PEGGY CARTER – WHY CAPTAIN AMERICA WORKS

July 22, 2011

SO HULK SAW CAPTAIN AMERICA LAST NIGHT AND HULK LIKED IT VERY MUCH SO.

IN FACT, IT FLIRT BETWEEN BEING PRETTY GOOD AND BEING AN OUTRIGHT BLAST. THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH “REVIEWING” IT, THAT ASIDE FROM ONE INTERESTING ASPECT THERE ALSO NOT A LOT TALK ABOUT. IF HULK DID, SO MUCH WOULD BE SIMPLY LISTING OF “YEAH, THAT WORKED. AND THAT WORKED. SO DID THAT.” AND SO ON. BUT THAT THE MIRACULOUS THING, IT NOT TRY COAST ON ANY SINGULAR OUTSTANDING ASPECT AND INSTEAD RELY ON THE BASIC TENETS OF STORYTELLING AND DO EVERYTHING WELL. WHICH THE RAREST THING IN A BLOCKBUSTER THESE DAYS.

FOR THE SAKE OF BEING THOROUGH A FEW SHORT BLURBS WILL SUFFICE:

THINGS THAT FIT RIGHT INTO PLACE:

1) CHRIS EVANS NAILS HUMILITY – THAT PARAMOUNT TO EVERYTHING. CAP NOT CHARMING AND WITTY LIKE IRON MAN. HE NOT PROUD, BOASTFUL, AND FUNNY LIKE THOR. HE NOT DARK, BROODING, AND TORTURED LIKE HULK.(i) NO, CAP SOMEONE WHO EARNEST, SHY, AND INHERENTLY “GOOD.” AS STUPID AS HULK FEEL HAVING TO EVEN SAY THIS, THAT ACTUALLY VERY HARD THING HAVE COME ACROSS ON SCREEN. ONE IMAGINES YOU COULD PROP UP ANYONE INTO THAT ROLE, BUT THEN THEY WOULD JUST COME OFF AS EITHER  BLANDY-BLANDERSON OR A GUY WHO SUPER PREACHY/COCKY. SO ACHIEVING THAT STASIS OF HUMILITY RATHER DIFFICULT. BUT HULK ALWAYS KNEW EVANS HAD THAT RANGE IN HIM. IT MAY BE HARD TO IMAGINE FROM THE GUY WHO OFTEN PLAYS THE FUN-LOVING RAPSCALLION (FANTASTIC FOUR/THE LOSTERS) OR THE DOUCHEBAG ACTOR (SCOTT PILGRIM). BUT HULK SEEN SUNSHINE, A FILM IN WHICH EVANS WAS SNEAKY-REMARKABLE. HIS CHARACTER NOT EVOLVE PER SAY, BUT INSTEAD SHOW A GRADUAL RANGE. ANYWHO, THIS GOING TO ELEVATE THINGS FOR HIM AND HULK KEEP LOOKING FORWARD TO HIS FUTURE…. ALSO DAAAAYYYYYUM BOY WHERE YOU GET THEM PECKS! NOT THAT HULK IMPRESSED. HULK COULD CRUSH YOU LIKE PUNY HUMAN. HULK JUST SAYING THAT “DAAAAAYYYYUM” FOR HUMAN STANDARDS.

2) JOE JOHNSTON’S PRODUCTION DESIGN- HULK WOULD DEFINITELY VISIT THE CAPTAIN AMERICA PROP HOUSE AND BE OCCUPIED FOR DAYS AND DAYS.

3) GREAT SCORE – CHECK IT OUT!

4) A SCREENPLAY THAT KNOWS HOW TO STRUCTURE – HULK WILL DIVE IN LATER, BUT ALL THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAPTAIN AMERICA HANDLED RATHER WELL. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THEY DON’T GO AN OBTUSE ROUTE AND GIVE HIM A BIG (NEEDLESS) CHARACTER ARC. THEY RECOGNIZE IT MORE ABOUT GETTING THE WORLD TO RECOGNIZE WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE CAN BE. WRITERS CHRIS MARKUS AND STEPHEN MCFREELY DID BANG UP JOB (NOT TO MENTION UNCREDITED RE-WRITE BY JOSS WHEDON. WHO ALL OVER THIS).

5) THE HOWLIN’ COMMANDOS – DESPITE LIMITED SCREEN TIME, THEY COME ACROSS EFFECTIVELY. AND HULK PARTICULARLY LIKED THE TOUCH OF MAKING BUCKY HIS CHILDHOOD FRIEND AND PUTTING THEM THROUGH ROLE REVERSAL. IT RESONATED VERY NICELY.

THINGS THAT ARE HOME RUNS:

1) EARLY ON, STANLEY TUCCI SHOWS UP AND SUDDENLY THE MOVIE GETS CALLED UP TO THE MAJORS. HULK ALWAYS BITCH ABOUT HOW IN “AWARDS SEASON” ROLES LIKE THIS GET LEFT BY WAYSIDE JUST BECAUSE THEY NOT “SERIOUS” MOVIES. UGH. NONSENSE. SURE, HE NOT IN IT THAT LONG, BUT BY THE TIME CAP OFF IN FIGHTING NAZIS AND HYDRAS, TUCCI’S ROLE ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED. HE SIMPLY INCREDIBLE IN THE FILM, ELEVATING FAIRLY STANDARD TROPE INTO SOMETHING THAT EXCEPTIONAL. HIS DOCTOR ERKSINE OBVIOUSLY WISE, BUT HE ALSO IMBUE THE CHARACTER WITH A KIND OF SOBERING HILARITY. HULK THROW AROUND WORD “TRANSCENDENT” A LOT, BUT HULK NOT USING IT TO MEAN “OMG AMAZING!” HULK USE IT TO MEAN WHEN SOMETHING WAY BETTER THAN IT SHOULD BE. WHEN IT “TRANSCEND” THE SHACKLES OF THE STATUS QUO. IN THIS CASE,  HULK ASK YOU WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO MAKE THIS ROLE ANY BETTER? HULK ARGUE NOTHING.

