Fun with Franchises: The Marvel Universe – Captain America: The First Avenger, Part I — “Nazis: Awful People, Great Vacation Homes”

We continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series. This week’s film is Captain America: The First Avenger.

Fun with Franchises is a series born out of my friend Colin and I realizing how much =fun it was for the two of us to watch the same movie separately and then share our reactions. We started by watching all of the James Bond movies, for the purposes of ranking them for the blog. I brought him in because he was much more of a Bond expert than I was at the time, and I felt his perspective would liven things up. He would be the color commentator to my play-by-play man.

We soon discovered that, by watching the movies separately and then putting everything we said together in the same place, hilarity ensued. We each brought in our own observations, not knowing what the other would say, and then reacted to what the other said. And we loved every minute of it.

We had so much fun, we figured we had to do it again. So we graduated from a single franchise, to all franchises. If you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Season 1 included the Harry Potter movies, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Twilight (which neither of us had seen before we watched them for the articles) and Pirates of the Caribbean. All of those articles can be read on the Fun with Franchises page.

Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them. (Well… Twilight…) We’re watching movies we enjoy and are simply having some fun with them.

Right now, we’re doing the Marvel Universe, and today is the first part of Captain America: The First Avenger.

Captain America The First Avenger - Title Card

Marvel Logo - Iron Man

This is the last Marvel movie distributed by Paramount. After this, Disney owned the rights to the studio.

Colin:

I seem to remember this one not sucking as much, weirdly. Like, in terms of concept, too, I love the idea of a WWII super soldier fighting Nazis. Going into this, I think I had crazily low expectations because I’d seen Hulk and Thor and hated them, and I knew nothing about Captain America. Then I watched this, and it wasn’t as horrible as I’d expected. But I haven’t seen it since then, so now it’s time to find out what my official ruling is going to be.

“It wasn’t as horrible as I expected” — a Marvel good review.

Colin:

I do remember thinking that this movie was a better Indiana Jones movie than Crystal Skull because it had Nazis and artifacts and stuff.

Technically Monuments Men is a better Indiana Jones movie than Crystal Skull.

Colin:

And wow, 124 minutes. That’s ambitious for Marvel, and we usually don’t like it when Marvel’s ambitious about anything.

That might be the tagline for Marvel. Ambitious About Mediocrity. Every Goddamn Cent.

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Another riveting Marvel opening shot.

Clouds.

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Or snow.

Just like Fargo, only shittier.

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Colin:

Oh, that doesn’t start well. Headlights coming through the snow. Have you noticed that almost all of these movies begin with a vehicle in a desolate place? So far, only Hulk has been something else. And I didn’t like that.

Well, technically Banner is a vehicle for the Hulk, and that started on an iceberg…

Oh, wait, I’m thinking of the deleted scene. They started with that shitty montage, didn’t they? Never mind.

And Iron Man 2 didn’t have a vehicle. Unless we’re counting for Mickey Rourke’s screams.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m fucking riveted.

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This looks like fun.

Good place for a shootout.

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Colin:

How much do think North Pole light-stick-holding assholes make?

$9.75 an hour.

Double if it’s the half of the year with no daylight.

It’s actually not bad. Union. GREAT dental.

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Yeah, I think they got it.

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“You the guys from Washington?”

No, we’re from fucking Duluth.

Colin:

No, they’re from down Providence. The fuck you think, light-stick asshole?

“You getting any other visitors out here?”

Exactly.

(But seriously, how do you guys bus your hookers in?)

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Somebody called something in. The Washington guys say it’s “probably a weather balloon.”

Colin:

A Russian oil team found it?

Yeah, I’m not paying attention. Might as well have said, “A couple of elves came across it.”

Colin:

Is there not a Russian government team on its way to try and recover this thing, whatever it is? What if there was a race to be first to uncover it and there were submarines under the ice and all that stuff?

Then we’d be way more interested in this movie.

Colin:

Mike and I do this a lot: take a very mundane scene from a movie we’re supposed to be watching and use it as the premise for an entire other movie that would probably be better than the one that was made.

And we’re never wrong.

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This could be Independence Day 2 and you wouldn’t know.

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Another car is coming?

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Colin:

I love the lights set up to show the outline. It reminds me of Thunderball, when they had the underwater landing lights for the Vulcan bomber. That looked so good. That whole movie looked really good.

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Snow lasers. Cool, cool.

Seems dangerous to just leave it open like that.

Colin:

I don’t believe that this is a thing. Besides, the laser goes through and damages whatever’s under it, right? What if you’re also cutting a giant hole in a mummy, and the air doesn’t agree with him?

That is true, though. This laser knows when to stop.

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Great shot. I love the idea of this entire location.

Colin:

Ships in ice are very cool, though. That was the best part of National Treasure. Except for stealing the Declaration of Independence. Can’t beat that.

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Can I do this? Is there a way I can do this?

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This could be Titanic and you wouldn’t know.

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“Base, we’re in.”

No shit.

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Colin:

This is kinda Alien, huh? There’s always a “what is this?” And bright lights in the dark. If we were underwater, this would be the moment for a dead guy to float by suddenly and the score to react.

What do you call a doo doo cloud made of ice?

Colin:

It’s actually called a doo doo igloo.

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Is this really how this movie opens? I remember so little about this.

That might mean it’s a lot worse than I thought.

But it’s Marvel, so, aren’t they all like that?

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“My God. Get me a line to the colonel.”

“It’s 3 am, sir.”

“I don’t care what time it is.”

I’d give this movie five stars if they started stretching a giant string line with a paper cup attached to it right now.

Colin:

If it’s dark here at 3am, that means that it’s winter or close to it. And that means y’all shouldn’t be outside.

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“This one’s waited long enough.”

So… wake up, I found something that’s been frozen for seventy years.

No… I’m pretty sure this can wait until morning.

Also, the colonel? Which colonel? You got a base at the north pole?

This has to be Greenland, right? Because if it is Greenland, you don’t have a base there. Which means that the colonel is not on your time zone.

Also, how the hell did a plane chartered for New York end up here? That’s one hell of an arc, especially to not be found for 70 years.

