It’s a weird premise, one which doesn’t make much sense under scrutiny. But the film makes it easy to suspend your disbelief by using gorgeous visuals and a constant sense of simultaneous dread and anticipation. Each time they go to a new car, it’s like opening a present. The anxious wonder at what could come next is half the fun. There are some glorious and graphic fight scenes, plenty of wonderful, weird characters, and an intriguing twist followed by a spectacular finale.
Captain America 2 felt more like a modern action thriller than a superhero film, and that is perfectly OK. It had all the slick melees, gunfights, and car chases you could ask for, never really giving the excitement time to wind down. Even Samuel L. Jackson finally gets a good action sequence. What downtime it does have is filled with Marvel-brand humor, so it flows by easily. Its only real fault is predictability, a fault which truthfully lies with the trailers and my knowledge of the comics, so it’s easily forgiven. It’s certainly better than the first film, and easily the best phase 2 Marvel film so far.
Avengers represents everything that is great about the summer blockbuster. It was witty, entertaining, and full of memorable moments. The characters were portrayed exactly as I’d hoped, with a surprising amount of depth given the limited amount of screen time available that comes from having such a large cast. My only real complaint was that the enemy aliens were fairly bland, though to counter that, their big snake ship things were fairly awesome.
Captain America offers no surprises and no scene truly wowed me. That said, I wasn’t at all disappointed. It took a while for him to really get down to the real Captain America-ing, but that was ok, since that time was spent building interesting characters. Hugo Weaving was great as Red Skull but his accent wavered, and that’s being generous. I also really liked how it began to tie everything together for Avengers, such as the elder Stark and Norse references. Forgoing a scene post-credits for an Avengers trailer however, was not cool.