2) AND THE SAME GOES FOR TOMMY LEE JONES… HULK FIND THAT LIGHTING STRIKING TWICE DOWNRIGHT REMARKABLE. AGAIN, IT COULD BE JUST ANOTHER TEXTBOOK ROLE, BUT JONES SIMPLY OWNS IT. HE FULLY INVESTED, TOWING THE LINE OF FUNNY AND GRIZZLED. ANY EVIDENCE NEEDED CAN BE FOUND HIS MOST-EXCELLENT “INTERROGATION” SCENE WITH TOBY JONES (IT THE LITTLE THINGS. LIKE HOW HE CASUALLY TAKES HE STEAK BACK). HULK LOVED IT.

OKAY, PHEW. HULK DONE LISTING REPETITIVE SUPERLATIVES. SO NOW IT TIME FOR:

THE HUGE MAIN INTERESTING TALKING POINT THAT MAKE THE MOVIE WORK:

HULK WANT TO TALK ABOUT PEGGY CARTER AND STORYTELLING 101, BECAUSE HULK ARGUE THEY THE REASON THE FILM REALLY WORKS.

FOR ONE, SHE HAVE TO WORK OR ELSE THE MOVIE FAIL. WHILE IN THE SCRIPTING STAGE, THE WRITERS COULD HAVE SIDELINED PEGGY CARTER AS MERE LIP SERVICE, AS THE MAJORITY OF SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS ARE WANT TO DO WITH THESE STRANGE “WOMEN” PEOPLE. BUT INSTEAD THEY MADE CHOICE TO BRING HER TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE FILM. HULK NOT EXAGGERATING, SHE IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE MOVIE. AND IF THE FILM DIDN’T DO IT THEIR STORY JUSTICE, THEN IT WOULD HAVE FAILED EASILY.

HOLLYWOOD’S INCLINATION TO MARGINALIZE FEMALE CO-STARS TEND TO DRIVE HULK BATTY. THEN AGAIN, MOST SCREENWRITERS ARE MEN, AND A GOOD MAJORITY OF THEM WOULDN’T HAVE SINGLE CLUE HOW TO WRITE WOMEN. EVER WONDER WHY SO MANY MOVIES JUST MAKE THEIR FEMALE LEADS EITHER BACKGROUND DAMSELS OR JUST ANOTHER GRUNT WITH A GUN? (ii)

PEGGY CARTER NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS. SHE NOT HIS SIDEKICK WITH BOOBS. SHE NOT MERELY HIS “LOVE INTEREST.”

SHE SMART, CAPABLE, SOLDIERLY, AND DISTINCTLY FEMININE.

OF COURSE, NONE OF THAT POSSIBLE WITHOUT HAYLEY ATWELL.

HER

HULK THOUGHT SHE GREAT. TRUE, SHE NOT SUBLIME OR TRANSCENDENT LIKE TUCCI AND TOMMY LEE (WHO COULD BE THOUGH?) BUT SHE CONTINUE TO PROVE THAT CASTING PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN ANY MOVIE; EVEN A DECENT ACTOR CAN BRING DOWN GREAT WRITING IF THEY NOT UP TO IT OR NOT THE RIGHT FIT. IRONMAN DID 70% OF THEIR WORK THE SECOND THEY CAST ROBERT DOWNEY JR. AND GWENYTH PALTROW. CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYONE ELSE IN THAT ROLE BUT RDJ? OF COURSE NOT. IT THAT CRITICAL. SO WITH ATWELL, SURE, MAYBE THERE A BUNCH OF GREAT ACTRESSES OUT THERE WHO COULD HAVE DONE WELL WITH THIS FULLY REALIZED ROLE, BUT SHE THE ONE THEY PICKED AND SHE REALLY MADE MOST OF IT. SHE CONVEYED EVERYTHING AT RIGHT TIME, DISPLAYING A PROFESSIONAL AND DEMURE EXTERIOR, WHILE HANDLING THE FULL ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTIONS JUST THROUGH HER EYES. HULK THOUGHT EVERYTHING ABOUT PEGGY CARTER JUST SPOT ON: HER PERFORMANCE, THE DIRECTION OF HER SCENES, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THE WRITING BEHIND HER CHARACTER.

WHEN HULK TALK ABOUT “WRITING” HULK NOT TALKING ABOUT “WITTY DIALOGUE.” THE FACT THAT THAT WHAT SYNONYMOUS WITH GOOD WRITING DRIVE HULK UP WALL. BUT THEN AGAIN THAT LIKELY THE ONLY TANGIBLE DETAIL PEOPLE CAN PICK UP. NOR THE WRITING HULK TALKING ABOUT = TONE, STRUCTURE, PACE OR DETAIL (THOUGH THOSE OBVIOUSLY CRITICAL)… THE WRITING HULK TALKING ABOUT THE INVISIBLE WORK OF GIVING SCENES MEANING.

TO ILLUSTRATE, LET HULK COMPARE THE TREATMENT OF CHARACTER SCENE MEANINGS BETWEEN TWO MARVEL LEADING LADIES, CAPTAIN AMERICA‘S PEGGY CARTER AND THOR’S JANE FOSTER.

