*spoof* of the day: The Spawn of Evil

Dear Readers,

welcome to the long-awaited, fantabulous FanstRAvaganza 2013. For the coming week myself and countless A___ fans all over the world will be blogging on all aspects Armitageois in an effort to raise R___ A___ ‘s profile while providing lots of food for fun and thought for his devoted fans. You can follow the blogging event on the specially created hub fanstRAvaganza.com where all the posts will be collected in one spot. I myself am cross-posting my contributions here on my specially-created WordPress blog, as well as tumblr. Please show *all* participants a bit of love and leave a message – or click love, like, ❤ to show your appreciation.

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Maybe FanstRA is the opportunity to do something slightly different with my *ooof*s for a change. Usually they are pretty dour: Analyses of A___ images, peppered with photographic jargon and only for the icing doused with a bit of objectifying and ogling. How about looking at some less-than-perfect A___ shots then, just for the fun of it? The duds and the flops, so to speak. Yes, there are those among the A___ photographic output. And for the fun of it, I’ll use FanstRA as the opportunity to actually look at the pictures that I *don’t* like… So for the next seven days you will be getting more of these from me. They are still *ooof* because they contain A___ – but they are to be taken with a pinch spoon-ful of salt – therefore let’s call them *spoofs*

To start us off, I have chosen a still from Armitage’s first major outing into the world of film. (I’ll ignore his bit part in Phantom Menace just for the sake of the flow, here.) Not liking the images from Captain America is easy enough – how can you like representations of a nasty Nazi spy? Well – I usually have no problem in finding redeeming characteristics for any character that R___ plays. But the styling here doesn’t make it any easier, either. Horn-rimmed specs, anyone? Nah, didn’t think so. But let’s have a look first.

Captain America: The First Avenger

On his way to hell.
R___ A___ as Nazi spy Heinz Krüger in Captain America.
Image sourced via RAnet.com

The image above is a promo still from the film and shows the moment before Heinz Krüger ignites a massive bomb with a flick of his little cigarette lighter. It is actually much to A___ ‘s credit that I never recognised him when I watched Captain America on the big screen with my son two years ago. Never mind the fact that he was playing a character who was made to be hated, and treated with disgust. Krüger is standing in the lab where the miraculous weapon of the Americans in their fight against the Nazis has been developed. With one fell swoop Krüger is just about to obliterate the good guys’ chances of fighting evil. He  is standing on a metal staircase in the corner of the lab, overlooking the floor. Hence the perspective of the camera is from below.

Shooting from a lower level than your subject’s head easily adds extra nastiness to the shot: We have to look up to this character, we have been made to feel smaller than him. Smaller = less. This will already displease us. How could this nasty Nazi spy be bigger than us??? – But shooting from below head level *is* nasty. If you ever happen to be so lucky as to get your arch-enemy into a photograph you are taking, then heed my words: Take a picture from below. It does wonders to your own self-esteem by blowing his/her double chins out of proportion! This is the least flattering aspect *ever*. (Although I must admit that A___ does his best not to look double-chinned. Well, that’s because he has no double chin. *ahem*)

But there is another trick that the makers of the movie employed to characterise Krüger as the spawn of evil. Look at the lighting of the image. You will observe that from the background it is clear that there must be overhead lighting (> see the shadows underneath the pipes). Now look at Krüger. There is the light from above, as seen in the highlights on his shoulders and his hair. But much more importantly, there is light from *below*. It is directly trained onto him and leaves no further trace on other parts of the room. Clever! Because this is where the real, subtle characterisation tools come in. You could ask anyone you know – most people will tell you that they find an image with lighting from below eerie. Why? Because it reminds us of hell – this is the hellfire of the devil, it illuminates this evil spy from below and claims him for eternal damnation! – All a bit one-dimensional for you? Well, remember, this is a comic book dramatisation and hence relies on the age-old fight between good and evil. And boy did they use every trick in the book to make the villain look even more villainous. The image is a typical example of that.

I have to admit that this picture per se is not really a dud, though. It is perfectly made – the lighting is no coincidence, neither is the perspective. It is all part of the characterisation of Krüger – and it is using the available tricks to its advantage. You also have to bear that in mind when you look at the styling of Krüger. We are meant to dislike this character, therefore a handsome actor like A___ is not allowed to look any better than the lead of the film (in this case Capt America, played by Chris Evans). The stylists achieved that by giving A___ a slick side-parting – not his usual look and not one that makes his square-dy forehead look any better. They have also chosen to give him horn-rimmed specs – even in the 1940s not the epitome of a sexy look. (And, btw, my only niggle with the decisions of the costume department – horn-rimmed specs. As a spectacle-wearer myself, I am quite aware of eyefashion and I can tell that the shape of the glasses worn by Krüger is anachronistic. While horn-rimmed specs were in existence in the 1940s, most of the glasses worn were metal rimmed. If horn-rimmed at all, they were of a much rounder shape. The shape of Krüger’s rather rectangular glasses point more towards the 1960s than the 1940s.)

