Captain America 3D

It’s been a good summer for villains without noses. First we had the snakelike profile of Rafe Fiennes slithering through the frames of Harry Potter, and now Captain America has introduced us to the Red Skull, a tomato faced skeletor with nothing but a big old hole where the schnozz should be. I almost included Owen Wilson in this group, but he actually has a nose in Midnight in Paris. It’s just that it looks like a penis. But I digress.

Captain America is the latest chapter in a series of films about the origins of the group of super heroes that make up next summer’s The Avengers. If you’re already a fan, you’re well aware of the trail of clues buried in Ironman, Ironman II and Thor. Samuel L. Jackson has shown up in each of these films as Nick Fury, and he’s been recruiting the main characters to join S.H.I.E.L.D., a secret intelligence agency.

The Marvel Comics are a goldmine of source material for the movies. The stories are all linked, albeit somewhat obscurely, with Nick Fury showing up in all of the above plotlines as well as X-Men and Spiderman. And the films are perfect summer popcorn flicks; lots of action and humor, well-built guys in tight costumes and just enough of a love interest to humanize them. Captain America is a tongue in cheek recreation of World War II when every private was a hero and every villain was a cowardly dog. Chris Evans stars as the 90 pound weakling turned super-soldier, and he is ruggedly humble and hilarious as he is forced to headline USO shows to get America to buy war bonds. (I can just picture the dazzling production number of Star-Spangled Man when the song gets nominated for an Oscar!) Hugo Weaving brings his trench coat over from The Matrix and rips his face off to become the aforementioned Red Skull. Tommy Lee Jones is in charge of the secret unit attempting to take out the noseless dude, and I personally would like to see him put in charge of the war in Afghanistan. If Tommy Lee can’t get us out of there, no one can.

Set in 1941, the look of the film is an idealized version of the period, with each frame drawn as carefully as, well, a comic book; and all of it leaps off the screen in glorious 3D. Yeah, I said it. If you are a faithful reader of this blog, you know how I feel about the use of this technology (and if you’re not, go back and read the last four reviews. Go on … I’ll wait.)

My main reason for hating 3D is that it doesn’t usually have any reason to be there. (Big exception: Cave of Forgotten Dreams) It makes the film darker than it needs to be and seems to exist as a gimmick, as if these action films could not stand on their own. But in Captain America, every carefully constructed shot looks like a frame you’re looking at in a ViewMaster, and the effect contributes greatly to the nostalgic view of the era. I got a little tired of Steve Rogers throwing his shield directly at me in the audience, but the cool graphics in the ending credits more than compensated for having to sit through that. And of course you know enough not to leave until the last grip’s name has been revealed, because Nick Fury is there with whole gang and you won’t want to miss that.

Barf Bag Rating: ZERO BAGS
Jalapeno Rating: TWO PEPPERS
I’m a little surprised, too. I figured all 3D films were the same, but this one didn’t affect me nearly as much as the others. Am I getting used to it? Or was it that I was so dazzled by Chris Evan’s chest that I forgot to remember it bothers me?

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