FIRST OFF, LETS WORK ON ASSUMPTION THAT BOTH PERFORMANCES EQUAL. IN THE ROLE, HAYLEY IS CHARMING, SEXY, PRESENT, AND ALL THAT GOOD STUFF. AND NATALIE PORTMAN IS, OBVIOUSLY, NO SLOUCH EITHER. FOR ALL THE FLACK THAT THOR GOT, THE TWO LEADS DO THEIR DAMNEDEST TO CREATE A SENSE OF CHEMISTRY AND ATTRACTION, BOTH OF WHICH HULK ARGUE END UP BEING PRESENT IN FINAL PRODUCT. HULK ARGUE THAT THOR EVEN MANAGED TO FIND RIGHT TONE AN ENERGY FOR THEIR SCENES (MEANING THEY “FELT” RIGHT). SO WHY DID THOR‘S RELATIONSHIP FAIL AND CAP‘S SUCCEED?

BECAUSE THEIR SCENES IN THOR HAD VERY LITTLE STORY/CHARACTER MEANING.

SORRY YOU TWO. IT NOT YOUR FAULT.

HERE IS THE NARRATIVE ARC FOR THOR AND JANE: SHE KEEP RUNNING OVER HIM WITH HER CAR. SHE THINKS HE CRAZY. SHE SO ATTRACTED TO HIS MUSCLES IT MAKE HER NERVOUS. THEY FLIRT. HE CONTINUE TO GIVE HER NO EVIDENCE THAT HE NOT CRAZY. SHE PUT TRUST IN HIM FOR SOME REASON. THEN THEY LOVE EACH OTHER FOR SOME REASON. SHE RESTORES HIS HUMILITY FOR SOME REASON. HE GETS TRAPPED BACK IN ASGARD. SHE VOWS TO KEEP SEARCHING FOR HIM.

AS MUCH AS GOODWILL AS THE TWO LEADS PUT INTO IT, THEIR STORY NEVER COMPUTES. IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEIR SCENES, THE WRITERS NOT GIVE THEM NARRATIVE REASON TO LIKE EACH OTHER, NOR GIVE THEM A STRONG ENOUGH REASON TO EVEN TRY. THE NARRATIVE REASON FOR THEIR LOVE ESSENTIALLY COME DOWN TO “PRETTY PEOPLE LIKE EACH OTHER.” WHICH IN TURN SOLELY MAKES LOVE STORY FULLY DEPENDENT ON THE ASSUMPTION OF THEY’LL “TOTALLY HAVE CHEMISTRY” OR WHATEVER. FOR EXAMPLE, BOTH THE SCENE IN THE TRAILER AND THE SCENE ON THE ROOF FEEL LIKE “NOW HERE’S THE SCENE WHERE WE ARE INTIMATE AND START LIKING EACH OTHER, SO LET’S TRY AND MAKE THAT HAPPEN.” READ: IT FELT FORCED. AND THAT NOT LOVE. IT THE IDEA OF LOVE. THOR REALLY DO HAVE A LOT OF CHARM AND ENERGY TO IT, BUT IT NOT WORK ON LARGER STORY LEVEL BECAUSE NONE OF THE SCENES HAVE MEANING OR INTENTION INGRAINED INTO IT ON A STORY LEVEL. IT JUST ASSUMED.

