Joe Johnston has created a fun, old fashioned, boys-own adventure film, set in the time of the original source material. Unlike Green Lantern, this movie has a very coherent, slowly built story and really takes its time to establish our hero. Unlike X-Men First Class, it doesn’t waste the source material with a lack of creativity.
Chris Evan’s transformation is simple yet engaging – going from the the scrawny boy with a good heart and a passionate wannabe, into the awesome, square jawed, ‘Johnny Rico’ all-American poster boy. He really is the perfect looking person for the part at least. Who cares if this story is essentially Spider-man set in a different context… it’s an unashamedly non-cynical movie in a cynical world. It’s exactly what we need.
As usual, Marvel have hidden lots of Avengers easter eggs inside the film, and the story looks like it is going to tie directly into Joss Whedon’s upcoming The Avengers in 2012.
I do think Hugo Weaving’s bad guy, Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull was potentially a bit too ‘comic bookey’ for modern audiences post-Dark Knight, but then again, this film doesn’t care about its recent competitors – it wants to be it’s own beast, harkening back to the days of Indiana Jones etc… In this regard, Johnston is also the perfect choice of director, having been mentored by Spielberg for many years.
The film’s downfall however is the lack of a truly memorable set piece. It lacks that major climactic battle that is fresh and original, and that is something that Spielberg would never fail to deliver on.