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Colin:

Bad movies always start with people finding stuff and not explaining it. Not to say that this is necessarily a bad movie, but you’re not helping, guys. You can start a movie with finding stuff and do it RIGHT, too. Return of the King?

I think we can agree that any movie that starts with one midget strangling another midget is off to a good start.

Colin:

Have you guys seen Doubt?

The idea that he can be alive and frozen like this is hilarious.

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HEY, TONSBERG!

Colin:

Tonsberg, which Mike thinks is what you call the separation between your balls. So there’s the Thor tie-in, I suppose.

The best part is — Tonsberg is a real place.

Between my balls.

No, but seriously. Oldest town in Norway. And apparently after they got rid of the Frost Giants, Odin said, “You know, this is a nice town. Take my giant space cube and hold it here. Because my big trophy room guarded by the giant fire robot — not quite a fit.”

And then he impregnated eight wenches.

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Lotta Nazis up in Norway, huh?

Colin:

And it’s 1942. Gee, what was going on around that time? It kills me that there are people out there who really don’t know this history, either.

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I could set an entire movie around this set. And here it’s just a throwaway.

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This looks like where Tom Hanks finally caught Leonardo DiCaprio.

Colin:

I knew there was I reason I wanted a doughnut.

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Colin:

Is this a church? Don’t they believe in the Norse legends? Can you have both?

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This could be an Indiana Jones movie and you wouldn’t know.

Colin:

That’s the joke I was making during that franchise. This movie is more convincingly Indiana Jones than Crystal Skull was.

This movie made us buy a dude WITH A RED FUCKING SKULL FOR A FACE. That movie couldn’t even make my buy Shia LaBeouf.

Also, how cool would it be to live in a castle?

Literally. I imagine that shit gets cold as fuck at night.

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That could be Argus Filch and you’d never know.

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They say some shit in Norwegian.

Wait… that IS Argus Filch! What the fuck?

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Are those supposed to fit the alien heads?

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Yeah, just stand there. That’s safe.

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Conveniently placed stone.

Colin:

I love stone buildings, but you have a much higher probability of getting wanged in the head and dying if you live in one.

I’m sorry. I was picturing someone getting wanged in the head.

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I’m dozing a bit right now, too.

Colin:

Don’t Nazis knock? Why was that necessary? You shoot the door open if you have to, but now that building’s ruined. That could have been a cool place to hold a Viking themed officers’ club night.

I was gonna make some viking joke, but I can actually think of an entire menu of viking-themed drinks I could make for that party.

Also, how fucking sinister would that be? To hear a giant bulldozer coming toward you, and then, right as it’s gonna hit, there’s just a knock at the door, and it’s just Hugo Weaving, all polite and shit? WAY scarier than this.

Of course, this is a comic book, so they have to bust out the wall.

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You only moved that stone to show us he’s dead. Which makes whoever did it a bad guy.

Also, if that wall falls on him, he doesn’t look like that.

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I like that he drives his car into this church. Because, Beep Beep, Cunts!

Colin:

I’m actually on board with the car. They gave him a crazy car that isn’t real, and I’m fine with it. It’s basically a more flamboyant, enormous Mercedes 540K with a twin axle like Hitler’s G4 staff cars. And it’s so big it’s made on a truck chassis. And it has a dragster engine, which is supposed to stand in for a supercharged 16-cylinder plant. We’ll see how it sounds fired up.

I hope they at least did some sound design so it doesn’t sound off. If they left the dragster sounds to stand in for the supercharger, that’d be like a rhino voicing a pterodactyl.

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SPECTRE?

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Somehow I already know this is Hugo Weaving.

And I’m hoping this was a deliberate way to introduce him.

Colin:

Is that gonna be Hugo Weaving? We’re used to seeing his feet getting out of vehicles and stuff.

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Bit of a Peter and the Wolf score moment here.

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This could be Last Crusade and you’d never know. There’s been only one shot that would let you know this was a Marvel movie.

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Yeah, boy.

Colin:

Nice framing. I’m so glad Hugo is in this.

It’s the backlighting that makes this.

Also pretty great that this sleepy town did not notice that car and a giant bulldozer showing up.

This place is the size of Whoville. How many houses did this thing roll over to get here?

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Seriously, though, this is a letdown if it’s anybody but Hugo Weaving.

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Cut into the random dude so you know he’s evil.

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“It has taken me a long time to find this place.”

Oh yeah, it’s Hugo.

Colin:

I’m not sure I love the accent, but it’s Hugo. I’ll keep giving him chances til the hobbits come home.

That’s… actually not that far off.

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“You should be commended.”

Please pin a medal on his chest right now and then shoot him.

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“I think you are a man of great vision, and in this way, we are much alike.”

Did he model his accent off of Herzog? He had to have.

They should have cast Herzog as Red Skull. That would have been awesome.

Colin:

This video demonstrates the collective fantasy of Werner Herzog doing random shit.

Couple of things. First — this.

Also, remember that short where Werner Herzog voiced a plastic bag? Because I do.

You know how, on Bigger and Blacker, Chris Rock put in those little snippets of “words of wisdom” from ODB? That should be a thing, but with Werner Herzog. Just him saying whatever he wants for thirty seconds. Deep Thoughts, by Werner Herzog.

“I am nothing like you.”

Oh, right, there’s a movie going on here.

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“Of course. But what others see as superstition, you and I know to be a science.”

Uhh… okay.

“What you seek is just a legend.”

So… you’re in the superstition camp too.

“Then why make such an effort to conceal it?”

And why does it happen to be in the exact same town from Thor?

Colin:

Isn’t the idea that it was left here and lost or something or entrusted to the humans? Anyway, that’s the only explanation that makes sense even remotely.

As remote as this village!

As this… oh fuck it, this is totally random I’m not even gonna bother with how stupid this is.

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“Hold my hat, Nazi.”

Also, totally Filch back there.

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Why you lookin’ at his dick?

Also, you guys completely didn’t bother to check up the stairs. Sister Ruth could be up there.

