Much as Captain America once stormed Nazi battlements and emerged victorious, so too has the movie about him compromised the defenses of a nation’s critics. Which, to our eyes, is a major win for Marvel and their studio partner Paramount who have played this thing perfectly. In a summer awash with more middling superhero blockbusters than congressional debt proposals, one would expect a movie that is essentially a two-hour trailer for another movie to be fruitlessly savaged the way other low-art money-making machines tend to be this time of year. And yet the reverse is true: Captain America: The First Avenger is receiving grudgingly respectful notices, not raves exactly, a sort of shrugging, existential acceptance that things could be worse (Kevin James as Bucky, say). Let’s call them caves. And there’s an even better term for what’s befallen the critics themselves, as they melt in the idiotic heat of the season and it’s not a newfound appreciation for escapism. It’s Stockholm Syndrome!
It’s June, which means that Hollywood is readying another buffet of crap. Endless superhero sagas, pointless remakes, a third Transformers movie — 2011 just might be the worst summer movie season ever. But a lousy summer for movie-watchers is a great summer for Razzie-watchers, because everyone knows that summer is Razzie season.
The Razzies, of course, are the coveted Golden Raspberry awards, the brainchild of Los Angeles PR man John Wilson, who turned an Oscar-party roast of bad movies into a 30-year cottage industry celebrating the worst Tinseltown has to offer. The Razzies (dis)honor Hollywood the day before the Academy Awards in a ceremony that has even occasionally attracted some star power. (Two years ago Sandra Bullock accepted her Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve in person, her good sportsmanship aided, no doubt, by the fact that she was a lock to win an Oscar for The Blind Side the next day.)