by LAUREN BANS
Captain America: The First Avenger
dir. Joe Johnston
Chris Evans is extremely attractive. Not in a sexual way, but in a glossy I wonder if I threw chewing gum at his chest it would bounce off? kind of way. Looking at him is like looking at a Chippendale calendar or one of the bright plastic desserts on the after dinner tray waitresses bring over to tempt you - incredibly appealing but infinitely replaceable.
Even his double first-name name, albeit totally fake (but whatever, postmodernism, blah blah blah), is a Zangwillian wet dream. I don’t care if this guy got his American visa yesterday, he is America incarnate.
Hence, Chris Evans is Captain America. We’re supposed to believe this is some sort of movie acting, when really it’s just analogous to The Switch. You know, Jason Bateman is Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds is Jason Bateman. Like my friend Devin says, "Why would anyone make a movie about them switching bodies when they’re already the same?"
Luckily, that’s the goal in Captain America. For the good of the country, a small outcast allows himself to be injected with a military scientist’s crazy growth serum (think: steroids on steroids) and goes from an individual to an ideal. His body explodes in size. Basically America creates a Frankenstein of Aryan perfection to fight the Nazis. Because that is the way we roll. We will steal your fascist standards, and then have them literally punch you in the face.
Note: Whatever technology they used to render Chris Evans small in the beginning is brilliant and amazing and Peter Dinklage better warn his agent. Though I am still very upset that Captain America's pants did not explode off during the super-sizing scene. It’s not right. His thigh 2.0 has the circumference of one of the smaller Great Lakes.
If you can stomach the tongue-in-cheek-so-we-can-get-away-with-it jingoistic tone (like all post-9-11 comic book movies have), Captain America is actually really good.
There’s only one moment when the rhetoric goes over the top in a way that veers on obnoxious. Captain America is engaged in fisticuffs with Red Skull (the Nazi’s abominable mutant) who, employing the Darth Vader flattery techinique, tries to get Captain America to switch sides. Like: You're special! Join forces with me. We will control all, etc. Captain America responds, "I’m not special. I’m like any one of those other guys out there." I mean, fuck you dude. You're seven feet tall and your arm alone could feed a family of nine. There's nothing like false modesty to make you really happy for the current "Army of One" branded rampantly narcissistic patriotism.
Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. She twitters here. She last wrote in these pages about Fast Five. You can find an archive of her writing at GQ here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.
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