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Colin:

So he’s super strong. Is he already some weird superhuman? How does that work? Did he fall in a vat of something? Does everyone just fall in vats of stuff?

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You have chosen… poorly.

Wonder if the glowing piece of space radiation contributed to him getting in this box.

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“Give me that cube. Asshole.”

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“The Tesseract was the jewel of Odin’s treasure room.”

Couple of questions – so this was what was at the end of the Thor credits? Sure.

Odin? Really? Because it wasn’t there in the last movie.

How did it get out? Anyone? He just decided to leave it here?

And so the only reason The Avengers happens is because of this?

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Oh, it’s a fake.

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Colin:

Oh, that’s cool. He knows it was fake and smashes that shit. Nice. Has that fake one been in the dead guy’s hands for centuries? Did that dead guy know his job for the rest of eternity was to hold a decoy made of cloudy glass? In which case, did he die expecting his grave to be desecrated?

Who cut that nice ass crystal in the dark ages?

Also, that’s pretty fucked up. And also amazing. To die just to fuck over the person that desecrates your tomb centuries later.

Also, would you not die expecting your grave to be desecrated? I’d be insulted if my grave weren’t at least pilfered if not fully desecrated.

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That’s a fun prank to play on people. “This is the crown jewel of history.” *SMASH*

Also, this guy has too many octopi on him.

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“It’s not something one buries. But I think it is close.”

Why is it not something one buries? What do you do with it? Is it like the traveling gnome? Is it something you light a room with? Start a TV show? Inside the TesserActors Studio?

“I cannot help you.”

Can’t? Or won’t?

“No. But maybe you can help your village.”

Does this guy have ties to the village? If he lives in a church, chances are he doesn’t give a fuck about anyone outside those walls. He only cares about the imaginary dead people he’s memorializing.

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And there are people holding the villagers inside their houses now? Or can they just take off until this all blows over?

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Hey look, it’s that one wall we haven’t lookde at yet.

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With the giant fucking engraving on it.

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He says some name that sounds like Elvish. Stands for “The Tree of the World.”

Colin:

Sounds like Elvish. But that actually makes sense, considering that Elvish was loosely based on Finnish, and it’s all Scandinavian.

It’s All Scandinavian.

Also, is that that bullshit Thor drew in Natalie’s science notebook?

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“Guardian of wisdom.”

The snake?

That’s funny. Considering what the snake represents in Catholicism.

Of course the thing that guards wisdom is also a symbol of evil and temptation. Wouldn’t want people to get wise, would we?

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“And fate.”

Look at his eyebrows.

I also like that guy chilling against the pillar.

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That’s not a very well hidden button, is it?

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Boy, that was convenient.

Colin:

Hugo found your bullshit hiding place. He’s got your Tesseract and your Pogs and whatever else you kept in there.

That snake looks like if a duck fucked an eel.

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That’s a pretty realistic face for someone who’s supposed to not have one.

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You look like the old neighbor from Home Alone.

You’er also dangerously close to being one of those people whose eyebrows are connected to the rest of their hair.

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Should have had a triple blind.

Stick the tesseract up your ass like Christopher Walken.

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Damn. So that’s where you get the blue shit.

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“And the Fuhrer digs for trinkets in the desert.”

Was that an Indy reference?

Colin:

Was that a dig at the Indiana Jones movies? Was Hitler actually obsessed with antiquities?

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“You have never seen this, have you?”

He should watch Thor.

“It’s not for the eyes of ordinary men.”

Is it the AllSpark?

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“Exactly.”

Colin:

“I am no man!” Oh wait, wrong franchise.

I like the blue/no blue with those shots.

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“Give the order to open fire.”

Because that was going to happen anyway. Because fuck this town.

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“Fool. You cannot control the power you hold. You will burn!”

Burn? Really? It’s Norway. And even if you mean hell — come on. You can’t have a hell if Odin exists.

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“I already have.”

Ooh… burn!

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“Bitch.”

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Colin:

Was this guy’s job to stand around and make like nothing was going on while the Tesseract was chilling inside the wall? Does he get a pension? Oh, he’s dead. Never mind. Don’t explain anything.

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So is the population of Tonsberg now zero?

They should have put them all in the church and set fire to it like in The Patriot.

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Where the fuck did that blood come from? Your face looks fine.

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Colin:

That’s weirdly SPECTRE-ish. Hydra, right?

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Colin:

Ah, Nairobi.

What are the odds they’re about to tell us what city this is?

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“Boy, a lot of people are getting killed over there.”

Colin:

Remember the movie Buck Privates? That was a fun movie. You always know you’ve succeeded in making a quality comedy when your enemy (in this case, Imperial Japan) uses it as propaganda against you.

Two things I love about that sentence. One, the fact that there are less than 15% of all people under 30 who will hear the sentence, “Remember the movie Buck Privates?” and go, “Fuck yeah!” And second, I love that we can even have this conversation. We can still alienate an entire table full of people within three minutes. And now it’s simply by referencing old movies.

Colin:

My dad got that for me on VHS the day I got braces. I was like 11, and I was at the orthodontist for a few hours getting braces, so he got me two movies and a pizza so I could go home and watch them. The pizza had a really hard crust, so it took me forever to eat, but I had movies, so it was cool. The first movie he got me was Gone in 60 Seconds, with Cage. And then the second was Buck Privates. He was like, “Do you know these guys? Here, watch this. Your teeth hurt, and it’s funny.” At first I was just excited that I recognized Nat Pendleton as the cop who becomes their drill instructor.

Academy Award nominee Buck Privates, by the way. They got nominated for “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.”

What ever happened to those groups? The trio of female singers who sang in harmony? And there was always one who sounded like she was from Brooklyn.

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Rogers. Steve.

Colin:

Those were the days when the president’s picture was on the wall, cause America.

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“Kind of makes you think twice about enlisting, huh?”

“Nope.”

This is some terrific CG work, by the way. He looks like a little pile of shit.

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Look at this Benjamin Button shit.

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“What’d your father die of?”

My mother.

“Mustard gas.”

