I finally had an opportunity to see Captain America recently. For those of you who haven’t seen it, get out there and do so while you still can. It is best on the big screen, and don’t forget to stay through the credits for the “Easter Egg” scene at the end.
By way of that first paragraph, you can gather, rightly, that I enjoyed Captain America. In my youth I had managed to read reprints of some of those early Captain America stories, and only have vague memories of them, so I won’t try to make comparisons. Let us say it isn’t like the Liberal tripe that now passes as being Captain America on the comic stands today. It is good ol’ American daring do-or-die action.
This is the origin of Captain America and one of the great marvel Comics nemesis of the ‘60s and early ‘70s, The Red Skull, and the secret organization, Hydra. Steve Rogers, the proverbial 90 pound weakling, finds himself selected for the top secret soldier program not because he fosters a desire to kill Nazis, but because he hates bullies, any and all bullies. During the selection process, a grenade is tossed to where he and other candidates are working out. While the others all dive for cover, Rogers throws himself on top of the grenade in a display of self-sacrifice. The grenade, of course, was a dummy, but it highlighted characteristics in both Rogers and those around him.
Needless to say, Rogers is selected for the program, which is a success, but at a high price, as a Nazi spy kills Dr. Erskine, the lead scientist and steals the one remaining dose of the secret soldier serum for Hydra.
Meanwhile, the Red Skull and Hydra have been developing super-high tech weapons and fostering plans of world domination of their own under Hitler’s nose.
Rogers, as the only super-soldier, finds himself given a choice: lab rat or performing monkey. He chooses the later and eventually finds himself on a USO tour in Italy where the GIs hate him and want to see the girls. Rogers learns that his best friend’s unit, the 107th, was in the area and badly mauled by a troop of Hydra agents. Rogers determines to go after his friend, Bucky Barnes and goes alone, behind enemy lines, and discovers a Hydra facility. During the rescue, we are introduced to several other Marvel Comics icons, specifically some of the characters that made up Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos: Dum-Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough was well cast in this role!) and Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), as well as some other soldiers that would become Captain America’s elite squad of Hydra-thumpers. I really enjoyed their inclusion into the film, and thought it fit well. That Gabe Jones, in this storyline, not only speaks German, but French, worked when Gabe gave his explanation that the girls liked hearing French better than German.
There are some other little tidbits of Marvel Comics lore thrown in for good measure that added to the story.
Overall this was a good picture that showed a lot of traditional values: courage, sacrifice, loyalty. It also has some good humor in it at appropriate times, especially some lines from Tommy Lee Jones playing Colonel Phillips, the head of the super-soldier project.
Tags: Captain America