I can't help thinking about the great Captain America: The First Avenger which I saw over the weekend. My son, wife, and I have caught all the big summer movies together, from Thor to Transformers 3 (except HP7, only because I think the storyline is too dense for my almost 6 yr old to enjoy). We had planned to see it opening night, but with the insane heatwave gripping NYC and my son coming off a stomach virus, we waited till Sunday, and it was well worth the wait.
While the trailers and the commercials looked pretty cool, I didn't have great expectations. Yet I loved the concept of telling the story as it should be--in the WWII era--because although I was a fan of Captain America from the 70s and 80s (when I first started reading the comic), he was always part of the Greatest Generation.
Joe Johnston did a wonderful job directing. He did an excellent job on the underated The Wolfman last year and had honed his craft in effects and art direction in the original Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark. He did direct Jurassic Park III and Captain America definitely had a Spielbergian pace and feel to it. In other words, it felt like Indian Jones with Superheroes which is infinitely cool.
Yet the best thing about the movie is that it focused on the essence of Captain America as a hero. It was the proverbial 90 lb weakly, Steve Rogers, from Brooklyn that was the hero. He is the one that never gave up, who kept on fighting against the odds. Who tried 5 times to enlist in the Army but was turned down because of his medical issues. Who would freely give his life to save his comrades. That is true heroism. Not the fantastic feats, but the strength of character in willing to sacrifice oneself to save others. That is Captain America. His superpowers accentuated the hero within, it didn't create it.
I'm excited about The Avengers with the teaming up Captain America, Thor, Iron-Man, and the Hulk coming out next year, but I'm a little saddened that we won't be seeing Captain America back in WWII. Iron Man, played masterfully by Robert Downey Jr., is the Superhero of our time. In other words, Iron Man is the Superhero of who we are, but Captain America is the Superhero of who we should be.