Captain America: The First Avenger [film]
As comic heroes go, the overtly patriotic ones are the ones I have most trouble with. I never seemed to buy the 'cool' comics other people went for anyway; while my friends at university were reading Sandman, I was happily collecting Morbius the Living Vampire and treasuring a nearly complete run of 1980s Thundercats. (And I'm still looking out for the issues of Dragon's Claws that I'm missing...) Anyway, I'm not a comics fan, certainly don't have room to collect them, but I have vague knowledge of, and enjoy my comics. Captain America was a character who'd never appealed to me. I feared jingoism.
I decided to watch the film for purely shallow reasons: the trailer showed it was set in the 1940s, with a bit of comic-book technology thrown in. And you know what? It's not a bad film. The storyline was pretty much as expected: weedy boy Steve Rogers can't get into the army, friendly German scientist who fled the Nazis gets him into the Army and turns him into a musclebound man-mountain, Steve's friend gets captured by evil man made strong by scientist's previous experiment, as Steve is now muscleman, he steams in, saves lots of soldiers and acquires an archenemy who he has to defeat.
Like a lot of films and books nowadays, this film didn't have a 'real world' enemy: right from the start it was made clear that Steve doesn't hate Germans. Villain Johann Schmidt, The Red Skull (played by the ever-delicious Hugo Weaving), is setting up on his own, targetting Berlin as well as other world capitals. This does help remove a lot of potential jingoism from the storyline. I found Steve's team of multiracial international buddies a bit contrived, but if I'm prepared to suspend disbelief enough to accept that a bloke with no skin on his skull has taken one of Odin's treasures, I can cope with a mixed bag of soldiers who would at least have existed in the 1940s!
I loved the look. Many of the shots have an almost sepia tone. There were plenty of uniforms and pretty 1940s dresses on show (though lipstick seemed insufficiently bright, style fans). As we were watching the sequence where Steve goes out selling war bonds, performing on stage with a group of singing, high-kicking chorus girls, Mr Robot turned to me and said, "You'd love to see a stage show like this, wouldn't you?" He knows me well.
And the technology! OH THE TECHNOLOGY! As if the newly-upgraded weed chasing a Nazi assassin in a car down a road crammed with divine 1940s cars isn't enough, you should see the villain's car. Johann Schmidt, has the most excellent car in the history of motoring, with the possible exception of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Diana Dors' real-life blue roadster.
So, not clever, but definitely big, and I very much enjoyed it.
Source of film: paid for on cable.