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Captain America Ignores Its Roots for Easy Money

Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics in 1941, Captain America was among the first American comic books intended as an explicit work of patriotic, political propaganda: The cover of the first edition, available a year before Pearl Harbor, famously featured the titular costume hero punching out Adolf Hitler.

A nod to that classic beatdown has been worked into a retro-styled poster for Captain America: The First Avenger, but the film, directed by George Lucas protégé Joe Johnston (whose credits span Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and The Wolfman), seems itself concerned with a more timely fight: It’s the latest, and last, Marvel Universe prequel to superhero supergroup flick The Avengers, finally due out next summer after half a decade of buildup encompassing two Iron Man films, two actors cast as Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk, and the establishment of the de rigueur post-credit teaser scene. (Spoiler alert: Captain America doesn’t have one).

The film concerns the transformation of one Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), “a 90-pound asthmatic” repeatedly declared unfit to fight in World War II, whose persistence impresses Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci, heavily vamping), a German scientist working for the U.S. military alongside billionaire inventor/future Iron Man progenitor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). Steve is soon chosen for a top-secret military experiment, for which he’ll be injected with a serum that, as Colonel Tommy Lee Jones intones, will turn him from a weakling into “a new breed of super-soldier” assigned to “personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of hell.” Not that Hitler—or anything else ripped from real history or recognizable life—is really on the radar of this hokey, hacky, two-hour-plus exercise in franchise transition/price gouging, complete with utterly unnecessary post-converted 3-D.

Chris Evans's muscles bulge, ladyfriend beams in Captain America
Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios
Chris Evans's muscles bulge, ladyfriend beams in Captain America

Shortly after Steve (who is played in both supersize and diminutive form by Evans via still-creepily uncanny head-replacement effects) emerges from the experiment as an enlarged, greased-up Ken doll, a spy kills Erskine. Without his champion, this human-engineered living weapon is relegated to what an opportunist politician claims is “the most important battlefield of the war”—the media offensive. Touring the country fronting a live propaganda show designed to sell war bonds, star of his own comics and short subjects, Captain America becomes a folk hero for the folks left at home. But on the frontlines, he’s a joke. Then, with no apparent combat training but a roadshow-bred sense of showmanship, he mobilizes a rescue mission to liberate his best friend, Bucky (Sebastian Stan), and incidentally frees 400 Allied soldiers for good measure. Steve gets some vague support (and the film gets a spark of much-needed swagger) from his ostensible love interest, Peggy (Hayley Atwell), a tough-broad British soldier who has some kind of role in the operation that’s neither specified nor apparently anything that would muss her lipstick.

The lead villain here is Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), a/k/a the Red Skull, a Nazi whose obsession with the occult is a bit much even for Hitler to take. Having almost cheerfully “left humanity behind,” Schmidt has assembled a splinter cult called HYDRA, through which he operates labor camps focused on harvesting energy from the Tesseract—a glowing cube thingy that Schmidt pillaged from Norway—and funneling that energy into weapons. It’s never clear what this power force actually is, but somehow it’s transferred to laser guns, which shoot streams of something or other to vaporize their victims on contact.

That putting such a corpse-obliterating weapon in the hands of everyday Nazi soldiers would have been something of a Holocaust game changer is one of a number of potentially rich parallel-historical details that the film doesn’t care to grapple with. Captain America assembles a ragtag multi-ethnic band of soldiers to help carry out his elite missions, but there’s not so much as a single mention of the ideological divides that plagued the times—and, subsequently, spawned the original anti-Fascist Captain America comics. So what is Captain America fighting for? Apparently nothing more or less than screen time in The Avengers.

 
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189 comments
nick
nick

Finally found another who saw this movie for what it is, a politically correct waste of time for all who actually analyze what they watch. The beef of the action was sadly summarized in a musical montage for Pete's sake. If you want a movie that does the USA v nazi adventure genre right go watch The Rocketeer.

Nikodisias Papalapsuslos
Nikodisias Papalapsuslos

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

Ron KnewyawkCity
Ron KnewyawkCity

Getting upset about a multi-ethnic unit in a Captain America movie is like being upset that Hitler dies in a theater fire in Inglorious Basterds.

