Hello everyone! This week my longtime friend, blackbear, is joining us as a guest for Objection! We’re going to talk about our differing views on the film Captain America: The First Avenger (reviewed by Judge and I back when it came out). Now that the two of us have seen The Avengers, we can look at the film in a new light. So, let’s get to it!
Silverwolf: Hi all, as usual it’s me silverwolf here as your resident comic expert to defend the film which I think is near perfect. With us today we have my good friend blackbear. He’ll offer a different perspective of Captain America. So, blackbear, you saw the film pretty recently but didn’t find it as amazing as I did. What were your overall thoughts?
Blackbear: Thank you for the inviting me to this discussion today, Silverwolf. Overall, I felt that Captain America: The First Avenger was a decent film that manages to provide an adequate origin story for its titular character. However, while the plot’s framework is stable, my main issues with the film lie in the execution of the details, primarily the character development and pacing.
SW: Oh? Tell me more. What were your problems with the character development and pacing?
BB: I understand that Captain America, as a character, is supposed to be a simple and straightforward. He’s a sincere man that endures any hardship for others. My issue is not with the simplicity of the character, as this kind of character has its own kind of charm, but with the way the character’s qualities are demonstrated throughout the movie. One notable scene that comes to mind is Steve Rogers’ initial training in the military. His commanding officer tosses an inactive grenade into the crowd of recruits, prompting him to toss his body onto the grenade, fully preparing to shield his fellow recruits from the anticipated explosion. The action itself came off as a very forced way of showing Rogers’ selflessness. It’s so forced, that it almost comes off as unintentionally comical.
SW: I see how one could think that way, but ultimately I felt that scene was a great transition as it finally put Rogers in a “do or die” situation. Furthermore, I feel he has many chances to demonstrate his positive qualities, such as pursuing the Hydra Agent on foot after first receiving the super soldier serum. The scene is gripping as it’s Cap’s first chance to prove himself and it reveals how now, with a strong body, he can be the hero he always wanted to be.
SW: You mentioned you weren’t fond of the pacing either. What issues did you have with the pacing?
BB: As an origin story, I understand that the film needed to set-up the characters, and then have them be involved in some central conflict. However, there appeared to be an overabundance of action scenes. Action sequences were interspersed with a few lines of dialogue, followed by more actions sequences. This overload made it difficult to appreciate the details of the combat.
SW: Really? I felt there was great balance of the two. The action ended up reinforcing the film’s central ideas: determination, camaraderie, freedom, justice, etc. The dialogue usually conveyed what was necessary, and never dragged on which can often be a problem with these kinds of films.
BB: While the dialogue did convey what was necessary, it was never particularly strong. This made the character interactions seem rigid, and mechanized. Also, since these scenes were not particularly effective, they somewhat failed to serve as a “moment of recovery” before the next action sequence. Of all the action scenes, do you feel that most of them were memorable?
SW: Yes, definitely. Probably the most memorable one is when Captain America rescued Bucky from Hydra and came across the Red Skull for the first time. The two fight, and we’re treated to some of the Red Skull’s backstory and finally get to see his true face. I could just keep listing them one by one, they all stuck in my mind and resonated with me on some level.
BB: Is it safe to say that you did not feel exhausted from keeping up with all the fighting?
SW: Not at all: in fact I relished the action scenes. And you know me: I’m a big one for plot. Flashy films don’t usually appeal to me. I feel that in all the Marvel Movies, but especially this one, the action supported and strengthened the story rather than simply existing to draw crowds. Of course without action the movie would be more boring for the general public, but I still feel it served its purpose.
BB: That’s a fair assessment. One aspect about that film that I was particularly dissatisfied with, was how it seemed to use Captain America as a vehicle for the Avengers. Although Captain America can stand alone as its own movie, the very beginning and ending of the film makes it seem incomplete. It felt that the film did not do Captain America justice, because in a way he was treated a stepping stone for a larger film to come.
SW: Hm…I can understand why you feel that way. It’s true that Marvel was setting up for the Avengers, and yes the movie could’ve been strong without the beginning and the end. Even so, I feel the movie works on its own. Well, it seems there’s a lot to be said about Captain America. I think we’ve both made some great points today. Thanks again for joining us today blackbear; it was a pleasure having you here today.
BB: Thank you, Silverwolf. It was a pleasure being here.
What do you all think, especially now that The Avengers is out: do you like the Captain America film? What about the other Marvel movies? If so, which is your favorite and why?