Oh, man, I had that last week. Definitely had to air out the apartment for a couple of days. Amazing how far we’ve come, for that not to be fatal anymore.

“He was in the 107th Infantry.”

So your voice shouldn’t be that deep with you that small. Just sayin’.

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“Your mother?”

“She was a nurse. In a TB ward. Got hit. Couldn’t shake it.”

If she could shake it, she probably wouldn’t have been a nurse.

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Why do you have discharge in both ears?

Also, how are you alive, with all of these troubles?

Though, I’m pretty sure in 1942, the treatment for this was whiskey and bed rest.

“Sorry, son.”

“Look, just give me a chance.”

“You’d be ineligible on your asthma alone.”

Colin:

He’s very small and there’s clearly a lot wrong with him. Human shield?

It’s the fucking war. You’re telling me you’re really turning him down? You mean he’s not useful to you in any way? Not even gonna test his intelligence? Can’t be a base guy? Can’t be the guy sending messages? A runner? Anything?

Colin:

Seriously. Someone has to peel potatoes. Just saying.

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“Is there anything you can do?”

Look at that face. Does it look like there’s anything he can do?

“I’m doing it. I’m saving your life.”

Colin:

This guy is totally one of those guys who would have played a vice principal on an early 90s Nickelodeon show.

He was the butler in The Parent Trap.

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Born on the 4th of July.

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Colin:

There are stories about the guys who killed themselves because they couldn’t serve. Is he just too determined? He still thinks he’ll get in? 

Is someone gonna steal his train now?

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News on the March!

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Der Sound and Der Fuhrer.

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“Every able-bodied young man is lining up to fight for his country.”

Well, at least they said able-bodied. You have an excuse.

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I love shots of people in old movie theaters.

Colin:

Aw, Edward flashback. Ugh.

Look at old timey Cate Blanchett here.

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That’s a strong ass bulb you got there.

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“Even little Timmy is doing his part.”

And I’m sure he’s gonna get the mustard gas too.

Colin:

Cause now, this kid is showing him up and that looks awful.

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A HA HA they’re collecting scrap metal.

Which he could do too. He’s got too narrow an idea of what ‘his part’ can be.

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Well now don’t you feel like shit, though?

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What are you crying about?

Oh, I get it. Her sweetheart is off fighting, and this asshole is here.

This is some The General shit.

Either that, or it’s because she’s married to that old bastard and he won’t die.

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“Who cares? Play the movie already!”

Do you not know how movies work?

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“Hey, you wanna show some respect?”

3-1 odds the dude stands up and is towering.

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“Just start the cartoon!”

Colin:

There’s a beard.

But he’s like, 9.

Oh, you meant…

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“Hey, you wanna shut up?!”

Colin:

See, this is bad on principle. I don’t even care about the patriotic stuff, which…yeah, you shouldn’t heckle newsreels about the war effort during WWII. But you should also keep your mouth shut in the goddamn theater.

Unless Liv Tyler has a paring knife.

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Wow, who didn’t see that coming?

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Hey, that woman is talking. How do you ignore the giant fight about to happen?

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Colin:

Did he drag Rogers out here instead of watching the movie he was awaiting so impatiently? Cause…what? And did all the people, including the ushers — cause there were ushers back then — let this unpatriotic ass manhandle the guy who was only trying to maintain order? That seems kinda like bullshit.

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I miss old timey trash cans.

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Love New York City alleyways.

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He’s beating the living fuck out of him, too.

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Captain America, ladies and gentleman.

Colin:

Hah. He has a shield. Nice little foreshadowing there.

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Wow, he punched down and he still went sideways.

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But he’s getting up, though.

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“You just don’t know when to give up, do ya?”

“I can do this all day.”

Colin:

I’m also glad they’re doing this in an alley so they don’t have to show us CGI New York.

Especially with the CGI in this movie.

Actually, the CGI in most movies is pretty bad.

Remember Benjamin Button? New York looked fake as shit there.

It’s weird how they still haven’t figured out how to make CGI look realistic on things like that. Or maybe they just don’t give a shit.

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“Hey, pick on someone your own size.”

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Did he randomly know he’d be there?

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Colin:

HEE HAW HEE HAW

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“Motherfucker.”

I love how much this looks like a set.

Colin:

This looks like the alley that Redford runs into in The Sting and the assassin walks in POV.

This looks like the alley in the Musketeers of Pig Alley.

Or where Chaplin shanked that guy.

(One of those isn’t a movie.)

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“Sometimes I think you like getting punched.”

How did you know he was gonna be here, getting his ass kicked? Seriously.

“I had him on the ropes.”

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“How many times is this?”

Colin:

It’s 1943? Wasn’t it 1942? Anyway.

Also, can’t you just show people all these rejection letters and tell them you tried?

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“Oh, you’re from Paramus now. You know it’s illegal to lie on the enlistment form.”

I know. And Jersey?

“And seriously, Jersey?”

HA!

Colin:

Hah. Jersey. Why not apply IN Jersey? I bet they need people to do…Jersey stuff.

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“You get your orders?”

Colin:

His friend’s in the service, so that doesn’t suck balls. Don’t they need smart people? Is he not smart? Code cracking and stuff like that, you can be scrawny.

Also, how old is he? What does he do otherwise? Does he have a job? Is he in school? It seems like he only exists to join the army. It’s like this is Nebraska or something.

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“The 107th. Sgt. James Barnes, shipping out for England, first thing tomorrow.”

“I should be going.”

Colin:

Shipping out first thing tomorrow. It’s always first thing tomorrow. Time to make your ancestors proud.

By getting completely shitfaced and fighting some people and puking in the alleyway and sleeping with some skank who drops about four points in the morning?

Colin:

I said ‘proud,’ not ‘nostalgic.’

Comedy is tragedy plus time.

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“Come on, man. My last night. Gotta get you cleaned up.”

Colin:

You know, these days, Steve would do pretty well like this. For one, he’d fit in skinny jeans really well.

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“Why, where we going?”

“The future.”

Foreshadowing.

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Stark.

