By now, most of us know that we have to suspend a few beliefs in order to enjoy a movie featuring a super hero. The beliefs of say, physics, gravity, chemistry, and logic, just to name a few. I’m completely fine giving up all those notions as they relate to the super hero in question, but here’s my problem: when a super hero movie is rooted in reality (as so many now are, thanks to Christopher Nolan and his truth-seeking ways), then why is reality completely disregarded once the super hero attains his powers?
If you like these sorts of films, then you’ll undoubtedly enjoy Captain America. You’ll enjoy, yet again, another weakling-to-global-hero story, another the-geek-gets-the-girl quest, another look-I-just-discovered-my-new-powers montage, and so on.
Me, I need them about as much as I need a Katy Perry song, which is to say, not at all. So when I walk into a flick like Captain America, I’m more than willing to suspend the fact-based scientific notions mentioned earlier, but I do feel the need to nitpick.
Captain America begins at the dawn of America’s involvement in WWII. And while every able man is enlisting, scrawny asthmatic Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, rail-thin behind Benjamin Button-style computer graphics) can’t fight against the spread of Nazism due to his diminutive stature. He is soon recruited by a German scientist (played by American Stanley Tucci) to undergo an operation that involves a lot of injections of blue liquid, thus becoming a “super soldier.” After the operation, Rogers, now big and strong and fast and able, is soon off saving the world by stopping a rouge Nazi (played by Brit Hugo Weaving… why weren’t German actors cast in the German roles? I suppose Christoph Waltz is through playing Nazis).
Now, before Rogers’ transformation to Captain America, the film itself appears to be rooted in some sort of reality, or at least the hyper-stylized one that director Joe Johnston (Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji) is often so fond of. War bonds are sold tirelessly, soldiers take orders from commanding officers, military operation rooms appear to be, kind of, normal, etc. But once Captain America starts flinging his giant shield around like a fatal Frisbee, all logic is suspended. Suddenly, every room involving military action is some sort of giant fortress, soldiers disregard orders like kids ignoring the dinner bell, and everyone who is associated with Captain America is as invincible as he is.
Which brings me to my last point. Why is it that once Rogers becomes Captain America, everyone else around him apparently becomes a super hero too? (I don’t hold a doctorate in physics, but I’m pretty sure if you’re traveling 15 mph on a zip line and you try to jump on top of a train going in excess of 50 mph, you’ll not only break your legs, but you’ll, you know, bounce off, too.)
Much like Thor (actually, exactly like Thor) Captain America is the latest circle-jerk that will inevitably result in the geek-boy fantasy come to film known as The Avengers. And despite the current domestic crazed (or is it maniac) fascination with super hero movies, I’m actually looking forward to that film. Captain America, like Thor and Iron Man II, doesn’t feel like a film that can live on its own. It’s part of something bigger. Here’s to hopping the waiting is worth it. C
Note: The best part of Captain America takes place after the credits, so stick around.