NOW HERE IS THE NARRATIVE ARC FOR CAP AND PEGGY (OH AND TONS OF SPOILERS AND SHIT): SHE FIRST SHOW UP AT HIS TRAINING. AT FIRST SHE THE CAUTIOUS OBSERVER, SEEING HIM THE LITTLE WEAKLING. HER FIRST INSTINCT PROTECTIVE. SHE THEN GET TO SEE HIS INGENUITY (THE FLAG) AND THEN SEE HIS HUMILITY AND COURAGE (THE GRENADE). THEY HAVE FIRST BONDING MOMENT OVER THEIR MUTUAL “HAVING TO WORK FOR IT.” SHE BEGINS TO SEE WHAT ERKSINE SEE IN HIM. BEFORE HE TRANSFORMS THEY HAVE A BRIEF “CONNECTING” MOMENT WHERE SHE GETS TO SEE HOW SHY AND GENUINE HE IS TOO. TURNS OUT THERE A PROBLEM WITH THE TRANSFORMATION AND SHE RUN OUT FOR THEM TO STOP, SHOWING FIRST TIME HOW SHE CARES ABOUT HIM. HE THEN FULLY TRANSFORMED AND SUDDENLY SHE GETS A GIRL BONER FOR HIM.(iii) THE MOMENT SUDDENLY UPENDED BY THE ATTACK ON ERKSINE, NOW MAKING THEM PRESS ON TOGETHER ALONE. WHEN CAP LATER JOINS THE WAR, SHE SEES WHAT NEUTERED STATE HE IN AND IMMEDIATELY AIDS HIM IN HIS EFFORT TO GO SAVE THE CAPTURED TROOPS. SHE THINKS HE’S DEAD. HE RETURNS A HERO. SHE CLEARLY OVERJOYED BUT KEEPS IT ON THE INSIDE. THAT NIGHT SHE SHOW UP AT BAR IN HEART-STOPPING RED DRESS. THEY HAVE BRIEF FLIRTATION ALL UNDER GUISE OF MILITARY APPROPRIATENESS. THEY HINT THAT THEY BOTH LOOKING FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL IN THEIR LIVES. THE AGREE TO MEET THE NEXT MORNING FOR TRAINING. THIS ALL COMPRISES HER FIRST “SEXUAL ADVANCE” EVEN THOUGH IT ALL VERY PROPER AND UNSAID. JUST BEFORE THE AGREED-UPON TRAINING SESSION SOME SLUT THROWS HERSELF AT CAP AND HE TRIES TO STOP IT, BUT SORT OF KISSES BACK LIKE A HELPLESS PUTZ. PEGGY SEES THIS AND IS CLEARLY DEVASTATED, ESPECIALLY COMING HOT OF THE HEELS OF ALL THE UNSAID THINGS THE NIGHT BEFORE, WHICH, AGAIN, HER VERSION OF PUTTING EMOTIONS ON THE LINE.(iv) PEGGY STERNLY GOES INTO “I DON’T CARE” MODE WHEN SHE SO TOTALLY CARES. THEY GO TO TRAINING. SHE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVELY FIRES A GUN AT HIM DURING IT (HULK NOT SURE HOW YOU PASSIVE AGGRESSIVELY FIRE A GUN AT SOMEONE BUT THAT WHAT HAPPENED AND IT NEAT). SHE LATER SEES NEWS FOOTAGE OF HIM CARRYING AROUND HER PICTURE. MONTAGES OF HIM LEADING THE WAR AGAINST HYDRA, ALL THE WHILE IT SHOWS HER WARMING BACK UP TO HIM, IMPLYING SHE UNDERSTANDS THAT THE MINOR INDISCRETION WASN’T IN HIS TRUE NATURE. ON THE LAST MISSION, BUCKY FALLS FROM THE TRAIN TO HIS DEATH. CAP CLEARLY HEARTBROKEN. SHE CONSOLES IN A GENUINE, NON-SEXUAL WAY (HULK LOVE THAT THE WRITERS NOT USE IT AS CONVENIENT EXCUSE TO BRING THEM TOGETHER. IT ABOUT BUCKY). AFTER SOBERING NATURE OF THE TRAGEDY, CAP AND PEGGY BACK ON SAME LEVEL OF RESPECT. THEY GO TO THE FINAL MISSION AGAINST RED SKULL. SHE SAVES HIS BUTT ONCE. AS THEY SPEED AWAY IN CAR CHASING AFTER RED SKULL, SHE RECOGNIZES PERHAPS HER LAST CHANCE TO KISS HIM AND SO SHE DOES. EVEN IF CHEESY, IT EXTREMELY CATHARTIC FOR AUDIENCE BECAUSE THEY BUILT IT UP PERFECTLY. (IT HELP THAT TOMMY LEE JONES GET GREAT LINE AFTER) CAP GO OFF. HE BEAT RED SKULL. THE PLANE GOING DOWN AND ONLY WAY SAVE EASTERN SEABOARD TO CRASH THE PLANE INTO THE ARCTIC. HE GET ON RADIO WITH THE TWO OF THEM TALK IN KIND OF HOKEY SPEECH ABOUT MAKING A DATE, BUT IT STILL TRUE TO THE CHARACTERS/RELATIONSHIP SO IT WORK. AND THEN IT IMMEDIATELY STOP BEING HOKEY WHEN THE SIGNAL ABRUPTLY CUT OUT. AT THAT POINT IT GUT WRENCHING. SHE EMOTIONALLY CRUSHED. THE SEARCH FOR HIS BODY NO TURN UP ANYTHING. LATER ON, SHE CHECK HIS FILE, SEES THE PICTURE OF HIM AS THE 90 POUND WEAKLING, SHOWING HOW FAR HE/SHE CAME FROM BEGINNING. SHE MARKS HIS FILE INACTIVE. SHE PRESS ON.

HMMM. NOTICE A DIFFERENCE?

THIS MAY SEEM LIKE HULK CHEATING AND JUST BOTHERED TO WRITE A LOT MORE DETAILS FOR CAP, BUT IT NOT THE CASE AT ALL. IT JUST THAT THERE SO MUCH MORE STUFF THERE.

THAT BECAUSE IT A GODDAMN STORY.

CHEERS EVERYONE

THE RELATIONSHIP IN THOR, MEANWHILE. NOT AN ACTUAL STORY. IT JUST TRIED TO COAST BY ON THE GOOD VIBES, WHEREAS THE CAP SCREENPLAY DID ALL THE FREAKING WORK IN THE STORY. DOING THAT ALLOWS THE ACTORS COULD TO JUST SHOW UP AND MAKE IT AWESOMER. IT NIGHT AND DAY IN TERMS OF APPROACH. BETTER YET, IT SHOWCASE THAT IT NOT THE AMOUNT, IT WHAT YOU PUT IN THE AMOUNT. HULK WOULD EVEN BET THE TWO CHARACTERS, PEGGY AND JANE, NOT HAVE A WILDLY DISPARAGING NUMBER OF LINES IN EACH FILM.

HULK’S FAVORITE PART THAT CAPTAIN AMERICA ACHIEVED NOT THROUGH SOME SUBLIME TRANSCENDENCE OF FILMMAKING INSIGHT, BUT BY PAYING ATTENTION TO SCREENWRITING 101. LOOK AT THAT SUMMARY AGAIN. IT NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, IT JUST THAT EVERY SINGLE SCENE THEY FOCUSED ON MAKING IT HAVE SOME MEANING TO THE CHARACTERS. EVERY SCENE IS ADDED LAYER TO THEIR RELATIONSHIPS. EVERY SCENE MARK A NOTCH OF PROGRESSION.

PEGGY CARTER WORKS BECAUSE SHE THE TRUE SECOND LEAD IN THE MOVIE. SHE NOT MERE LIP SERVICE, BUT ABSOLUTELY INTEGRAL. SHE THE REASON WE CARE ABOUT CAP.

PEGGY CARTER WORKS BECAUSE HER SCENES INTERWOVEN INTO THE NARRATIVE WITH DEFT TOUCH. IT NOT LIKE ‘HEY, HERE THE PEGGY SCENES!” NOT BY LONG SHOT. THEY COMPLETELY ORGANIC. FUCK, THEY INTRINSIC TO EVERY OTHER PART OF CAP’S JOURNEY. WHEN THERE A CHANGE IN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH PEGGY IT USUALLY WHAT LEAD TO HIM HAVING NEW MOMENT OF CONFIDENCE IN HIS OTHER STORY LINES AS A SOLIDER OF VICE VERSA. PEGGY NOT JUST SOMEONE WHO THERE TO SERVE AS FOIL OR DEUS EX MACHINA OF MAIN CHARACTER. IT RECIPROCAL.

