Just saw it and maybe i need time to digest but first impression is something between B and C for a few reasons.
From worst to very good
- the score was god awful
I've rarely heard a worse score in my life and i'm a guy who usually treats the score as background noise and hardly notices it unless it's really good (Lord Of the Rings, all John Williams' scores) but this one takes the cake. i get the intention.. being all heroic and that but it fails miserably, it amps up sometimes at the totally wrong moment and overdoes it at other. Just plain bad.
- Hugo Weaving/Red Skull
Huge fan of Weaving, he's an excellent actor but in this they dropped the ball to take advantage of his talent and skill. Beginning with the accent (painfully bad for german speaking folk like me) and ending with the absolute one dimensionality of the character. He was evil just because was the feeling i got.. he was the template for all cartoon villains and he would have fit right in with Saturday morning Warner Brothers cartoons just not that funny. Look to Ledger's Joker on how to do a proper, engaging and terrifying villain.
On to the good stuff
- Chris Evans / Steve Rogers
Pitch perfect is all i can say.. he embodied the role and made it his own much like Robert Downey Jr. is now Tony Stark or Christoper Reeve owns Superman. I absolutely adored skinny Steve and his forceful need to be part of something bigger, to serve his country and fight for what is right. He came across so believable and you couldn't but help root for him even after he gets turned down time and time again. It was so sad to see him struggle and Evans played it perfectly (props to the Special Effects guys for skinny Steve too.. amazing effect). I also loved the scenes with him as Captain America where he was still this humble guy (who could lift motorcycles with people on it) and especially when dealing with women where all his training and physique couldn't help him (a bastard guy would know how to exploit that and sleep around every chance he got). So while Batman got the amazing Heath Ledger to play the villain this movie got Evans to play Cap and it is good.
The not so good but tolerable
Well.. that covers the rest of the movie. As with all introduction movies it has to wander a fine line between introducing the characters and making us care for them vs. plot and action. You will never be able to satisfy everybody so with me those movies get judged a bit less because you just can't cram everything into 2 hours. With this movie i saw a solid action movie with some great ideas and some really bad ones (Red Skull was just bad.. no denying it) but overall it was enjoyable and engaging. Some plotholes i just couldn't get over (you have the one and only result of a highly experimental procedure and you waste him on PR? You could have put any physically fit guy into these pajamas and go) but those were made up by other things.. the Howling Commandos were awesome (good thing they opted not to include Fury since that would have been very odd in that reality) as was Bucky Barnes. Given that most modern comic book movies tend to include realism to some extent (no extreme flashy costumes for one) i liked it that Bucky wasn't a teenager here like he was in the comics. It may fly in comics to have a 16 year old fighting on the front in high risk engagements but it wouldn't in these movies so him being a grown up was fitting (and nice way to "kill" him off.. if there's not a body and all that
So a solid movie that could have been a disaster if not for Evans as Captain America. Definitely looking forward to his own movie sequel (i suppose the Avengers will not deal much with Rogers' own struggles) and how he adapts to our modern world. Part of what makes Cap interesting is that he acts as a mirror and conscience because he was raised as this straight up, all american guy from the greatest generation who gets to examine the world several generations away and how we have changed and maybe compromised ourselves and our values. If they explore that to a degree in the sequel and do it well i'll be happy.