Colin:

The world exposition? Oh, this is a Stark thing. That’s the same globe as the one in Iron Man 2, yes? So it’s Flushing?

Flushing all my interest down the drain.

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So CGI.

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“I don’t see what the problem is. You’re about to be the last eligible man in New York. You know there’s three and a half million women here.”

And how many of them are waiting for soldiers?

Also, why does this look so CG? Try harder.

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“Well, I’d settle for just one.”

“You can bang any woman in New York, practically.” “I only really just want one.”

He’s the boring lead in the romantic comedy. Nobody wants to be that guy.

“Good thing I took care of that.”

HOOKERS.

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I wish you could hail hookers the way you hail a cab.

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Modern Marvels.

Colin:

The population of New York is surprisingly steady over the past 70 years.

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Dr. Phineas?

Also, is that a color TV over there in the corner?

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Colin:

This shit looks like BioShock.

Remember when everyone wore hats, and it was just a thing? Let’s bring that back. I want to be able to wear a hat places and not look like a douchebag.

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Holding hands already?

Plus, why are they both crowding around Bucky? Do they both wanna fuck him, and neither wants to be paired with Steve?

Colin:

I thought these girls would want to sleep with a real HE-MAN, not this little shrimp.

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The one on the right has a Joe Dirt haircut.

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“Ladies and gentlemen, Howard Stark.”

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How many of them do you think he banged?

Weren’t no scheduling conflicts in the 40s.

Colin:

Howard is like 25 here. Which is good, because the math on this was really messing me up when I saw it. He was born in 1917 and Tony was born when he was in his 50s. So that makes more sense.

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My kinda guy.

Colin:

Wow, we like this Howard Stark. I guess they’re just playing up the playboy image. Like father, like son, I guess?

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She looks like he just offered her syphilis.

Colin:

She doesn’t want your crackerjacks, shrimp.

His crackerjacks must be tiny.

Does he even have a Tonsberg?

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“Ladies and gentlemen, what if I told you that in a couple of years your automobile won’t even have to touch the ground at all?”

They’d probably believe you, because they’re all liquored up and gullible.

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You think they practiced this?

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I love old technology boards.

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Aww… just like his son.

(Also, this CGI looks so bad.)

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Well, he said in a few years.

Colin:

And it failed. Well, it’s 1943 and you’re like 25. So I’ll give you props all the same for figuring that shit out.

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“I did say a few years, didn’t I?”

See? Built in save.

Colin:

I like that. “Fuck you guys, this shit’s hard. I’m gonna fuck some bitches tonight, though. Believe that.”

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Dick in the ass subtlety.

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This is like a shitty Ocean’s Eleven shot.

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“Hey Steve –”

Your rent’s due, motherfucker?

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I wonder what this became in the 2010 Stark Expo. Probably a taco stand.

Colin:

More enlisting, because at this point they’re doing it 24/7 everywhere.

That’s how they get you. One minute you’re stumbling down the block, shitfaced, and the next minute you’re shooting at some Jap in Guadalcanal.

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Nice little imagery thing.

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Aww.

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“Come on. You’re kind of missing the point of a double date.”

DVDA?

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“You go ahead. I’ll catch up with you.”

He’s gonna try again.

“Look, I know you don’t think I can do this, but –”

“This isn’t a back alley, Steve, this is war.”

He’ll have a gun. The odds are technically better in war for him.

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TUCCI.

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He looks like Groucho Einstein.

Colin:

This is a great opportunity for a plug. A dear friend of mine has started a tumblr devoted to convincing Stanley Tucci to have brunch with him. That’s pretty much it.

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“Why are you so keen to fight, there are so many important jobs.”

Correct. Why is he being such a moron?

“What do you want me to do, collect scrap metal –”

“Yes!”

“—in my little red wagon?”

“Why not?”

I’d love to see Captain America dragging around a little red wagon.

“I’m not gonna sit in a factory, Bucky. Come on, there are men laying down their lives. I got no right to do any less than them. That’s what you don’t understand. This isn’t about me.”

“Right, because you got nothing to prove.”

This is starting to annoy me now. We fucking get it. I know this is for the benefit of Tucci, but seriously.

The only reason this gets a pass is because it’s doing what a 40s movie would have done.

Just with awful CGI.

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I’m gonna say this right now: if we’re ranking Marvel characters (and we just might), Stanley Tucci as this guy is probably top ten overall. He’ fucking great.

Colin:

Stanley Tucci is moved by your devotion. He was that way, too, when he was but a Tuccling.

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“Hey Sarge – we going dancing?”

“Yes we are.”

Weird thing for a CO to say.

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“Don’t do anything stupid til I get back.”

But once he’s back, then it’s okay.

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“How can I? You’re taking all the stupid with you.”

Oh…kay.

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“You’re a punk.”

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“Jerk.”

Why does this feel so final? He’s gonna try to enlist. How long does that take? An hour, tops? Tell them to walk around for a while, or wait at the dance hall for him. You can still fucking see them when you’re done.

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“Don’t win the war til I get there.”

Colin:

Don’t win the war til I get there? See, if he means that, then it IS about him and he IS selfish. Everyone should want the speediest end to the war with the least bloodshed. Sounds like he’d rather they prolonged things so he can get in the game.

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“Come on, girls, they’re playing our song.”

That’s funny, he took just the one and left the other to go off into the crowd.

Random Chick was released into the wild. Bye, Random Chick!

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If he was a rapper, would he be Tucc Chains?

(Be sure to tip your waitress.)

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Really splurged on the set design, huh?

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This is a hit.

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“Wait here.”

“Is there a problem?”

“Just wait here.”

So, yes. There’s a problem.

Either that or she’s gonna blow him in the hallway. This is the 40s. All bets are off.

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Yeah, we get it.

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Colin:

Wow. They’re really setting it up pretty obviously that he’s gonna be arrested. Which only suggests that he won’t be.

That’s Marvel. “This is gonna happen” = It’s not gonna happen.

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“Thank you.”

Stanley Tucci only took this part because he always wanted to do a German accent. How can you beat that?

Colin:

What if it was Stan Lee Tucci?

