Cap­tain, we salute you

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH cap­tainameri­camovie. com. au Now show­ing Vil­lage Cin­e­mas

THEY have been ex­cep­tion­ally busy in the film divi­sion of Marvel En­ter­tain­ment over the past few years, and on an in­creas­ingly reg­u­lar ba­sis dust is be­ing blown off the orig­i­nal sto­ries of the com­pany’s most prized comic-book hero as­sets.

All roads of this strate­gic ini­tia­tive point to Marvel’s re­lease next year of The Avengers, an all-star, all-su­per­hero af­fair that will round up the likes of Thor, Iron Man and The In­cred­i­ble Hulk.

A key player in this in­vin­ci­ble team will be the first-ever star to shine in the Marvel uni­verse – good old Cap­tain Amer­ica.

Bear­ing in mind the Cap has never rid­den high on a de­cent screen ve­hi­cle – and in the in­ter­est of rais­ing his pro­file in the run-up to The Avengers – here we have Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger.

As Cap­tain Amer­ica was very much a prod­uct of US wartime sen­si­bil­i­ties in the early 1940s, it must be stated up­front this is a pe­cu­liarly old-fash­ioned ac­tion film.

Chris Evans stars as Steve Evans, an un­der-nour­ished, over-patriotic wannabe sol­dier deemed too puny for ac­tive duty by Un­cle Sam. With all his friends head­ing off to World War II, Steve is so des­per­ate to join them that he al­lows him­self to be­come the guinea pig for a top-se­cret mil­i­tary ex­per­i­ment. In­jected with a ra­dioac­tive su­per­serum by a kindly sci­en­tist ( Stan­ley Tucci), Steve grows from geek to gar­gan­tuan in an in­stant.

Now blessed with speed, re­flexes and en­durance ca­pa­bil­i­ties su­pe­rior to ev­ery sol­dier on the face of the planet, the pow­ers that be transform Steve into a PRfriendly fig­ure they dub Cap­tain Amer­ica.

Ini­tially trot­ted out to lift morale and sell war bonds, the Cap­tain is then de­ployed to Europe to bring down a rogue Nazi mad­man who calls him­self Red Skull ( a su­perb, scenery-chew­ing Hugo Weav­ing).

Watch­ing on the side­lines are the Cap­tain’s girl­friend, butt-kick­ing Bri­tish babe Peggy Carter ( Hay­ley Atwell), and his gruff com­mand­ing of­fi­cer Colonel Ch­ester Phillips ( Tommy Lee Jones).

Also lend­ing im­por­tant tech­ni­cal back-up is Howard Stark ( Do­minic Cooper), a dare­devil in­dus­tri­al­ist ( and fu­ture fa­ther of Iron Man’s Tony Stark) who de­signs the Cap­tain’s great­est weapon: an in­de­struc­tible shield em­bla­zoned with stars and stripes.

Though un­fail­ingly earnest and cheesy from open to close, Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger still de­liv­ers ev­ery­thing it prom­ises with plenty of en­dear­ing good hu­mour and oc­ca­sional pulses of ex­cit­ing panache.

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