It's a comic movie, not a biopic! Historical detail!?!? Are you kidding me!?!? What's your problem, lady?

Marvel-Girl
Marvel-Girl

What a joke. This movie was spectacular. Clearly you only went to the screening because you didn't see it when it was released with it's, as expected, post-credits clip and even a bonus avengers trailer. This movie had well placed humor and great action scenes not to mention it played to our emotions. I don't think you're fit to review comic book movies if you're saying it's not realistic. I didn't go watch Captain America for a history lesson I went for the side of altered reality I wish I could belong to.

Laslo67
Laslo67

Since the magical cube never left the hands of Hydra it had no effect on the Holocaust. That wasn't Red Skull's agenda.

zero
zero

So, uh, your issue is that it's not patriotic or realistic enough? If so, those are ridiculous reasons to call this a bad film. Surprise, a comic book movie isn't touching on political ideologies (it did reference the propaganda though)

Whadaway
Whadaway

This movie most certainly DOES have a post credits scene. I didn't expect a reviewer from the Village Voice to like it. But, Did you really see this film?

Hspringer88
Hspringer88

she's doing her job. all u pus#$es get over it. this movie was crap compared to the other marvel movies. see it at ur own risk of wasting 15 bucks

Dking
Dking

Captain America does have a post- credit scene

scar
scar

Why are those stupid toots posted below the comments? They add nothing of any purpose.

Epyon346
Epyon346

I almost feel like you didn't really watch the movie. Especially since you specifically mention there not being a post-credits teaser (which there actually is, followed by an Avengers spot).

Teresa Buckley
Teresa Buckley

well... you sure burst my bubble, my grandson and I were planning on seeing it today, hope you know u just broke a five year old's heart ( he can read and was not at all happy with your portrayal of his hero. Shame on you... where is your sense of adventure? It's not like you believed it was real..... oh! wait a minute... u did, didn't you, that's why your shorts are in a knot. How sad... well, we're going to go (add to the price gouging debacle )eat lots of junk and have lots of fun, cause this is Captain America and I'm a grandma who enjoys her grandkids whatever the movie. Have a nice day!

Youfuckingcunt
Youfuckingcunt

You're dragging down this film's overall metacritic rating by being a fucking cunt. Fix the score now!

Luke
Luke

Yeah, this movie was pretty bad. Evans makes a great Cap (in fact, all the acting was great), but the action was boring and poorly edited (though I give them credit for not overdoing the CGI), and the story was too formulaic to have any kind of real interest in. Hey Marvel, quit with the family friendly cartoon shit, and take notes from Nolan and Snyder.

Some guy posting a comment
Some guy posting a comment

People still listen to movie critics in 2011? I had no idea. Guess you learn something new everyday.

Williamwac
Williamwac

Lots of people ignore they roots to make better for them selves that's the reality of life. and more to the point it's the real life that we live in.

Mnewman
Mnewman

This was a fantastic movie that I was able to take my kids to and not have to cover ears or eyes. Your review shows yet again that if a move critic bashes a movie then it is a MUST SEE! Your review sucks Karina.

Captain America is a feel good movie with great visual effects that add to the movie instead of becoming the main attraction. The story is great, shows why Captain America was great when I was a child and again great for my children. Go Cap! 5 stars.

Mlayden
Mlayden

These critics man... Look man no one really cares about including all these topics about what was wrong with the world during this time period and besides, it doesn't fit in with the plot. All these people wanted to see was an enjoyable superhero movie, and that's exactly what they got.

Hannah
Hannah

It does have a trailer for The Avengers you just have to stay until the credits are done. And we don't know how he's goin to tie in to this new movie because of the ending. We'll have to wait until May.

william
william

Hey I know there's a whole bunch of dumbasses who are defending this piece of shit but I'd just like to say that I enjoyed reading your review of this film.

Argonaut
Argonaut

Typical review coming from the anti-American far-leftist Village Voice. For once we get an albeit popcorn movie that doesn't trash American Exceptionalism (like Avatar did), and what does the VV do? So what? Are we supposed to love Hitler and Mao and all the other Dictator Terrorists now? Captain America was great fun and patriotic. Just what we need right now to build up our spirits; not tear them down, as the media machine and current administration would have us do.

unsean
unsean

I don't know what version of Captain America Karina Longworth saw, but there is indeed an added scene at the end of the credits.