I’m actually forgetting what the Stan Lee cameo is in this. So that’ll be interesting.

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“So – you want to go overseas. Kill some Nazis.”

“Excuse me?”

“Dr. Abraham Erskine.”

Always a good exchange.

Something random. “What?” “How you doin’?” This is how screwball comedies go.

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He represents the Lollipop Guild.

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“Where are you from?”

Pittsburgh.

“Queens.”

Close.

“73rd Street and Utopia Parkway. Before that, Germany.”

He’s the best.

Stanley Tucci and Hugo Weaving in the same movie is always a good thing.

Colin:

I love Tucci’s reply. Basically this.

“This troubles you?”

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“Where are you from, Mr. Rogers?”

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“Is it, New Haven? Or Paramus? Five exams in five different cities.”

How’d you get those records so fast?

Colin:

They have all his files? If he’s falsified it all, how have they found that stuff? Isn’t it thrown away? It’s certainly not held LOCALLY. They don’t have all his records from everywhere. That’d be ridiculous.

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“It’s not the exams I’m interested in, it’s the five tries. You didn’t answer my question. Do you want to kill Nazis?”

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“Is this a test?”

Colin:

I like his Frodo suspenders. I wonder if he has high-water pants on too. Clam-diggers, as they’re known Down East.

Auf Wiedersehen, hobbitses.

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“Yes.”

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“I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”

But that means you have to kill people. I don’t think you understand how this works.

“There are already so many big men fighting this war. Maybe what we need now is a little guy.”

Or we just need a big man who’s not an asshole.

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“I can offer you a chance. Only a chance.”

“I’ll take it.”

Colin:

If you didn’t know what this movie was, it’d be totally plausible that Tucci has a weird fetish and is just drafting a new gimp or something.

Steve Rogers is… Captain America: The First Human Centipede.

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“Good. So where is the little guy from? Actually.”

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“Brooklyn.”

I’m from that place.

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“Congratulations. Soldier.”

Are they gonna let that black guy in the army?

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Interesting scoring going on here.

Colin:

New Haven. I bet New Haven sucked less in 1943. 

Katharine Hepburn lived there.

It probably had loons.

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Congratulations, you are now eligible to be killed.

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And now here we are at the mountains.

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Oh, mountain lair. This is so Indiana Jones/James Bond. I love it.

CGI as fuck, but whatever.

Colin:

This place is more impressive than the Berghof. I wanna check out all those Nazi mountain retreats and stuff. They were awful people, but they had great vacation homes. Awful people make great vacation homes.

Nazis: Awful People, Great Vacation Homes

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“Are you ready, Dr. Zola?”

There’s a video camera set up. I don’t like where this is heading.

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Toby Jones. Yes.

“My machine requires the most delicate calibration.”

Colin:

And Karl Rove is a Nazi scientist.

Who knew Dobby had a Final Solution?

(Kill the SPEW?)

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“Forgive me if I seem overly cautious.”

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“Are you certain that those conductors of yours can withstand the energy surge long enough for transference?”

Boring dialogue. Not even exposition. Just irrelevant yammering.

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This actually could be an Indiana Jones movie.

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“With this artifact, I am certain of nothing. I fear it may not work at all.”

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One skull, two skull, red skull, blue skull.

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With a lair like this, why would you even be interested in world domination? I’d just chill here.

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THOSE GLASSES.

Colin:

Yeah, those dark goggles. I wanna get dark goggles to wear all the time. The sun sucks.

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Look at that custom belt.

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Colin:

We don’t know what this thing is or what it’s here to do. We know nothing. We don’t really care, but oh well.

Because, understanding? Who needs that? This is Marvel. They don’t care.

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Is this a precursor to Bullshitium?

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“Stabilizing at 70 percent.”

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“I have not come all this way for safety, doctor.”

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This is how Watchmen happened.

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This is what I assume movie sets were like in the 40s.

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This is exactly how Watchmen happened.

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This would be a great buddy comedy.

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Colin:

This image is how I felt the first time I had a sip of Dubra. For those of you who aren’t from New England or the mid-Atlantic states.

Crystal Palace is a whole other beast.

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“What was that?”

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“I must congratulate you, Arnim. Your designs do not disappoint. Though they may require some slight reinforcement.”

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“The energy we have just collected could power all of my designs.”

Well good, at least you explained what the fuck we just watched.

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“This will change the war.”

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“Dr. Zola.”

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“This will change the world.”

Colin:

Not just the war, but the whole world? Wow. Who’d you get to pen this script? The guys who did The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and then nothing but superhero movies? Right.

Stanley Tucci played Kubrick in that movie.

I also really love that movie. So there’s that.

Colin:

Great, then. They did that and then sold out, I guess. I have absolutely no problem with that, by the way. Attention money people: I am prepared to sell out right here and now. Get at me.

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“Gentlemen, I’m Agent Carter.”

Agent?

Colin:

There has to be a woman, because it couldn’t just be some random guy like it would have been regularly. Nah, we needed a hot chick, so boom. 

“I supervise all operations for this division.”

That’s vague.

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Well hello.

I like that his helmet is too big for him.

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“What’s with the accent, Queen Victoria?”

Colin:

But actually, though, what’s with the accent? Why must there always be one with an accent? There’s always a Brit or someone who doesn’t belong. You aren’t in our army. You’re not supposed to be here. Go away.

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“I thought I was signing up for the US Army.”

Good, old-fashioned, one-dimensional American racism.

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“What’s your name, soldier?”

“Gilmore Hodge, your majesty.”

Does he not understand rank? Or is it because she doesn’t officially have rank? Because that’s not a very soldier thing to do.

“Step forward, Hodge.”

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“Put your right foot forward.”

Colin:

He makes kissy lips and wants to bang her. She punches him. This is really groundbreaking stuff.

Why is he listening to her? Insult her or listen to her. Pick one.

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“We gonna rassle? Cause I got a few moves I know you’ll like.”

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Colin:

You notice in the freeze frames that while women in movies can be badass as characters, they never look quite as smooth punching someone as their male counterparts. Neo and Trinity? No comparison, and we’re still talking about Keanu, here.

