Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Signature Song: Captain America: The First Avenger

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe. Original songs in films certainly add to the overall experience of going to or watching a movie, whether they play over the end credits or during a particular scene during the movie. There is an Oscar category to recognize the Best Original Song of each year, and this feature will aim to spotlight one terrific song that defined a movie but didn’t end up getting nominated. Submissions are welcome – offer your thoughts on this song and others like it in the comments below!

Song: Star Spangled Man
Artist: Alan Menken and David Zippel
Film: Captain America: The First Avenger
Year: 2011

This isn’t some incredible musical composition that you can really get into singing and appreciate the melody and lyrics. Instead, it’s the perfect way of describing and addressing Captain America, a hero who works well in comic books but, before this 2011 film, didn’t even translate positively to the big or small screen. What this song does is help to acknowledge the cheesiness of his costume and his overarching purpose, to represent America to other countries. It’s also a positive way to bridge the gap between Captain America, described in his film’s subtitle as the first Avenger, and the rest of his team who exist in the modern day. The 2011 film that started what is already a very successful franchise was set back in the 1940s, and this song, which looks and sounds like a USO tribute show, does its job perfectly, building up Captain America as a nationalist symbol, one who couldn’t possibly be seen as anything but a rallying force for freedom and justice worldwide. Its performance in the film finds Chris Evans’s masked Steve Rogers reading his lines off the back of his shield and marching around triumphantly, reenacting his many auspicious feats. It’s designed to be corny and enthusiastically represented as such, complete with a knockout punch for an actor playing Hitler as the final scene of the stage act. Who wouldn’t love Captain America after hearing this?

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