After-Action Report: Captain America: The First Avenger

1 Jan

Telling the story of an icon can be a daunting prospect, and while some might find the proposition that a comic-book hero can be an icon to be hyperbole, I would respectfully disagree. While the short story has long been considered an “American” contribution to literature, I think that as comic books came into their own in the 20th Century, they embodied a form of storytelling that was uniquely American as well, and in terms of mytholigical significance in American society, there are those characters that occupy the loftiest heights in this rich pantheon of characters. Captain America is one of those characters, second only to Superman in terms of what he has meant to generations of boys in this country.

For me, Captain America is the character on the cover above, as drawn by one of his two-creators, Jack Kirby, during the 1960s, known to comic book collectors as the “Silver Age” of comics. Having spent as much as my youth as I did seeking out the 60s and 70s Marvel and DC comics, I consider myself a bit better acquainted with the mythology than most, which means that I set the bar very high for these modern film adaptations of the characters. Some times I’ve been disappointed (The Incredible Hulk), sometimes I’ve been underwhelmed (Ghost Rider), sometimes I’ve felt cheated (The Fantastic Four…yes, Jessica Alba in a skin tight suit was fun, but over all, I wanted a story.), and then there have been the times they got it right (Iron Man, Thor). I can say that they impressed me this time.

First, there is the matter of casting. I wasn’t sure that Chris Evans was the right choice for the star-spangled Avenger, and without the magic of CGI animation making him a 98-pound weakling, he wouldn’t have been. I also realized that the rewrite of Nick Fury in the movies would create an issue with Howling Commandos, but seeing Dum Dum Dugan (played by Neal McDonough) on the screen was like seeing an old friend.  Likewise, Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine and Tommy Lee Jones as the grumpy senior officer in charge of the Super Soldier Project was inspired.

While the screenwriters did make some changes to the story (a Bucky who knew Cap before the war, and who was the same age and bigger than the pre-experiment Steve Rogers, a Red Skull who was head of Hydra during the war and more loyal to himself than Hitler, how Bucky died, and how Cap took his 70 year nap), they were deftly handled, and as a fan, I found I was not offended by them.

As the story unfolded, I found myself impressed with how the story drew me in, and how it showed the clear difference between good and evil, as represented by Cap, the former little guy who would not abuse the great power he’d been given, and the Red Skull, a bully made stronger by the early incarnation of the Super Soldier Serum.  Cap became an inspiration to anyone who’d seen him in action.  The Skull inspired fear through his cruelty and sheer brute force.  And as Cap gained the respect of those who knew him, his legend grew, where the Skull was a shadowy figure to a world that never knew the extent of the threat that he posed to them.

At its heart, this film is the comic book brought to life, showing the spirit of a skinny kid who never let the bullies beat his spirit, even as they sometimes brutalized him physically, and sometimes won by using his head instead of his body.

I only regret that Jack Kirby never got to see it.

51 Responses to “After-Action Report: Captain America: The First Avenger”

  1. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    This is the best After-Action Report since the last after-action report.

  2. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    The movie sounds awesome.

    It’s sad, but I am so afraid of going to see a “hero” movie now. Hollywood has made a mockery of what heroes should be.

  3. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I dunno. They got it absolutely right when they did “The Dark Knight”.

  4. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    It took a Brit to do that movie, BisW.

  5. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX January 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Why TiFW doesn’t get to sleep late in the morning:

    http://is.gd/vg3St0

  6. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

  7. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX January 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    We saw this in the theater when it first came out, and LOVED it – Mr. TiFW requested the DVD for Christmas, and he and Rebecca watched it in the car while we were driving around after Christmas (she loves it, too!).

    You are right – it doesn’t disappoint.

  8. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Orchid it is. This one reminds me of the wild ones that grew in our backyard in Puerto Rico.

  9. clintbird January 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    I liked it. I own it. I own Thor too. I liked that one too.

    Also, per SD’s comment on the last thread … Midnight In Paris is extraordinary.