PEGGY CARTER WORKS BECAUSE HER RELATIONSHIP WITH TOMMY LEE JONES’S GENERAL CHARACTER JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE ONE WITH CAP. EVEN WITHOUT A LOT OF SCREEN TIME, EVERYTHING DONE WITH LITTLE EXCHANGES. TOMMY LEE PUT A GREAT DEAL OF TRUST IN HER SO HE EXPECTS A LOT. SHE EAGER TO PLEASE HIM AND CAUGHT BETWEEN THAT AND HER FAITH IN CAP. THE SCRIPT NEVER FORGETS THIS. IN THE LAST MOMENTS, THE THREE OF THEM HEADING IN CAR TO CATCH RED SKULL, AND THEIR BRIEF INTERACTIONS SAY EVERYTHING. NOW THAT ECONOMY!

PEGGY CARTER WORKS BECAUSE THERE AN ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP THERE. A WELL-DEVELOPED CORE. IT NOT JUST PART OF THE STORY. IT IS THE STORY.

WE KNOW IT THE STORY, BECAUSE WHEN THE MOVIE ENDS, HULK ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE IT A GENUINE TRAGEDY THEY DIDN’T GET THEIR DATE. THE MOVIE PROVED, BEYOND SHADOW OF A DOUBT, THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP DESERVED IT.(v)

AND LASTLY, PEGGY CARTER WORKS BECAUSE THE REAL CAP AGREES THE GOT HER RIGHT. SO HERE TO FINISH THE ARTICLE, HULK GOING ASK CAPTAIN AMERICA PARTICIPATE.

HEY FELLAS!

THE FOLLOWING TRANSCRIBED FROM RECORDED CONVERSATION.

Captain America: What do I do?

HULK: JUST TALK INTO THE MICROPHONE.

Captain America: Oh okay. I’m still having trouble with that phone you gave me.

HULK: IT AN IPHONE. IT NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

Captain America: You say to the guy who still freaking out about Television.

HULK: SO YOU LIKE THE MOVIE?

Captain America: Oh sure. Yeah. It was really swell.

HULK: WHAT IT LIKE WATCHING YOUR LIFE STORY PUT UP ON SCREEN?

Captain America: Well, you’d know, it’s a little weird. Going back to those days, you know everything is so different now. It’s just hard seeing something you lived through. The war was a lot more grim than that and how many people died for real. They don’t just get vaporized into blue puffs of smoke. It grizzly. I mean I understand why the comics and the movie don’t show the rough stuff. I get it. It’s just hard, you know?

HULK BUT YOU FELT LIKE IT CAPTURED WHAT YOU WERE ABOUT?

Captain America: Yeah, I know it sounds cheesy, but we believed in what we were doing. Most of the guys weren’t saints or nothing, that’s for sure. But we thought it was important. Schmit. Hitler. All of it. We really thought it needed to be done. Any soldier has to really. I know the wars that happened while I was frozen, I guess they were… less noble minded? I dunno. I get it, but sometimes it’s not about politics. For me at least, it’s about home. People always call me a patriot. I dunno about that.  I just see my country as my home.

HULK: HULK GIVE YOU CRAP ABOUT YOUR OLD FASHIONED SENSIBILITY/POLITICS ALL THE TIME, BUT YOU KNOW HULK JUST KIDDING RIGHT? HULK THINK YOU ONE OF MOST HONORABLE MEN HULK EVER KNOWN.

Captain America: [respectful nod]

HULK: AND WHAT ABOUT PEGGY?

Captain America: Yeah, Peggy, that was um… that was… that was hard to watch honestly. You know. I don’t really talk about it. I mean… Yeah. I loved her, plain as day. And when I think about what we missed out on. It breaks my heart. It really does [Cap starts to tear up a little, Hulk does too]. But I like to think she understand. I have to think that. We both believed in something bigger than ourselves. It’s part of the reason we got along. And there so many others that lost out on the future too. Countless. It’s just to me… well…

… she was the best.

ENDNOTES:

(i) CAP ALSO HAS SHITTY TASTE IN MOVIES

(ii) THE THINKING OF GIVING THE FEMALE CO-STAR A GUN USUALLY A QUICK FIX SO SHE CAN BE INVOLVED AND KICK ASS IN THE NAME OF BEING SORT OF EQUAL! BUT USUALLY THEY JUST THERE SO THE MAIN ACTOR CAN KISS SOMEONE FOR THE SOLE REASON TO MAKE ACTION MOVIES SEEM LESS GAY… WHAT?! THAT NO HOMOPHOBIC. GUYS IN ACTION MOVIES ARE OFTEN, FOR LACK OF BETTER PHRASE, SUPER EXTRA GAY. MEN BEING DEVOTED TO OTHER MEN = EXACTLY WHAT BIG SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINMENT ABOUT. WHAT STARTED WITH TOP GUN HAS TRANSCENDED DOWN THROUGH THE GENERATIONS OF MORPH INTO OTHER DEEPLY CLOSETED SOCIAL ENTERTAINMENTS LIKE ENTOURAGE. AND SERIOUSLY, BAD BOYS 2 = ONE OF THE GAYEST MOVIES EVER MADE. THE ONLY REASON MOST FEMALES AROUND SO THAT THE LEADS OF THESE MOVIES CAN APPEAR TO BE STRAIGHT… OKAY HULK HYPERBOLE-ING, IT JUST A FUN SUBTEXT TO LOOK AT THINGS IN.

(iii) TO BE FAIR, EVERYONE SHOULD GET A BONER WHEN COMES OUT OF THE TRANSFORMING CHAMBER.

