Director: Joe Johnston
Captain America: Chris Evans
Bucky: Sebastian Stan
Peggy Carter: Hayley Atwell
Red Skull: Hugo Weaving
Colonel Phillips: Tommy Lee Jones
Howard Stark: Dominic Cooper
Dr. Erskine: Stanley Tucci
Does it really shock you that Captain America ends with an unfulfilled romance? Superhero movies are kind of conditioning us to expect it.
Batman Begins: The movie ends with Rachel telling Bruce she can't be with him.
Spider-Man: The movie ends with Peter telling Mary Jane he doesn't love her romantically (liar).
Thor: Ends with Jane attempting to find a way to reach Thor, since they've been separated
Green Lantern: Hal and Carol have a moment together, but Hal must leave to defend the galaxy
Hancock: The climax is Hancock running away so that Mary might live (the longer they're in close proximity, the more mortal they become...awww).
Iron Man: The penultimate scene is of Tony attempting to make a move on Pepper and Pepper denying him with cool professionalism (even if this is "in character" for both Tony and Pepper and a twist on the "romantic letdown" because it's done with such a light, non-melodramatic tone--the fact remains the structure is the same: the hero is frustrated in the last few minutes).
Superman Returns: less melodramatic, but same idea. Clark and Lois talking. She has a life she can't leave for him, despite their love. He understands this. He'll be around. Flies away. Sigh.
Or the movie ends with the hero romantically fulfilled: Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 2, Iron Man 2, Hellboy, Superman, Fantastic Four.
Taken on its own merits, I think Captain America is fine. The final, despairing line Steve Rogers utters is poignant in the context that here he is 70 years in the future, standing in the middle of Time Square, and instead of being amazed by the technologically advanced world around him he's longing for the girl that's not.
But, in the scheme of the modern superhero movie, concluding with a hamstrung or happy heart is overdone, cliche.
You might be thinking: "what else can they do? If the character has a love interest, the character will end up either unhappy or content." This is true. But I'm saying that this shouldn't always happen at the very end of the movie. Star Wars, for example: episode IV hinted at romantic interest between Leia and Luke, and Leia and Han Solo. But the first movie left these strings in mid-arc. Episode V developed it further--but not as a major story-line...it's just something that is brewing as these characters interact. It isn't until Episode VI that the love plot really comes to the forefront.
Studios launch these superhero movies hoping they will be multi-film franchises. But they're lacking the finesse of a TV series or comic book and I believe under-utilizing the potential to, like Star Wars (the latter episodes), subtly and intricately manipulate viewers interest and concern over the long-haul.
It's common knowledge that an early climax is no where near as rewarding as one that's built up.
Superhero movies I can think of that don't end this way:
X-Men (but it's shitty in a multitude of other ways).
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie.
Did I Like It:
Yes. I'm talking bad about superhero films (but I like all the films listed above), I'm not really trouncing Captain America. Or any of the films (as single entries). But as part of a genre...
Anyway: I thought it was cooler than expected. Chris Evans was much better than I thought he'd be. I enjoyed the pacing and development of the"Captain America" persona. The montage of action scenes looked cool but lacked substance. There were some shots and cuts that were really strange. Like Cap jumping from the tank in an ugly 3D spectacle that makes the tank appear 60 feet tall. Or one moment, Cap is standing still and sees Red Skull driving a plane along a runway, and in the next shot Cap is sprinting full-speed after the plane--it's just...disjointed. Also: Cap leaping 30 feet over hellfire and Johnston cutting in the middle of the jump for dramatic effect...we know he makes it...it's not a mystery...why even have him make a jump like that?.
I liked all the actors and seeing a young Howard Stark.
Every time the Red Skull's soldiers did the "Heil Hydra" double-fist salute, people in the theater laughed.
I think for CA to have been GREAT, it would need to be half an hour longer and really give depth to the relationships and conflict (The Dark Knight is 152 min for a reason). Or just have prolonged scenes of Cap fighting. Or be V for Vendetta.
What It's Good For:
-Chris Evans fans
-more of The Avengers set-up
-some shitty 3D shots
-underdeveloped bad guy and love story
-why do the flamethrower people not just...incinerate Cap? (I can't remember if they wanted to capture him or if they were actually trying to kill him, but if they were trying to kill him, they should have actually tried)
-why does Captain America crash the plane in ice? Weren't there...a lot of other options?
% Character / % Actor's personality or previous roles