This past summer, I was disappointed most by the comic book flick I expected to love and pleasantly surprised by the one I expected to like least.
But there’s much to like in Captain America: The First Avenger (Rated PG-13, Paramount Pictures, $17.99-$26.99 depending on version and format, 4-of-5 stars), the final movie in a litany of Marvel Comics films that will set up next summer’s The Avengers, which filmed partially in the Cleveland area.
What’s truly impressive about director Joe Johnston and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely interpretation of the story of super soldier Steve Rogers is that they resist the urge to go all-in on blind patriotism.
In their version, initially set in World War II, Rogers fights for truth, justice and the American way, but because he feels the injustices propagated by the Axis Powers warrant it. From the minute the character, played by Chris Evans, tells the doctor who developed the super serum that turns him into who he is that he won’t be used as some brainless operative, I was all in.
The second reason is Evans himself, who gets a second chance to make a Marvel character his own after portraying The Human Torch in two Fantastic Four flicks that weren’t so fantastic.
Evans brings a wholesome edge to the character that rings true, but also presents a fierce independent streak. And the story? It suffices for now. Cap as he’s affectionately called takes on his arch nemesis Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and the organization he heads, Hydra.
Evans is signed for another five films, given what transpires in this one, it’s going to interesting to see how the character relates to the modern world. For now, revel in this one. It satisfies on many levels.
Extras: You gotta love it when the extra that you’re looking forward to most dealing with the assembly of The Avengers is little more than a glorified trailer. C’est la vie. That’s generally the only let down as First Avenger has what’s to be expected: deleted scenes – a couple that add some context, others that do not, director’s commentary and assorted featurettes. The pleasure here comes more from the movie, but the extra stuff does what it’s supposed to – complement.
There’s not a whole lot more in the extras department of Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy, the Steven Spielberg-produced (he directed the first two) debut on blu-ray today. After a cursory scan comparing the extras on the original DVDs to those on the blu-ray set, there’s not a lot that’s new.
So what’s the attraction? Well, if you’re a fan of Spielberg, it signals that more of his movies should be making their way to blu-ray and that’s a good thing.
Now to put together a list of his films that I want to add to my collection. Oh, wait. That’s everything. But can Jaws be next, please? Thank you.
Bargain bin:Stuff is scarce in the bargain bin this week. The only titles worthy of some mention: The Shining which can be had for $7.99 and Kick-Ass an interesting little flick based on a graphic novel