Friday, July 29, 2011

Making Mine Marvel Yet Again

The Spew Family kicked off Spew-fest 2011 (celebrating the origins of the superhero Spew) by going to see Captain America. This has been quite a summer for superhero movies, with a wonderfully cheesy Cap entertaining us while saving the world from the Red Skull and other Nazi folks. 

The Captain America of the comic books rarely interested me, as he was generally portrayed as fairly uptight and not especially dynamic.  As a symbol of all that is good and right, he tended to be pretty stiff.  The good news about this movie, despite being based on a potentially boring character, is that it really was engrossing, entertaining and even funny.  Chris Evans was actually pretty interesting as Steve Rogers, showing the evolution from gutsy weakling to determined super-hero.  Hugo Weaving was delightfully nasty and arrogant as Red Skull.  Tommy Lee Jones was terrific as Colonel Tommy Lee Jones.  He just chewed every scene he was in.  Stanley Tucci, as the German emigre scientist who comes up with the super-soldier serum, is pretty strong in a small part.  Hayley Atwell is suitably enchanting. 

The movie had much more humor and not just due to Tommy Lee.  The kid in the first Cap-powered action scene was funny as well.  It was very much a World War II kind of picture with heaps of kicking Nazi butt.

What would the gawker formula give the movie?    Remember, it is: Origin Story + Meaningful Conflict) X Awesomeness of Powers - (The Number of Villains X The Number of Sidekicks) ÷ Amount of Time Spent on the Love Interest = The Quality of the Movie.

  • Origin Story is a 9: we see Steve as 98 pound weakling, pushing to play his role in the last Great War, getting his newfangled steroids, trying on a variety of shields and uniforms, and then getting frozen in ice.
  • Meaningful Conflict is 9: Red Skull has new technology that threatens worldwide destruction.  Not bad.
  • Awesomeness of Powers: Ok.  Steve Rogers is now muscly, taller, faster, and can now play the frisbee game of guts with his shield.  The only other person with Red Skull, whose powers are pretty similar to Cap's: 5.
  • Number of villains: 1 main ones plus an army of hydra folks who are very easy to defeat and one mad scientist that flips pretty quickly:1
  • Number of sidekicks:  Bucky and the five Barkin' Commandos: 6.
  • Amount of Time on Love Interest: 3.  Hayley Atwell is not just lovely with super-strong red lipstick, but does pick up her own gun to fight the Hydra folks.  Only one kiss before Steve disappears for seventy years, alas. 
Which equals ([(9+9)*5)-(1*6)]/3=26.  This should make the movie worse than Thor, but it was not.  Perhaps the equation misses a key multiplier: x2 for delightful cheese for 52, better than Thor, almost as good as X-Men First Class, much better than Green Lantern.

So far, this summer looks like Super 8 > HP8 > Horrible Bosses > Captain America > Thor > Green Lantern, although a second viewing of HP8 is necessary to figure this out.

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