movies

Superhero Movies

This week’s movie/sermon combo was Captain America. This was one of the two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies I’d seen (the first Guardians of the Galaxy was the other). I watched it when it was on cable while Agent Carter was running, since I wanted to get her backstory. I checked the DVD out of the library to watch it again to refresh myself before the sermon.

I guessed correctly what the pastor would discuss: the idea that it’s your heart that’s what’s important. The scripture used for the sermon was the story of how David was chosen to be king of Israel, with Samuel wanting to choose the handsome oldest brother and God telling him that He doesn’t see as men see, but looks at the heart. The movie clip used to illustrate the sermon was the part where Tommy Lee Jones’s character throws the grenade into the group of candidates, thinking he’s going to prove his point about the big, strong guy being the man for the super soldier program. Instead, that guy immediately ducks behind a car. It’s scrawny weakling Steve Rogers who throws himself on the grenade to save all his fellow soldiers (it turns out to have been a dummy grenade and a test).

The pastor didn’t mention it, but I thought there was also a good point in the follow-up scene when the scientist is talking to Steve the night before the treatment and talks about how people who are strong naturally may not really appreciate strength, while the weaker man would. That fits the spiritual message about knowing that what you have is a gift, and not the result of what you’ve done.

As for the movie, I love the characters, the casting was brilliant, and I can get on board with the concept, but I found the actual movie kind of boring. It’s a similar problem I have with most superhero movies (and why I’ve seen so few). I think it has to do with some of the same reasons I don’t really like comic books and graphic novels. I’m very verbal, and I don’t seem to process visual information well. If there aren’t any words, it doesn’t mean a lot to me. Anything with a lot of non-verbal action sequences, just fight-fight-fight, is a blur to me and I get bored. I noticed that while watching this movie. I was engaged when the characters were talking, but I’d zone out in the action sequences. I recall being the same way when seeing Wonder Woman. I liked the movie up to the last big action sequence, and then was bored.

There have been exceptions that I’ll have to analyze. For instance, WALL-E was practically a silent movie, but I was totally engaged, and I love The Terminator, which is one big chase scene. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like fight scenes, but then I loved the sword fight in The Princess Bride — but it was loaded with dialogue. There’s just something about superhero fight scenes that I find boring — usually two super-strong people punching each other and doing impossible stunts. I suspect I’m not the target audience for these things.

But if I were to get into a superhero, I think Captain America might be it. Steve Rogers is basically my type. I just wish they’d kept him in the WWII era longer because I find that more interesting, and I like the other characters from that era (which is why I loved the Agent Carter series). But I guess they had to move him to the present right away to do the Avengers movie. I’d be somewhat interested in seeing what they did with Captain America in the present, but that would require seeing the Avengers movies, which would require seeing all the others to get the backstory leading into the Avengers movie, and that’s getting to be just a bit too much homework to see what happens to one character. Maybe when they do the Disney streaming service and I can watch them all gradually I’ll give it a try.

The next movie they’re doing is We Bought a Zoo, which I know nothing about, so I guess I’ll go to the Friday-night screening.

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