“Captain America: The First Avenger” has arrived and conquered the box office. All we’ve got left to look forward to in the Marvel Comics movie universe now is next May’s “The Avengers.” A hefty take at the box office doesn’t always equal cinematic success. How do reviewers and moviegoers feel about the patriotic superhero’s big screen debut?
I felt “Captain America: The First Avenger” was the most entertaining of all the Marvel films released. It successfully mixed the cliffhanger adventure spirit of the “Indiana Jones” movies with the gaping-mouth spectacle of seeing your favorite superhero do things you’ve only seen in comic books up to now. It was an excellent period piece that hearkened back to an earlier time in history when right and wrong were clearly evident. The CGI was a bit sketchy in parts, but the performances and action more than made up for that.
Top critics loved “Captain America.” Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Moore said, “Johnston has delivered a light, clever and deftly balanced adventure picture with real lump in the throat nostalgia.” Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote, “The picture is nothing — you haven’t seen before, but it’s the definition of a square, competent, deliver-the-goods blockbuster.” Philadelphia Enquirer’s Carrie Rickey noted, “Johnston’s movie has a been-there, seen-that familiarity. Yet Evans’ clean-cut idealism and objectives make old-fashioned patriotism look fresh.”
Some critics weren’t very patriotic when it came to “The First Avenger.” Tom Horgen from Minneapolis Star Tribune commented, “Here’s what’s missing: tension, drama, and most of all, a sense of wonder. This is a superhero movie, isn’t it?” Eclipse Magazine labeled it the “Worst Superhero movie of the summer. Movie spends too much time showing a contempt for the character and is hampered by a script that gives too much away in the wrong places.” Karina Longworth of Village Voice declared, “[A] hokey, hacky, two-hour-plus exercise in franchise transition/price gouging, complete with utterly unnecessary post-converted 3D.”
The majority of movie audiences cheered for “Captain America.” Edward G. stated, “Captain America works — this really is such a strong and memorable experience.” James K. wrote, “This was a great flag waving super hero movie — an all-star WWII slug fest.” Mercy C. said, “I went in expecting to give it one star, I left giving it 5.”
Meanwhile, some audience members didn’t understand all the hype. Dov. S. declared, “Started out with promise but then … Snoozers.” Rohan K. wrote, “My favorite part was when the end credits began. This was probably the most overrated film of the summer. The acting was terrible, the plot was thin, and the writing was laugh-out-loud corny.” Stephonie I. felt “the film was over the top, and never found a common ground with me. Nothing felt fresh and I thought he [director Joe Johnston] was going through the motions on the film.”
Family entertainment website Movieguide.org reported, “‘Captain America’ is super exciting. It also takes time to develop its characters. This tactic pays off big time later when the action goes into hyper drive. It also gives the ending a lot of heart. There are some scary moments and foul language, however. That said, it delivers an inspiring patriotic punch. Steve Rogers is a hero for everyone — to cheer for.”
“Captain America: The First Avenger” was directed by Joe Johnston. It stars Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving,Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, and Stanley Tucci. The movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action. It was released through Paramount Pictures on July 22, 2011.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Interview with ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ Comic Prequel Writer Fred Van Lente
Essential ‘Captain America’ Books to Get You Acquainted with the Hero
Marvel Releases ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ Prequel Graphic Novel
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