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CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Joe Johnson, dir. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, script, based on the comic books by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. USA: Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios (prod.) // Paramount and UIP/UPI (dist.), 2011; see IMDb for details on distribution. Rick Heinrichs, production design. John Dexter, Chris Lowe, Andy Nicholson, supervising art directors.

Origin story for Captain America, significant here for the visuals of men (sic: few women here) inside high-tech, comic-book-World-War-II surroundings, including very close confinement inside a mechanical, medical, proto-electronic, and definitely electrical sarcophagus when the weakling Steve Rogers is changed into the larger, well-muscled man who becomes Captain America. (The mostly complete transformation of Rogers into the new hero is accomplished with very little training — and with C.A. given a technologically-induced specialized biology that will be bit-by-bit revealed, mostly for convenience of the plot and Avengers sequel[s]). The human/machine interfaces and interactions — including very nifty war-toys — are part of a larger scenic design on "The Gernsback Continuum," or, alternatively put, giving "The Way the Future Was," as seen in 1940s comic books. In the science-fictional parts of C.A., we have, then, lovingly rendered cinematic 21st-c. visions of futuristic labs and devices as seen in comic book Modernism and Futurism shortly before the middle of the 20th c. We get in the story an interesting conflation of Nordic myth, magic, and science — and see in the credits and elsewhere excellent variations on themes from Allied propaganda of WWII, with the poster art very nicely recreated. Cf. and contrast SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. CAUTION: The violence is pretty bloodless, and violence imaged without horrible consequences may be worse for kids to grow up on than graphic gore.

5. DRAMA, RDE, 24/VII/11