Sunday, July 24, 2011

the first avenger

I never read a Captain America comic book, so I don't really know much about the character, but the new movie, "Captain America: the First Avenger" is very good. It doesn't flinch from making Americans the good guys like some recent films have done (ok, like GI Joe did). It has a good guy that you want to cheer for and a bad guy that you want to boo. The action scenes and 3d effects are fun and entertaining.

The romance between the female lead and the hero is very much like what one might have seen in a move from the 1940s. Thankfully the screen writes managed to resist the cliche of having the couple end up in bed together just before the climactic battle. Unfortunately, they didn't resist the cliche of making the woman be "as good as a man" at fighting.

This cliche annoys me as much as the knife-throwing cliche. Knife-throwing is really hard. I know because I've spent time practicing it. Yet 9 out of 10 action heroes is able to whip out a knife in an emergency and throw it thirty feet into the throat of the bad guy. Look, screen-play writers, the whole reason that knife throwing used to be dramatic is because in real life it is a very hard thing to do. It requires hundreds of hours of dedicated training to get good and regular practice to stay good. Because the skill is so hard to acquire, it made the hero more impressive for having the skill. But by now it has been so over used that it's just another cliche. No one even thinks about how hard it would be to do that because it is just one of the arsenal of skills that every action hero is expected to have.

Same thing with women fighters. In real life, there are very few women who could last even two minutes in the ring with any reasonably athletic man. It would require the same sort of dedicated training that professional athletes engage in and even then the woman would not do very well against men who are trained fighters. Consequently, a warrior woman who could kick the crap out of a male warrior was an impressive and dramatic character. Now, it's just the expected thing of women in action movies. Hollywood screen writers have ruined the drama by turning an impressive character into a cliche.

Er. Back to the movie review ... actually, this isn't so much a review as a recommendation. I give the move 4 out of 5 stars.