(iv) AND YOU KNOW THIS SCENE REALLY WORKED CAUSE AN AUDIENCE FULL OF DISAFFECTED MARVEL NERDS GASPED ALOUD. THE RELATIONSHIP MATTERED TO THE JADED AUDIENCE! AGAIN, HULK REALLY LOVE THAT THIS MOMENT COME AFTER THE RED DRESS BRIEF FLIRTATION. IF PEG AND CAP HAD KISSED OR DONE MORE? IT WOULD HAVE FELT A WHOLLY DIFFERENT KIND OF WRONG. IT MAY SEEM STUPID OR OBVIOUS, BUT HULK ARGUE THIS KIND OF UNDERSTANDING = VITAL. WANTING CHARACTERS TO HOOK UP WAY MORE DRAMATICALLY INTERESTING. THEN CHARACTERS HOOKING UP AND DEALING WITH MESSY AFTERMATH (WHICH SEEM TO BE WHOLE GENRE NOWADAYS WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED AND FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS). EVEN IF OBVIOUS, HULK THINK THE WHOLE THING SHOWCASES SOMEONE HAVING WONDERFUL UNDERSTANDING OF CHARACTER MOTIVATION… YOU BE SURPRISED HOW MANY MOVIES DON’T.

(v) SO HULK JUST WANT MENTION THAT APPARENTLY THE VERY ENDING HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH JOE JOHNSTON AND IT FILMED WITHOUT HIS PRESENCE OR BLESSING AND THAT VERY CLEAR. WHILE IT SET UP THE AVENGERS AND WORKS AS “COOL SCENE” IT COMPLETELY TONE DEAF TO MOVIE THAT PRECEDED IT. SPECIFICALLY HOW IT END ON THAT FUNNY LINE OF “I MISSED A DATE…” IT NOT FUNNY. GIVEN HOW GREAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP WORKED IT A FUCKING TRAGEDY, NOT AN IRONIC ENDING LINE. THAT SCENE SHOULD HAVE BEEN HEARTBREAKING.* ANY FUCK. IT NOT THAT BIG A DEAL. IT JUST WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET DIRECTORS NOT DO THEIR FUCKING JOBS.

* AND NOT TO LAUNCH INTO CONJECTURE. BUT HULK TOTALLY THOUGHT WE HEADING FOR SCENE OF CAP SHOWING UP AND DANCING WITH 90 YEAR OLD PEGGY CARTER. WHILE THAT SOUND SCHMALTZY AS FUCK, IT WOULD HAVE PERFECTLY FIT MOVIE AND HULK WOULD HAVE BEEN CRYING LIKE A LITTLE SCHOOL-HULK. WHAT?! YOU HAVE NO SOUL! SHUT UP! AND KEEP IN MIND THIS SCENE COULD STILL SHOW UP IN AVENGERS BUT HULK ARGUE IT BE LESS IMPACTING IN SEPARATE MOVIE, AND NOT COMING AT THE END OF THEIR MOVIE.

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30 Responses to “PEGGY CARTER – WHY CAPTAIN AMERICA WORKS”

  1. HULK KNOWS ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT WRITING MOVIES, YEAH, SO, I’LL GO GIVE A CHANCE TO HE PAL’S MOVIE, A THING THAT I WAS NOT INCLINED TO DO BECAUSE OF THE TRAILERS. BUT ME TRUST HULKS OPINION.
    UNFORTUNATELY, MOVIE DO NOT ARRIVE IN BRAZIL YET.
    ALSO, TODAY I DEDICATED A LOT OF TIME WITH HULK BLOG, THE LONG LOST ELEGY AND KNOW THE NOT SO LONG CAPTAIN AMERICAS’S EULOGY. I WONDER WHAT BETTY THINKS ABOUT THIS TIME THAT HULK IS NOT SPENDING WITH HER…

  2. Phil said

    Indeed, Hulk, indeed. I’d write a spell about everything I liked about Cap, but I’d just be repeating everything you wrote (seriously, that’s what my Examiner piece did. Not intentionally, but when the good stuff shines so brightly, you’ve got to point it out). It’s just a darn good movie, and the more people who know it, the better.

    I’ll just close saying this: Buck. Fucking. Compton.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      INDEED. HULK LIKED THAT AS WELL W/ BUCK. DIDN’T FEEL LIKE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HIS PERSONA, MORE LIKE USING SHORTHAND.

  3. Loved your review. Wrote mine before I read yours so the idea were fresh:

    http://youresoshain.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/give-up-captain-america/

    Especially liked you how picked up on the red dress and the connotations. I didn’t give it much thought until you mentioned it. When I saw her in the dress, I thought, “here we go, many drinks, long conversation, somewhere along the line she says “when i was a little girl” followed by inane anecdote and cut to the next morning with red dress folded up on a chair.” But the didn’t, and it was wonderfully satisfying. An honest depiction of courting of that time. That sort of “Here I am, in this dress, visualize me as a possible sexual partner, that’s all you’re gonna get at the moment, the possibility”.

    I loved this film so very much. I too, hated the ending. They need to stop tying these movies in with the avengers. I realize its an event, somewhat unprecedented, but really…its just another movie. Let’s give each movie the attention and care they deserve.

    We have very similar opinions about Thor as well, although I disliked the movie, intensely. I won’t say hate, as it did have its moments, but I found it generally a tonal mess, especially the weakness of Loki as an antagonist. If only they had followed the Ultimates storyline…

  4. Bevin said

    Well that tears it, I need to see this movie. It wasn’t one I was super interested in until I saw the trailer, when my love for the 1940s gripped me. But now that it’s gotten a solidly mid-range positive review from Slant (which is glowing praise from anywhere else) and a great one from you, I guess the dye is cast.

