Movies opening today: It's Captain America time, baby!

It's all about gung-ho World War II superheroics at South African cinemas this weekend. However, before I squee about Marvel's latest comic-to-film adaptation, you might want to know about today's other new releases:

Soul Surfer is an inspiring true-life tale, with spiritual leanings, about surfer Bethany Hamilton (played by AnnaSophia Robb), who loses her arm in a shark attack, and has to reassess her dreams. Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood and Craig T. Nelson also star. Soul Surfer is 50% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The film has been compared to heartwarming football drama The Blind Side.


The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford, is a historical courtroom drama - and true story - starring Robin Wright, James McAvoy and a host of other famous faces. Set in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865, Wright is the only women in the group of eight accused of plotting the murder. McAvoy is the Civil War veteran charged with her defense. 56% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


Tamara Drewe: The latest from acclaimed director Stephen Frears is a comedy-drama based, very surprisingly, on a collected newspaper comic series. Gemma Arterton stars as the title character, a successful journalist, and former ugly duckling, who returns to her sleepy hometown in the countryside only to find herself the target of much romantic interest. A film festival regular, and 65% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


That then leaves my big pick of the new releases...

Captain America: The First Avenger is screening in 2D and converted 3D, and is based, of course, on Marvel's patriotic super soldier - who loves a bit of Nazi bashing. Predominantly set during WWII, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a weakling who finally finds a way to do his bit for his country when he is chosen for an experiment designed to create the perfect, physically enhanced soldier. It's a good thing too, considering top Nazi, the hideous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) has plans for world domination.

For a time there were mutterings about shortening the film's title to The First Avenger when it released outside of the USA - for fear that the name Captain America would antagonise some audiences and affect box office takings internationally. I thought the move was silly, seeing as today, due to the nation's financial crisis, and more moderate leadership, the USA doesn't appear to be as much of a swaggering, self-obsessed bully as it was under the Dubya regime, for example. Anti-Americans have less reason to hate, or so I thought... until I expressed my excitement for Captain America among friends. The response? Eye rolls. "Captain Propaganda, more like." "Lamest fucking superhero ever."

I am not a member of this camp. The world will always need paladins as much as we scoff at them. And besides, I'm willing to bet this isn't jingoistic Captain America as he was written in 1942. This is Captain America as a principled and thinking young man who at some point will realise he's just a tool of the government, which is only interested in self-enrichment and self-protection instead of working towards a better, safer world.

Then again, I'm probably making the film sound heavier than it is. This a Marvel movie after all - light on issues and heavy on slick, good-looking fun. You can watch the trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger and read my earlier thoughts o the film here.

Captain America is currently 78% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. A hefty chunk of critics are calling it a good old fashioned blockbuster, with the costumed superheroics made more enjoyable by the film's 1940s setting. On the other side of the review fence, detractors are calling the movie yet another tired origin tale, no matter how you dress it.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Captian America looks cool but I would like to go and see the mary poppins broadway when it comes to las vegas.

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