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Friday, October 14, 2011

Japan Times Review of Captain America Movie - Sort Of

I'm going to post an article from the Japan Times published on Friday, October 14, 2011. It rakes the Captain America movie that debuted earlier this year in North America.

 While I am a major comic book aficionado with over 30,000 books, I have not always been a Captain America fan.  I only have about 300 of his comic books. I know the history. I know the character. 

I am just really tired of movie critics slagging what I consider a pretty darn good movie.... which is what Captain America really is.  

It is well worth your time and money to see this flick. Despite me being a very huge Green Lantern (and DC Comics) fan, I was disappointed with that movie... and I went in with no expectations, as I usually do with any movie made about a comic book or comic book character. I always watch the movie rather than rely on a newspaper or television critic. Other than the new X-Men movie this year X-Men: First Class, Captain America was the next best thing. You don't even need to be a US patriot or a comic book fan to enjoy the flick, though there are many great little homages to Marvel Comics' history. 

My personal favourite was seeing Professor Horton's amazing android in a glass jar at a New York exhibition... which true history buffs will know it as the original Human Torch, not the kid from the Fantastic Four. And whatever happened to his human side-kick Toro? Bring him back!!!!

Okay... rant over... here's a Japan Times review of Captain America. Except for one more thing... to the writer of the movie review... Giovanni Fazio... not all comic book fans are nerds who can't get a date. In my hey-day of collecting and just before I got married, I was 5'-11", 185lbs with my hair half-way down my back, working out 6x a week, and had just increased my chest from a 36" to a 48". I dated cheerleaders, models and women that could easily have been models for the women of comic books. And, I bought over 50 comic books a week. Giovanni... you can kiss my ass and keep your damn stereo typing of comic fans to yourself. You're a movie critic... not even a real journalist. And I can say that as a blogger, Tweeter, magazine writer, comic book writer and as a former daily newspaper journalist who while not as massively built as Captain America, but also in possession of good knowledge of four martial arts, that I could kick your ass. Even if you don't like the movie based on a comic book character, don't put down the people who do.

Out of respect to the Japan Times, here's the review on the Captain America movie now making the rounds in Japan.   

Captain America: The First Avenger'

From average Joe to star-spangled superhero

Anyone who grew up reading comic books from decades past will surely recall the ubiquitous "Hey Skinny!" ads for the Charles Atlas bodybuilding program. They featured a pigeon-chested weakling named Joe who gets humiliated in front of his girlfriend by a beefy bully; after trying the Atlas program, Joe gets ripped, clocks the bully and wins back his girl, who exclaims: "Oh, Joe! You are a real he-man after all."
Captain America: The First Avenger Rating: (2.5 out of 5)
★ ★ ½
Captain America: The First Avenger
First Action Hero: Chris Evans in "Captain America: The First Avenger." Jay Maidment. © 2010 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

Director: Joe Johnston
Running time: 124 minutes
Language: English
Now Showing
[See Japan Times movie listing]
I don't know how many comic-book readers actually wound up looking like bodybuilders with busty bikini babes on their arms, but I'll bet you good money the ones who did no longer read comic books. Either way, though, you have to hand it to Mr. Atlas; he certainly knew the superhero fanboy demographic.
No comic book character captured the readership's body-anxiety better than Captain America. The Captain was once a bullied wimp himself, an asthmatic 4-F draft reject during World War II, which was enough to render any man dateless. But thanks to an injection of secret super-steroids, skinny Steve Rogers sprouted muscles that would make Sly Stallone Hulk-green with envy. A beefy body without any exercise — that's kind of the boys' equivalent of the girls' Cinderella fantasy.
As part of the Marvel universe of superheroes, it was inevitable that the good Captain would get his own film, following in the footsteps of — deep breath — Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Elektra, The Fantastic Four, Blade, the X-Men and (lest we forget, though we may try) The Punisher. As is implied by the subtitle, "The First Avenger," all of this is leading up to next years "Avengers" film, which features what looks to be the dream team of caped crusaders.
Some might say we're hitting the point of overkill — especially the producers of underperforming films such as "Green Lantern" or "The Green Hornet." Certainly "Captain America," with its story line of geek-turned-hero fighting an evil crazy who wants to rule the planet, won't win any points for originality. With great power comes great responsibility, and all that, so poststeroids Steve (Chris Evans) decides to stop being a pinup boy selling war bonds and takes the initiative to free some buddies from a Nazi POW camp in occupied France. Soon, though, he will have to deal with his super-powered foe on the other side, an occult-obsessed S.S. major (Hugo Weaving) known as The Red Skull.
Director Joe Johnston does a pretty good job of conjuring up some pulpy 1940s retro-ambience — having done this before with "The Rocketeer" — and he certainly captures Captain America's trademark use of his shield as a frisbee-like weapon, but for the most part this is the kind of bland action adventure you'd expect from a journeyman who made his name on stuff like "Jurassic Park III" and the "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" TV series.
Johnston builds the film nicely for the first hour, but once Steve becomes Captain America, you'll find that all the best action bits from the trailer are contained in one 60-second montage. The final showdown with The Red Skull is underwhelming, and one gets the feeling that Marvel just wanted to dump the origin story out there in time for Cappy to appear in the "Avengers" movie.
One problem with the film is that Steve, in the origin story at least, is such a one-dimensional character: just a stand-up, do-the-right-thing kind of guy. His complexity only comes later, when he wakes up (out of deep freeze) decades into the future, and becomes a man out of his own time and the symbol of a nation that he's not always comfortable representing. (At one point in the comic books, he even abandoned his Captain America identity to become The Nomad after witnessing Watergate-like corruption in the White House.)
But let's face it, the whole notion of such a nationalistic, hegemonistic character is rather embarrassing in this day and age. Americans would laugh with scorn at the North Korean superhero Great General Mighty Wing, who leads his workers' collective against the imperialist wasps and spiders, but, well, look in the mirror, dudes. The dollar's at historic lows, the U.S. economy remains in the toilet, both political parties appear to be bought and paid for by Wall Street, two inconclusive wars continue to drag on, and Hollywood rolls out "Captain America" to save the world. It's telling that the film has to reach all the way back to World War II to find the confidence and vigor so lacking in 21st-century America.


  1. Good day! Do you happen to own any journalism experience or it is a completely natural gift? Waiting forward to hear from you.

    1. Hi... I am a journalism grad and worked as a reporter from the Toronto Star, Aurora Banner and Brampton Times newspapers. I also write for a monthly magazine (industrial sector) pumping out three to five stories a month and newsletters and Twitter stories and adding web stories... not to mention this blog and three others I try to keep semi-regular.
      Natural gift? That's nice of you to say. Honestly, I had no idea I could write until I entered journalism school. I was there not for a career, but to meet women. It's sad but true.
      Read a lot. Write every day, and you get better... or at least you should.
      Cheers, SoarintoSky!