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“Agent Carter.”

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“Colonel Phillips.”

“Nice to see that you are breaking in candidates. That’s good.”

Colin:

Tommy Lee Jones! Yes! I love this man.

They cast the supporting parts here really well.

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“Get your ass up outta that dirt and stand up in that line to attention until somebody come tells you what to do.”

Colin:

Tommy Lee Jones thinks you’re a Nancy boy who should go home.

He doesn’t mean in the movie. That’s actually what Tommy Lee Jones thinks.

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“General Patton has said wars are fought with weapons but they are won by men.”

Because weapons can’t shoot themselves.

Yet.

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“We are going to win this war because we have the best… men.”

Colin:

Isn’t that just stooping to Hitler’s level with the whole superiority thing?

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“And because they are gonna get better. Much better.”

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“There’s an Allied effort made up of the best minds in the free world.”

This is a pretty random cut. I guess the idea is all this guy thinks about is being a soldier. Which makes him a pretty boring person.

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“Our goal is to create the best army in history.”

This seems dangerous.

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“But every army starts with one man.”

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Get it?

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“At the end of this week, we will choose that man.”

A week?! That’s all this is? You’re gonna pick the right candidate for a super soldier program in a week? Yeah, I’m sure nothing can go wrong with that.

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“Who will be the first of the new breed of super soldier.”

Colin:

He’s telling them it’s a super soldier thing? Don’t you keep that a secret until a more opportune moment?

He’s probably betting on the same thing the filmmakers are betting on: that no one’s paying attention to the words.

Colin:

Unless it’s us, most people aren’t. I have conversations with people who defend movies we’ve torn apart, and more than half the time, when I bring up a plot point or some dialogue that was dumb, they go, “Yeah, I don’t remember that, so…not really sure. But the movie was pretty good.” Maybe several dozen movies into Fun with Franchises is a little late for the disclaimer, but we’re judging these based on the assumption that you’re awake and paying attention.

And not taking everything we say literally.

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Colin:

This looks like an infomercial for a Ronco product that makes you a better soldier. “Ever find yourself unable to climb rope ladders? Do people fuck with the barbed wire over your head?”

Does no one see him doing this?

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“And they will personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell.”

Colin:

Remember how Hitler and the Nazis are almost never in this movie?

Which I kind of like. Except for the whole gimp outfits thing.

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Why are there rocks surrounding this flag?

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“That flag means we’re only at the halfway point.”

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“First man to bring it to me gets a ride back with Agent Carter.”

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“Nobody’s got that flag in 17 years.”

Which means he’s gonna get it now.

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It can’t be that impossible to do this.

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Colin:

Oh, this is where he has to use smarts to make up for his lack of brawn. How’d he get it down again? Pruning shears?

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“Rogers!”

Is this a State Farm commercial?

Also, look at that guy in the back.

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Well that seemed like an obvious thing to do.

Colin:

Ah. Well, I like that solution. There’s an objective. You don’t have to get it like a gorilla.

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“Thank you, sir.”

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Colin:

This is a good setup, but there are a few cases later where he doesn’t do things the easier way, and in fact, criticizes that way of thinking. Compare this scene with his argument with Tony Stark in The Avengers, when Stark says he’d just “cut the wire” or whatever — Rogers is all irritated with Stark for picking the easy way out, while this scene portrays the “easy way out” as using intuition and intelligence to reach an objective without sacrifice. It bugs me that they don’t really stick to their defining characteristics and become wholly different characters to suit the universe.

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And now you all gotta run back.

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They do a good job of making him seem pitiful.

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“You’re not really thinking about picking Rogers, are you?”

“I wasn’t just thinking about it. He’s a clear choice.”

Depends on what exactly this serum does.

“You brought a 90-pound asthmatic onto my army base, I let it slide. I thought maybe, ‘What the hell, maybe he’d be useful to you, like a gerbil.’ I never thought you’d pick him.”

Colin:

I want Tommy Lee Jones to be in more things. Maybe I’ll pause this and go watch No Country For Old Men.

Tommy Lee Jones is one of the few filmmakers who is still making westerns, too. Which I love.

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“You stick a needle in that kid’s arm, it’s gonna go right through him.”

And then they stick like, ten in him, don’t they?

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“Look at that. He’s making me cry.”

Tommy Lee Jones is the best.

“I am looking for qualities beyond the physical.”

Maybe tell him about the whole Red Skull thing. It might make this go smoother.

“Do you know how long it took to set up this project?”

And yet you’re only taking a week to make a decision.

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Hodge passed every test.

“He’s big, he’s fast, he obeys every order. He’s a soldier.”

“He’s a bully.”

Colin:

He’s a bully? I’m kinda with Tommy on this one. Why do we care? At this point, they’re not trying to make a superhero, they’re trying to make a super soldier. Make a goddamn super soldier already.

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“You don’t win wars with niceness, doctor.”

Isn’t the idea that this thing creates a super soldier? So who gives a fuck what he looks like beforehand?

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“You win wars with guts.”

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“Grenade!”

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“Get away!”

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Colin:

“Oh hey, whatcha got there?”

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“Get back!”

Colin:

Ah hah. The old dummy-grenade-into-the-formation-of-jumping-jacking-recruits, just like we used to do in ‘Na—oh wait, Vietnam hasn’t happened yet.

Hasn’t it, though?

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GPOY

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Colin:

Seriously, it looked like everyone else was clear. You’re just sacrificing yourself needlessly. Which is how wars are lost *cough* Japan *cough*

Which is also the M.O. of this character. Sacrificing himself needlessly.

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Facial expressions.

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“Is this a test?”

Did you not hear the monologue? This entire week is a test.

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“He’s still skinny.”

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Can Stanley Tucci be in everything?

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Where’s everyone else? Have they been sent home? Were they voted out of the tribe?

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“May I?”

You know he dead.

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“Can I ask you a question?”

“Just one.”

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“Why me?”

Colin:

Fuck you.

“I suppose that is the only question that matters.”

Kinda wish he said “fuck you.”

