because he’s one man and promptly ignores him.  Hmmmm, okay.

Then the War Bonds Cap… fun, got a sad version of his original costume, and it kept going on and on.  And on.

Finally, he struts his stuff and I’m thinking, “okay, here we go…”  And then things went a little sideways.  Cap builds the Howling Commandos team without naming any of them or the team.  And he’s no longer fighting WWII but a separate war against Hydra.  Fortunately, he gets a new costume, and I realize the problem with the movie.  This ISN’T a Captain America movie, it’s a lead up to the Avengers movie.   We won’t get to see the cool suit until the Avengers, and Cap’s WWII backstory has to be explained so Avengers doesn’t have to explain it.

This is an exposition movie.  And a severely truncated one at that.  Cap in the comics has a vast career during WWII.  He was a member of several teams, had hundreds of adventures and was the confident super-hero of the Army.  In this movie he was in a slow race to get this part of the story over with, saving the good stuff for the next movie.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed this.  Red Skull was a great villain, even if he spent a lot of money and didn’t have much to show for it.  He built it all (based on Atlantean technology from the looks of it) and Cap destroyed it.   Middling tussle at the end.  Intro to the Avengers movie.  The end.

Great fun, really, but… weird aftertaste.

Why did Cap not appear more than just a great athlete/soldier?  Why did battles seem perfunctory?  When did Cap learn to fight (size is great, but you have to know how to use  it)?  Why was he not shown to be a strategic/tactical genius (okay, maybe a little)?  Why did he not really have confidence in himself?  These things I wanted to happen.

Departing the review and now entering into second-guessing:  Here’s what I would have done

* Cap briefly does the War Bonds thing and sees the strategic advantage of joining the USO, which he uses as a base to run clandestine sorties.

* He attempts to partner with Dum Dum Dugan and is bitterly mocked until he proves himself with strength, cunning and strategy.  BUT, running into Red Skull the first time, he’s soundly beaten.

* Cap doesn’t know how to fight an equal foe.  Dum Dum trains him.  His uniform evolves to a better version, with chain mail and a rough cut of his final version.  Finally, he rescues the 400 men and the Colonel puts the reports he’s been getting together with Cap as the hero.

* Cap and his team are outfitted with new weapons and outfits.  Caps final version of this movie’s costume appears but it’s better looking than this one.

* Time passes (as indicted with a line of dialog and Cap’s new confidence and reputation).

* The final sequences are roughly the same but instead of running away, Red Skull is rushing to fight Cap and vice versa, overcoming all sorts of obstacles that keep them apart.  The rocket (not the ship) that is going to destroy America is both the ticking clock and the raised stakes.  If Cap doesn’t beat the Nazi superman, it’s all over.  The battle is savage and as the rocket blasts off, they both get astride the rocket, fighting all the while.  Red Skull can still grab the cube to get away once Cap disables the rocket, leaving Cap to die in the frozen waters of the Arctic.

* Cap is found in a block of ice deified by a Northern tribe, found either by Stark or Fury.  This cap has the confidence and experience to lead the Avengers.

As it was, the final tearful goodbye to Peggy Carter was too reminiscent of the beginning of Star Trek and his discover like something out of Aliens.

Still, I loved the movie, I just expected more from it.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Emil Brodsky permalink
    November 13, 2011 1:52 pm

    RE: Regarding Character Emil Brodsky
    Strangely enough, my real, full name is Emil Brodsky. Not kidding.
    I’m not seeking any compensation, etc.
    I’m currently living in Welland, Ontario, Canada
    I was featured in the local newspaper, The Tribune, topic “Rocks and a Hard Place”
    You’re more than welcome to contact me,
    Sincerely,
    Emil Brodsky

  2. November 13, 2011 5:28 pm

    You know what? I got the name wrong. The Abomination in the Hulk was Emil BLONSKY, not Brodsky. So fortunately, you’re not named after a supervillian, but you do share a name with a Stephen King character in Dreamcatcher. Go figure.

    I read the article in the Tribune and it saddens me that the Canadian government is as blunt-headed as ours. I wish a photo had been attached so we could see your yard.

    Oh, I’m going to edit your post so your phone number isn’t broadcast on the Internet. Good luck with the lawsuit!

    • john smith permalink
      December 23, 2012 10:09 pm

      Are you the Emil brodsky that got arrested in welland, wow.

      • jake permalink
        October 21, 2015 8:31 pm

        Is the same emil causing trouble in thorold ontario. Your neighbors are watching you.

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