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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Collage and effects by AntonioPro65
I'm not an expert in action movies but this one was fun. What I appreciated was the humor substituting the self-celebrative tone I expected. Captain America - The First Avenger is one of those movies my elder son and my husband would have gone and seen together. Since my son  was away on holiday,  my husband went like: "Shall we go together?  The two of us? You don't want to miss Richard, do you?" (Yes, he calls him Richard, as if he were an old family friend) I accepted of course, though I was really worried I would get bored after a while, that is after Heinz Kruger's last scene (that is quite soon, unfortunately).
I'm proud to say I didn't giggle or squee, I sat silently and  quietly all the time, I didn't cover my eyes once and I went on focused on the plot till the end, even once Richard Armitage was out of the games. It was fun, really. Not my cup of tea but amusing. As said, there was both action and humor. Not that bad, after all  (go on reading for more info & pics!)

New York, the 1930s. The film is the story of a very small kid , victim of bullying and  mockery, who is at the same time strong-willed, determined, brave and good-hearted, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) A scientific experiment turns him into a super soldier, all strength and muscles: Captain America. In the lab where the experiment is carried out an elegant tall man, who introduces himself as Fred Clemson  from the State Department, watches every detail from behind his thick glasses. He has piercing blue eyes.  Gorgeous bloke. Ehm... Soon after the experiment is over and everybody else is stunned and admires the miraculous result - that is, undersized Steve Rogers  turned into an all-muscles Adonis -  the man lit up his lighter provoking a big explosion in order  to divert the attention of the audience and the staff  from himself.  He is actually Heinz Kruger, German secret agent working for Hydra and he is there to steal the secret of the fluid created by Dr Erskine (Stanley Tucci). He is ready to anything to achieve his purpose. He steals a vial and runs away shooting (close-ups of beutiful hands on the gun butt) and being shot at the same time.  Wounded in one of his shoulders by Peggy Carter,  Kruger escapes in a feline running-style,  killing  Dr Erskine, a coulple of soldiers  and an old woman on his way out the building. A frantic chase follows (Manchester and Liverpool  locations for New York in the 30s) with the newly created superhero running as fast as Kruger's car.
After the driver of his  first black car is killed by Peggy Carter  (Hayley Atwell), Kruger drives a yellow taxi himself, (close-ups of beautiful hands on the steering wheel) and after fighting and skipping bullets from any possible direction, he finally manages to reach a superfast submarine waiting for him at the port.  After menacing the crowd there, grasping a boy and menacing to kill him with his gun  and after throwing the kid into the deep water (breathe, he can swim!) Kruger gets on board. But Stevens grasps him  out of his space-age submarine and ... "Who the hell are you?" "I'm the first of many". It's already time to say good-bye to Heinz Kruger.
Ten minutes, one suit, two or three lines and some shouting in German and English,  some great close-ups, quite a bit of running-shooting-driving-fighting, 4 people murdered, a young boy menaced with a pistol and then thrown into the sea, wicked stares and an incredible gadget and  then...  bye-bye Heinz. Well done, Richard. Short but intense performance.

The rest of the movie? I saw it, carefully, but if you want to know more, just go and watch it yourself, or look for a proper review by a less biased watcher. 
Brilliant stellar cast, half British and half American. Several faces  familiar to period drama lovers like me.
Among the others: Dominic Cooper (Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility 2008, Charles Grey in The Duchess, or Danny in An Education) is ingenious Howard Stark (Iron Man's father); J.J Feild (Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey 2007, Frederick Garland in The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North , now shooting Austenland as Henry Nobley) is one of Captain America rough brave men, Jame Montgomery Falsworth; Hayley Atwell (Aliena in The Pillars of the Earth, Freya in Any Human Heart, Bess Foster in The Duchess) is Peggy Carter.

Once back home, I found this article online - thanks to the link on - in which Richard Armitage talks to Jasper Rees about his face being not exactly "a nice-guy face". Actually, I can't agree with him. What about Harry Jasper Kennedy? Or the kind gently smiling face we are used to in his interviews? His face can be what he wants: cold and despising, smiling and caring, brooding and menacing, charming and sexy. We've seen that all over these years and he should stop being always so humble and self-deprecating. He is such a detailed actor he can just tranforms himself into another human being and convincingly so. I've seen a very wicked one this afternoon, he was not at all kind Richard, he was cold-hearted Heinz.
Richard is not at all aggressive but Mr Rees in this article defines his personality that of a  "pussycat ". He is no pussycat but a manly, "granite and stubble", handsome bloke self - determined and hard-working. Is being kind and humble so incredibly  far off  the 21st century man stereotype? Poor us. 
In this interview Richard talks about the gap between the characters he plays and his real self, about the difficulties he met shooting some scenes under water for Captain America and the training to be Thorin in The Hobbit. Here's the bit about Captain America and the scenes under water:

“I am just not a water baby. I can swim but I just don’t. Everyone else is jumping in and I’ll go, ’You know what? I’ll just stand on the side.’
“I did four weeks of scuba training for the sequence and made myself do fifty lengths every day. Then we were at the bottom of a tank and there was ten metres above you.” All 15 or 16 stone of him shudders at the memory of the moment the divers confiscated his goggles and breathing line. “They had put a microphone in the water so you could hear them say, 'Just waiting for the bubbles to clear.’ I’m at the bottom of the tank thinking, I’ve taken a deep breath but I haven’t got enough air. When they asked me to do it again I was sitting in the dressing room crying, 'I can’t!’”

In another scene they put him in an empty box within a container filled with water. “They wanted to smash a window and the water rush in quickly. They’d put all the safety things in place but you can’t fool the brain: you have a fight-or-flight mechanism that you can’t control. I smashed the roof off.”

I loved this interview. But I noticed a strange statement which certainly isn't anything from Richard Armitage: One day he’d like to have a go at ultimate baddie Richard III. I'm afraid Mr Rees is not well informed: Richard wants to play  Richard III  as the ultimate good Plantagenet monarch of England. Read the complete article at

Collages by my husband antoniopro65 and 


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