Either there wasn't one at the screening that she saw–I find that doubtful–or she couldn't find the time to wait for the added scene that is in EVERY Marvel Studios film.

Either way, I am not sure that I can trust a critic that can't sit till the credits roll.

Rwaters2001
Rwaters2001

This guy is a total phucking idiot and clearly another movie critic that people just laugh at being a "wanna be".

Passerby
Passerby

I don't think you actually watched this movie or know anything about Captain America :) Alas, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But your opinion can be wrong!! .. which it clearly is here. you clearly hurried out of this one as there is a scene about the Avengers for 2012 after the credits. For once, I'd like to read a review from a critic that is actually informed and unbiased

Jason
Jason

The Village Voice hates every mainstream "popcorn" movie. It's not hip to enjoy fun movies and provide the best, honest reviews for their readers. Unless their readers are dreadfully negative and depressed human beings who hate anything that gains even a shred of popularity and success.

Kevanng72
Kevanng72

Didn't they actually use Chris Evans in the film as the 90# weakling and actually make him smaller with cgi not the superimposed head thing this woman is talking about? Just asking.....haven't seen it yet, going on Sunday and I'm as excited as my husband & son!

Bluejayfusion
Bluejayfusion

Seriously, Lady... lighten up. It's a comic book movie- its supposed to be hokey and hackey... it isn't "A History of Violence" it's captain bloody america.

KL
KL

I saw the film today. Went in 100 degree heat. Really, it was 100 degrees. Anyway, I disagree with this review. If you like films of this sort, you'll really like Captain America. The only issue I had was that Cap needed some sort of henchman to be challenge by, because he just tears through those Hydra soldiers!

This critic knows nothing of Captain America, because I think Chris Evans made a fine Captain America. Also, let me point out that Steve Rogers is trained before he becomes Cap. He could have been trained off-camera, certainly.

This writer is dismissive of this film, and, again, I don't know what she wanted from this film. And, AGAIN, did you read a Cpatain America Comic??? They weren't all about discovering war attrocities and such. It was a children's comic first.

Tony Savage
Tony Savage

Looking at a cover of a comic and reading the comic are two different things.The cube is in the comics and in the comic there is laser guns and it's not a true storyso relax and read the books.

Roxxarj
Roxxarj

Just saw the movie, and loved it. As an old-school Cap fan I am biased, but it was pulled off really well. Chris Evans pulled off the all-around good boy that Cap is spectacularly. Some people will go "No flaws, so it's a terrible character", but that's just it. It's Cap. He sees your flaws and shield bashes them in the face. As far as the Tesseract - or the Cosmic Cube - being an all-powerful thingamajig, well that's what it is. Literally. Probably expect more about that in The Avengers movie. Another great thing is it's shift away from anti-Fascism and more towards modern problems. During the break-out scene a comment is made that they're "rescuing all types" towards a man of Asian descent, who then retorts "I'm from Fresno". That stuck with me.

tl;dr Captian America is a great movie, both summer blockbuster style and on it's own two feet. Don't see it in 3D

Oh, and there is a post-credit scene. And an Avengers trailer. And a release date. *squeal* So yeah, hard fact that she got wrong.

Liquid_icicles
Liquid_icicles

To be fair I read her other critiques and they are just as uninspired! She may want to work on her skills and try again in a few years. I hope the boss man takes note and reevaluates his faith in her ability to tackle certain movies or projects. Her posts are as informing as reading the side of a cereal box that says sugar pops and saying "Wow this contains sugar!". thanks Karina! You might think comic fans lack intelligence, but I have to question anyone who has read your work and still signed the check.

Hachiroku13954
Hachiroku13954

Is this a movie review or a movie summary? Good job stupid

Xbloodmoon
Xbloodmoon

Hmm..film critic huh? Was there no open positions for you to write about the bon-bons you probably consume while watching True Blood?

Vernier_gregg
Vernier_gregg

Maybe Longsworth should take into concideration that being a film critic may not be the best career choice for her.

