Saturday, July 30, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America and Bucky 620

I finally got to see the Captain America: The First Avenger film, and I have to say - that was a darned good movie.

I thought Chris Evans was terrific in the lead (especially impressive were the effects that made him scrawny), the supporting cast was spot on (how I loved the Howling Commandos, Tommy Lee Jones provided some much-needed humor (without ever being silly), Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter was excellent (and, not to be sexist, but let me just say - Va-va-voom!), the bad guys were perfect - Hugo Weaving can be menacing with the mere lift of an eyebrow, and his Red Skull makeup was excellent.

It played out on a big scale, although the "Hydra as bad guys instead of the Nazis" bit seemed somewhat forced.

I liked the Thor movie a lot, but I have to admit that this may be the better movie. It's right up there with the first Iron Man. Who would ever have thought we'd get so many quality superhero films?

Bring on the Avengers! (Speaking of which, I advise staying until the end of the credits. Fair warning.)

Highly recommended!

Grade: A

Which brings us to comics, and the newly-retooled Captain America & Bucky, which takes over the numbering of the ongoing Cap comic. (Which took over the numbering of the old Tales of Suspense comic, but who's counting?)

Like this film, this comic is firmly set (so far) in World War II, as we begin to learn the real secret origin for Bucky. The original story of how he became Cap's sidekick doesn't work by modern standards - no hero is going into battle with an untrained child fighting at his side.

In the original version, Bucky accidentally discovered Cap's secret identity, so he was recruited to be Cap's partner. In the modern version, he's given a more believable age, more realistic abilities and a solid backstory.

Whether you like the movie or not, this is a strong story from writers Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko as they fill in some major gaps in our knowledge about these two heroes.

I'm delighted to see Chris Samnee tackling the art is this series. He was terrific on the sadly short-lived Thor The Mighty Avenger, and his work is even better here. His layouts are fresh and full of energy, his art and characters are expressive (lots of emotions to depict in this story), and his style is unique - original and different, he's carving his own path here, and it's a real delight.

The story is just starting to unfold, but so far, I'm very impressed. This comic is a more-than-worthy companion to the film, and a great jumping-on point for any new reader.

Grade: A



Dwayne said...

The movie was fine, but I compare them all to Iron Man. Without a star of the caliber of Downey or Norton, both Thor and Capt. America suffer. Chris Evans doesn't have the star quality to pull this off successfully. He's neither having fun, or campy, or being dramatically serious. Instead, we get... meh. This isn't nearly as fun as a comic book movie should be.

Chuck said...

Dwayne, I agree that Iron Man is the gold standard for super-hero movies. And yes, Thor and Cap come off a bit bland next to Downey's Tony Stark, but part of that has to do with the characters, as well. Cap is supposed to be a bit of a Boy Scout, and Thor has to be a bit aloof - but I thought those actors did a good job portraying each character. It'll be really interesting to see them all together in the Avengers movie.