    I also love Stanley Tucci and had no idea he was in this until now. I’ll sit through almost any movie if he’s in it.

  5. Sean said

    Loved the movie, loved the review. I do question one thing, however: was the last “I missed a date” line really intended to be ironic/funny? It registered as tremendously poignant and tragic to me – he’s been forcibly thrust into a storm of insanity that makes no sense to him, but all he’s thinking about is Peggy. The line worked for me, and (I think) the line worked for the audience I was on the same level. It worked for me as an ending, but I’m very interested to find that others saw it differently.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HULK GOT THE INTENTION OF THE LINE AND HULK WAGER YOU AND MOST AUDIENCE DID AS WELL. BUT HULK ARGUE INTENTION NOT EVERYTHING BECAUSE HULK JUST NO THINK IT WORKED LIKE SHOULD HAVE. HULK THINK THE LINE CONFUSED MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. IT SORT OF A TONE THING. CAP SAY THE LINE AND HE MEAN IT SAD, BUT IT COMING AT THIS BIG EMOTIONAL SWELL AND THE THEN TITLE CARD CUTS IN. WHICH MEANS THE LINE SUPPOSED TO BE “CUTE” GIVEN THAT CINEMATIC PRESENTATION/CONTEXT, BUT THEY NO PLAY IT LIKE THAT AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, THERE NO WAY THEY COULD PLAY IT LIKE THAT. HULK THINK THAT GIVEN HOW WELL THE ROMANCE WORKED, IT JUST NO FEEL RIGHT TONE WISE. THAT LINE SHOULD BE MORE SAD GIVEN STATE. BUT THAT NO WAY TO END THE MOVIE. SO THEY SORT OF TRY HAVE IT BOTH WAYS AND TO HULK IT NOT COME OFF RIGHT, THO AGAIN, HULK GET THE INTENTION. IT TRICKY BIT OF BUSINESS.

      • I was eagerly looking forward to the Cap sees old Peggy scene. I felt the last scene involving the two was lacking somewhat in the bittersweet department. I wasn’t sure exactly why the plane had to be downed at all, considering the bombs were all destroyed.

      • Sean said

        Tricky indeed. I’ll agree that authorial intent doesn’t conclusively determine meaning (helloooo, post-modernism!), but I guess our disagreement lies in that I felt that the effect matched the intent in this case. Now this may be because of my obsessive desire (need?) to take superhero movies more seriously than they intend to be taken, but I thought the line served up a nice cap to a movie that ultimately ended up a tragedy, albeit a heroic tragedy. The sudden title card and music felt like ironic happiness that knows its overlaying sadness, like playing The Four Tops at the end of Blood Simple.

  6. Jilliterate said

    I constantly marvel at your ability to take the thoughts right out of my head and express them more eloquently than I ever could. This article said everything I felt about both Thor and Captain America. It’s always so satisfying to see them written out like that — thanks!

  7. Minus the onslaught of Capslock on my eyes & primitive sentence structure, you have an eloquency in your writing. I agree with everything you said here. After watching a few superhero movies, I honestly didn’t have too high expectations for Captain America. But it wasn’t a cliche superhero movie at all. Why? Hehe. Let me try this.

    HULK ALREADY SAID IT ALL ANYWAY.

    Odd though, I’m curious what you thought about Hydra as the villain as well as Hugo Weaving’s acting…

  8. [...] but the truth is, I don’t think I could bring any new observations, at least not better than The Incredible Hulk, who is now a film critic. Or Drew McWeeny at Hitfix. Both review really, really, hit the nail on [...]

  9. [...] BUT TO SIMPLY ASSESS IF IT “WORKS” OR NOT AND WHY. HULK’S RECENT ESSAY “PEGGY CARTER – WHY CAPTAIN AMERICA WORKS” FOR EXAMPLE TRIED DELVE INTO THAT KIND OF [...]

  10. [...] HULK LOVED THE MOVIE FOR WHOLE BUNCH OF REASONS, HULK THOUGHT THE ACTION ALTERNATED BETWEEN MOMENTS OF GENUINE FUN, BEING SERVICEABLE, AND A BUNCH [...]

  11. I’m sorry, we’re going to have to have some words over the ending.

    A) Practical stuff: This was supposed to be, (good or bad) a lead-in to “The Avengers”, so that last scene = utterly necessary one way or the other. If Joe Johnston didn’t want to direct it, that sucks for him, but they wouldn’t have time for an extensive Cap backstory in “Avengers”. At least based on theatrical release, one of the strongest things about that film is how it’s not the JLA (Y’know: Batman and His Bitches.) It barely gives any of the character’s independent moments that belong in their movies, it focuses on the relationship. Cramming Cap’s backstory into all of that would’ve ruined the (admittedly still rushed) pace of the opening, and messed up the scale of character importance.

    B) I argue that Steve’s anger at the beginning of “The Avengers” that (smartly) refuses to delve into the socio-political hair-splitting (that will probably be in “Captain America 2″ anyway) typical to the archetypal “Resurrection of Cap” (and let’s be clear, also very important to it) story line doesn’t make sense without the ending of “CA:TFA”. He gets one line about America today in “Avengers”: “You didn’t say what we’d lost.” Lot of subtextual depth to that line, but it leaves contextually the grief that he’s suffering that Bucky is still dead (and when is Cap ever not grieving about this?) and Peggy Carter probably is too.

    C) “Captain America: The First Avenger”, as MovieBob wisely pointed out, is completely bereft of irony. It’s also not sentimental. That ending line isn’t ironic, it’s just highlights the tragedy of that couple not having gotten together. (Namely because there were more important things going on, like trying to beat fascists.)

    D) Even if it’s “tone-deaf” to the rest of the movie (totally not), why shouldn’t the tone change? Cap is in a different place, a different time, pretty much an entire different world at the end of that movie than at the beginning.