Mike Pesole
Mike Pesole

Well face it guys she's probably someone that doesn't put up with all the modernisms of "milf" or "cougar" and generally just dislikes "trend" which honestly I find absurd and sexist too. But I'm willing to give Cap a chance because I've seen the trailers and it looks pretty good. I just hope they don't decide to "reboot" this five years down the line like they're doing to Spiderman.

Pfft.

KL
KL

This reviewer doesn't dislike the film on the same grounds you do, so I don't know what you're babbling about. I'm sorry Captain America really didn't fight Nazis in the film, but if it was up to you, Cap would be fighting real Nazis, and some people would object to it on the grounds that there is a superhero fighting in a real war.

The Rocketeer cane out decades ago; if it came out today, it would not have had the "balls" you think Captain America lacked. While Rocketeer does involve Nazis, it wasn't to make some deep pro-America political statement.

Plus, if Captain America did have Nazis and Cap actually punching Hitler, would you have liked it more? Doesn't seem like it to me, so I think this movie did just fine.

I will argue that Captain America is the EPITOME of American values. By not involving Nazis in the film, it was open to a wider audience, and the toy sales are possible since toy companies don't have to figure out how to sell the Nazi symbol on their products. America is a capitalist society.

I'm not pro political correctness, but a mainstream superhero film is not the place to make political statements, The original Captain America comics were right for the time, because they came out DURING THE WAR. Now we don't even have Nazis. DO we have to tell the world we hate bad people and Nazis? I thought we proved that in WWII, and every war since then.

SO you can go and believe that you really "saw" something in this film that others didn't but this is not a masterwork of fiction. It doesn't take a college degree to draw some message from a superhero film. You're utterly ridiculous.

KL
KL

She's doing her job, and part of her job is reader feedback (even if it's crass or stupid). a waste of $15 is right! If you actually pay $15 for a movie ticket of any kind, you are watcing your money. I've paid maybe $12, at most, for a movie ticket. 3D is a crap gimmick.

Crap compared to the other Marvel Movies? Which one? Daredevil? Fantastic Four 2??

malkom
malkom

@Teresa Buckley  You seem to be too stupid to be in charge of a child

KL
KL

I wonder how much money you're paid for the Metacritic score to be high. Oh, that's right, NONE. I don't know why one would be so invested in something like this.

who cares?
who cares?

Anonymous, unmoderated comments really advance the public discourse, don't they?

KL
KL

I know this movie had its problems, but there is SO much violence in this movie. Captain America is not Batman and he's not a spartan. Oh, BTW, there's more violence in Captain America than in The Dark Knight.

KL
KL

Hmm. Yeah, it's pretty family friendly, even considering the violence. Still, there's a "blood spray" scene that's kinda harsh.

KL
KL

Did you see the film?

bibliogrump
bibliogrump

Uh, actually she criticizes the movie for not being patriotic ENOUGH. Did you actually read the review, or do you just assume everything you see in the Voice is an excuse for you to get up on your soap-box?The core of her argument against the film is that the original Captain America stood for something: American unity in the face of a serious fascist threat. She's upset, in part, because Marvel & the filmmakers watered down both the character and the conflict. It could've been a "bigger" movie that actually had something to say... but the filmmakers missed the opportunity.

KL
KL

It's not a guy. It's a woman.

KL
KL

I forget what it is, but whatever it is, I think it looked really good. He definitely looks much smaller than everyone else.

Luke
Luke

I never said it needed more violence... It just needed more edge. I realize he's not Batman or Rorschach (I was referencing Watchmen, not 300), but this was simply meh. I would have given anything for some kind of artistic influence, and not just a Hollywood summer blockbuster ala Michael Bay.

KL
KL

If everything was the Dark Knight, then The Dark Knight wouldn't be so special. Anyway, you can't get dark content from a guy who dresses up as a patriotic symbol like you can from a character whose parents died and his villains are basically all psychopaths.

I will say that Red Skull was underwrittern and he could have done more evil acts.

Chen Steve Rogers says "I don't want to kill anybody. I just hate bullies." You should've known what you were getting into.

 

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