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“This is from Augsburg. My city. So many people forget the first country the Nazis invaded was their own.”

Augsburg is the only German city with its own holiday.

I’m choosing to ignore the second half of that line.

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“You know, after the last war, my people, they felt weak, they felt small. And then Hitler comes along, with his marching, and the big show and the flags.”

Colin:

Oh, but Stanley Tucci is going to explain the bad guys instead of answering the question, and I approve of this.

He’s also explaining why Germany allowed the Nazis to happen. Not quite the same as them taking over Poland.

“He hears of me. My work. And he finds me, and he says, “You, you will make us strong.”

Stanley Tucci met Hitler. Is what I got out of this.

“Well, I am not interested, so he sends the head of HYDRA –”

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Flashback haircuts are the best.

“His research division –”

Hydra, his research division. This is bad exposition.

“A brilliant scientist by the name of Johan Schmidt.”

Straight out of the generic German name book.

“Now, Schmidt is a member of the inner circle. And he is ambitious. He and Hitler share a passion for occult power and Teutonic myth. Hitler uses his fantasies to inspire his followers. But for Schmidt, it is not fantasy.”

Colin:

More pictures of Hugo Weaving next to Dark Age paintings.

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“He has become convinced that there is a great power hidden in the earth, left here by the gods, waiting to be seized by a superior man.”

Which is actually true. According to this universe. My question is — how did he become convinced?

“So when he hears about my formula, and what it can do, he cannot resist.”

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“Schmidt must become that superior man.”

That’s like, super dangerous.

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Heroin, baby.

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Colin:

I would usually hate this, but it’s Hugo Weaving. Note to filmmakers: Hugo Weaving typically gets your movie a pass.

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“Did it make him stronger?”

“Yeah. But there were other effects.”

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Psychedelic effects?

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“The serum was not ready.”

Did you tell him this? Or did this make you realize it wasn’t ready? What made it ready? What chemical tweak changed the whole “skin melting off” effect?

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“But more important, the man.”

Pretty sure the serum not being ready is more important.

“The serum amplifies what is inside, so good becomes great, bad becomes worse.”

So his motives get explained pretty easily.

Really this means they should have found a great, stronger man than Steve.

Colin:

So he’s a good guy and we’re told that the serum amplifies everything about you. So I guess if you gave me the serum I’d REALLY like the Kenan & Kel theme song.

“This is why you were chosen. Because a strong man, who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power.”

Not unless he has a lot of respect for it to begin with. This is a logic flaw.

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“But a weak man knows the value of strength. And knows compassion.”

Not necessarily. But sure. Maybe he’s just bitter and has a Napoleon complex.

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And now let us drink.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing.”

Don’t throw up?

Clench?

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“That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”

Assuming he survives. Because how can he be a good man… if he’s DEAD?!

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“To the little guys.”

I’ve been wanting to ask this the whole time — did he get that shirt at Baby Gap?

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Does no one bunk here?

Colin:

The other guys already got neuralized and sent home. Tell me this isn’t the Men in Black setup. Only now, Rip Torn is Tommy Lee Jones, and Tommy Lee Jones is Stanley Tucci. 

And Hugo Weaving is Vincent D’Onofrio.

Shit, this actually makes sense.

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“No, no, wait, wait, what I am doing?”

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“You have procedure tomorrow. No fluids.”

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And that’s what you do.

“All right, we’ll drink it after.”

No, you won’t.

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“No, I don’t have procedure tomorrow.”

Colin:

Co-rrect. Stanley Tucci will drink it now.

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“Drink it after. Drink it now.”

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I wonder which German composer this could be.

Colin:

In case you guys want the audio from this scene, it really helps.

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I wanna say nice framing, but I also want people to appreciate how relative that comment is to actual good frame composition.

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Colin:

Notice how many switches get flipped, knobs get turned and levers get thrown in this movie?

I want switches like that.

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I can still see you.

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“Is there something in particular you need?”

Is there any reason other than to save the reveal that you turned that light off?

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A new pair of pants.

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Colin:

Lights off, good shot. Oh, the painter has all the reds. I like that they don’t just show you. Don’t ever just show me. Unless you’re doing a voiceover, in which case, for shit’s sake, just show me.

Plus, it saves us the CGI for a while. Which is nice.

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“The fuck you eyein’ my painting for?”

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“I understand you’ve found him.”

“See for yourself.”

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You think they call that painter after he’s done? Have to, right? I feel like even he requires that.

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Is that a nudie show? Is Erskine a pervert?

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“You disapprove.”

Colin:

You got that close, why not kill him? 

The plot.

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Octopi everywhere.

“I just don’t see why you need concern yourself. I can’t imagine he’ll succeed.”

The Plot.

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Reaction shots.

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“Again.”

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“His serum is the Allies only defense against this power we now possess. If we take it away from them, then our victory is assured.”

Not really. But okay.

“Shall I give the order?”

Why would you give the order?

“It has been given.”

By him. Because he’s running this shit. You’re just the science geek. You’re Rove, he’s Cheney.

You know Cheney’s got a red skull.

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“Good.”

Weird that they’re not showing his face. I mean, I get it, but we already saw a glimpse of it, and how CG it’s going to look.

I guess my real comment here is – why are we going so obviously CGI when you’ve already made allusions to Indiana Jones, a franchise that prided itself (the first three, anyway) on doing things without CGI?

Colin:

At least this was better than that, mostly. There were no monkeys on the zipline.

Yeah, but you can have him have a red skull without that much CGI.

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“Dr. Zola.”

Wait, is that a wheel lock like on a ship? Those are the BEST.

Also, I hope he’s deliberately making him uncomfortable. I like it when psychos make people uncomfortable.

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“What do you think?”

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“A masterpiece.”

Colin:

They end the scene without showing the painting? Wow. Just, wow. I’m really impressed that they showed that level of restraint. You know who the real hero of this film was? Whoever decided to not show the face or the painting at that moment.

And that’s where we’ll END PART I.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Part II, and the after effects of steroids.

(See the rest of Fun with Franchises here.)

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