    I hate to do this to you, but I absolutely loved that ending, and I’m really surprised you hated it so much. It seems really like you’re just more angry that Johnston didn’t actually direct it, as opposed to disliking the actual content of the ending.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      FIRST OFF, ASSUMING MOTIVES OF CRITIC IS NOT A COOL THING TO DO. WHAT YOUR IMPLYING MAKES HULK SEEM PETTY. AND NO, HULK SINCERELY DISLIKED THE CONTENT OF THE ENDING.

      BUT HULK THINK YOU’RE CONFUSING A COUPLE THINGS HULK SAID. THE REASON HULK DIDN’T LIKE IT WAS BECAUSE THE ENDING LINE ABSOLUTELY DIDN’T HIGHLIGHT THE TRAGEDY. IT HIGHLIGHTED A WEIRD NOTE OF MAKING A JOKE/CONFUSION BEFORE POUNDING US WITH A TITLE CARD. IT’S A FALSE NOTE. HULK WASN’T TALKING ABOUT BRINGING HIM TO THE FUTURE. THAT’S WHAT THEY NEED TO DO LOGISTICALLY. AND WE ACTUALLY WANTED THE SAME EXACT THINGS FROM THAT SCENE IN TERMS OF TRAGEDY. BUT IT DOESN’T EXECUTE THEM WELL AT ALL.

  12. Eric said

    I’d like state a case for Thor’s romantic plot being a little more complete than you make it out to be in your otherwise superb article. I think Thor’s romance works for me, and many other people I know, is because it’s so simple. Yes, the Cap romance is largely understated. It’s powerful without ever being in your face. But Thor’s romance is perhaps more powerful because of how it changes Thor as a character. His interaction with Jane is what softens and humanizes him. She’s a small, fragile woman compared with most of the women he knows back home. Yet, Thor doesn’t pitty her, he respects her because of her compassion and character.

    Personal taste I guess. I left Thor wanting to see Thor and Jane reunited. The last line in the movie stung. I wanted to see her in Avengers. It just seemed like that would be the first place that Thor would go when traveling back to Earth.

    Cap…was….well, I think Thor was an overall better film. I know critically Cap is the darling but most people I’ve talked to prefer Thor. Something of a disconnect between the Reviewers and the general public maybe?

  13. Turdfeast420 said

    Great review Hulk! Regarding the ending, which I liked a lot – I think the irony is what made it heartbreaking for me. Cap’s not just a man out of time, Nick Fury’s arrived and he wants Cap to do his duty for Disney… the Avengers franchise needs you son! But all Cap can think about is Peggy. To me that final human note is made more poignant by the juxtaposition with the cynical title card sting.

    I pretty much agree with you about everything else. Peggy Carter is a great character, and it’s to Atwell’s credit that I came away from it wanting more Peggy. I too immediately thought of a scene where she and Cap dance in the present day, and it would’ve had me sniffling as well.

    That said, doesn’t the movie sort of flounder when it comes to stakes and action? Cap effortlessly steamrolls all the opposition he faces, and the movie feels like it rushes to its climax after a certain point. I would’ve liked for that stuff to either be better done, or reduced in favor of more Cap & Peggy.

  14. Nazgual said

    (reads last line of the article) …I see what you did there

  15. Bilbo Ballbags said

    Hulk, you are a transcendent critic (in the sense in which you use the word here, ie “four times as good as you need to be to do your job”) but you really need a proofreader. It’s not “per say”, it’s “per se”, the usual shorthand for “pectorals” is “pecs” without a K, and Tommy Lee Jones isn’t “towing” a line, he’s “toeing” it, like standing near it with his toes. Is this a deliberate part of your style, designed to weed out pedants? Please, do not smash me. I am only small, and mostly ballbag.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HULK HAS AN EDITOR NOW! AND MEREDITH AT BADASS IS GREAT! THIS ARTICLE FROM THE OLD DAYS OF HULK SQUEAKING OUT THESE PUPPIES IN SPARE TIME. CHEERS!

  16. ADG said

    ” And there so many others that lost out on the future too. Countless.”

    Well yeah, exactly. It was the damnedest thing, but at the end of a comic-book movie featuring super-soldiers and alien energy weapons, there was that moment when he was taking the plane down and it just struck me that if you took away all of the superficially childish stuff (that actually worked as part of the story, mind), this was just something that had happened to thousands and thousands of people of my grandparents’ generation.

    Completely took me by surprise what an impression it made, and that’s because of a lot of the stuff you’ve mentioned – how hard the movie worked at basic characterisation on so many levels. I’ve had friends rate this film less highly than Iron Man – less than Thor even – so it’s great to see yourself and MovieBob, among others, give it the credit it deserves.

  17. [...] The movie tries to combine reality (World War Two, enlistment campaigns, patriotism, brainwashing of the masses, the good guys must win) with fiction (superheroes, Hydra, The Tesseract)… and it works wonders! Everything falls into place to create a completely believable story about World War Two. Through its credibility, the movie resembles something that a couple of people out there might call “conspiracy theory”. Besides that, the special effects don’t seem to be special effects at all… but, I guess that’s what computer progress is all about. Hope you liked my review! Please share, comment and/ or like! See you next time with a new superhero movie review. [...]

  18. [...] 2:HULK thinks it’s very well done and doesn’t comment on the lack of conflict at all, which absolutely does not mean that I [...]

  19. [...] 2:HULK thinks it’s very well done and doesn’t comment on the lack of conflict at all, which absolutely does not mean that I [...]

  20. […] present problems I never thought of and offer novel solutions to those problems. His analysis of Peggy Carter’s role in Captain America was excellent look at it and I am still using all of my power to get his post about how people talk […]

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