  10. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Teresa sleeps commando!

  11. clintbird January 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Aggie and I both love this piece, so you should too!

  12. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Teresa sleeps commando!

    HAHAHA!!!

    PJs are for OUT of bed 😉

  13. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    I used to play this. I think that this oboe player isn’t that good, actually, but it could be the recording…that or they are using really crappy reeds that suck some of the warmth out of the tone.

  14. clintbird January 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Good one, BiW!

    Here’s another great waltz:

  15. clintbird January 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    One hour to go until tonight’s new episode of Hell On Wheels. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Now I feel like waltzing.

  17. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    I just had to turn off the Cowboys game. Don’t need the aggravation of watching those overpriced shitheads suck.

  18. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    That bad, SD?

  19. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    I gave up on the National Felons League a long, long time ago.

    Something about the Lions being the local team for 1/3 of my life…

  20. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    What I’m laughing over is the “shortened season” of the NBA.

    Damn fuckers…

  21. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Ya know, I really need to stop fucking worrying about sports. That shit’s meaningless. Plus, there’s gorgeous boobs I need to think about.
    I like tits.

  22. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    I like tits.

    That has to be the Man’s Anthem™.

  23. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX January 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Teresa sleeps commando!

    Perimenopause is a cruel bitch…..

  24. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Perimenopause? I don’t even have that as an excuse 😉

  25. TerribleTroy January 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    I have to agree with SD. I also like tits. Big tits, medium tits. Perky tits. Bodacious tits……..

  26. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Any tits, as long as they are female?

  27. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    And human, I assume.

  28. MCPO Airdale January 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    BisW – Excellent review. Cap was one of those comics I spent my dimes on in the 60s. The Bucky thing bugged me, but other than that, it was most excellent.

  29. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Big, medium, small, I love them all.
    Human, preferably, but I’ve run into some nice sheep in my day.

  30. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    And honestly, too many folks would complain if I admitted to loving pussy.

  31. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX January 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Perimenopause? I don’t even have that as an excuse

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it…… 😛

  32. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    You can like cats and kitties all you want, SD.

    I don’t judge!!

  33. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    I have nothing against kitehs.

    Chinese food wouldn’t be the same without it.

  34. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Just watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Worst fucking movie, evah.
    The only good part is when Malfoy (from Harry Potter) gets whacked.

  35. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    How does one improve on the classics?? I wish Hollywood would give up the remakes.

  36. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    I know a great book they could turn into a movie…

  37. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Heh, me too 😉

  38. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    And I have no idea where or who to send it to.

  39. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Maybe get in touch with the Texas Film Commission? They may be able to help.

  40. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    Nope, they don’t care. Gotta be somebody who pulls the strings.
    No biggie. Never gonna happen.

  41. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere January 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    SD, unless you retain the rights to keep them from completely fuxxoring the story up, it isn’t worth it.

    By the time Hollyweird gets done butchering the story, it will be about Tea Party members slaughtering children on altars and drinking their blood after raping them.

  42. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    BiW, that’s just one reason why the Baby Jesus decided to give me friends like you.

  43. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    BisW has a point.

  44. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Oh, SD, is the orchid delicate enough? I figured you can’t go wrong with cattleyas, or dendrobiums.

  45. Stinky's Dad January 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Aggie, there’s literally a thousand versions, so if you like that one, it suits you just fine.

  46. LC Aggie Sith January 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Eh…I’ll wait and see on it. It isn’t growing on me so far.

  47. clintbird January 2, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Aggie, this strikes me as closer to the real you:

  48. LC Aggie Sith January 2, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Very pretty, CB, but too prickly….hey!!! 😉

  49. LC Aggie Sith January 2, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    And GOOD MORNING!!!!

  50. LC Aggie Sith January 2, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Ever have an earworm you just love??

    I got Crazy Train running through my head right now.

  51. Jay in Ames January 2, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I liked Capt. America a lot, too. One of the best.

    Still think Iron Man and 2 were better, but YMMV.

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