Back to the film for some concluding words. My heart breaks every time A___ is cast as a villainous character. Is it really true what he said in an interview for Captain America: “I suppose I’m a bit mean. My face on camera doesn’t lend itself to happy nice guys. I think it’s just that my bone structure looks menacing. I don’t smile that often.” Menacing bone structure? Oh R___, no! You just have an angular face but a wonderful propensity to smile. The occasional smoulder is quite effective, too, but remember: Smile often! It increases your face value!!

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30 thoughts on “*spoof* of the day: The Spawn of Evil

  1. Firstly, I’m one of the few people in the fandom who sees merit in Heinz (that’s a lovely name for a baby and I can see why his monther chose it, although it seems a tad wrong that the word ‘ketchup’ doesn’t follow…).
    Sheesh, you explode one tiny bomb in some silly lab in Brooklyn, sending off a few people to meet their maker, including a (somewhat) charming scientist, and all of a sudden you’re ‘the bad guy’!
    People really shouldn’t judge! Try walking a mile in his tightly laced up shoes… or in that restrictive woolen 3-piece suit on a hot summer day, with ridiculous shoulder pads obstructing your view, all the while suffering from a toothache caused by all the poison stuck up there, and see how much you’d smile!
    And those glasses! My sister wore a similar pair in the 80s, only in pink, and she’s traumatised by the experience till this very day!
    Oh, and had Heinzy killed off Captain America right then and their, we wouldn’t have had to watch the other 2 boring hours of that dreadful movie… Now THAT’S something to think about…
    🙂

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    • LOL Agzy, you make me laugh. Well argued points. Heinz has an altogether sexy feel to the name. I can just feel that end-z droppppppping off my tongue. And yes, how admirably he performed his tasks with that hot suit. As for the glasses – yeah, my 1980s look was similar, and pink, like your sister’s. Actually: right back in fashion. Well, a Heinz is never out of fashion, anyway…

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      • Honey, those glasses should NEVER come back! My poor sister has suffered enough so that future generations wouldn’t have to! And those glasses were pair with a haircut that looked like someone had placed a bowl on her head and had cut around it. Let’s stop the cycle of dodgy glasses and bad haircut abuse! Awkward 10-year-olds around the world have suffered enough 😉

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  2. I enjoyed Richard’s bad guy characters… mainly Gizzy and Lucas (because they had a softer, jaded side) but I LOVE seeing him play the hero. 🙂 I didn’t like Heinz-Ketschup Kruger, which means he played his character well.

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  3. Interesting post. I will be waiting for more “spoofs”. it’s not a bad picture but the cloths, hair and the glasses arn’t exactly made for Richard. And second he looks totally grazy and evil. So totally different from how cute Richard can look when he smiles or looks shy.

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  4. Howdy!
    I admit I really didn’t like Captain America. And RA was the one and only reason I watched the film. (I say “watched”; I tried to see it through to the end, but only managed another 20 minutes or so after Heinz made his exit, because it was soooo awful…in my humble option – sorry Captain America lovers – But the end I never did see… though I’m told I didn’t miss much!)
    Anyhoo, tangent!
    So RA was the only reason I watched it, and I do love him as the “bad guy” – not because “his bone structure looks menacing”, (tut! Such nonsense! Honestly, what is he like?), but because he has a knack for playing them so darn convincingly, and with such depth. He really does his acting homework! 😉
    As “baddies” go, I still prefer Guy in eyeliner to Kruger with the not as flattering as they could have been glasses (and i usually LOVE man with glasses).
    Still, Kruger is still a way more compelling character than Captain A, who was supposed to be the hero… but bored this girl silly! o_O
    x

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    • There is of course HUGE attraction to a baddie, I agree. I didn’t quite get into this one because a) Krüger only appeared for such a short time and b) I am probably sliiiightly compromised as a German when it comes to Nazi baddies *haha*. Having said that, I did find Armitage pretty convincing. Although I would have *loved* to hear him put on a bad German accent… I mean, his Russian accent when he played that Russian oligarch in Spooks was just sooooo good. (Well, I don’t know any Russian, so what do I know.)

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  5. Heinz bad, Guy good. Ha! As villains go, only Sir Guy wanted to be a better man, worthy of his Marian. Too bad she wasn’t worthy of him. But Heinz? You have him pegged. And nice photo analysis!
    Happy FanstRA 4!

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    • “Heinz bad, Guy good” – I think that sums it up, Gratiana. That’s why Guy is such a challenge, such a wonderful romantic anti-hero. I actually “saw” Krüger before I saw Guy when I caught up with RH – and I didn’t fall in love immediately (as opposed to being smitten immediately upon seeing Guy). Well, I guess the poison finished it for me.
      Speaking of poison – interesting parallel that both these baddies died of poison…

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  6. I tell you, S., if I hadn’t known that Richard was going to be the one playing that role, I would not have recognized him at first. He was chilling, so matter of fact and ruthlessly efficient as a killing machine. You could tell in his eyes that he was fully convinced he was a patriot, that *he* was the noble hero. It scared the heck out of me how he dispensed with anyone who stood in his way and – when he took that little boy in his arms – DANG, Richard! I think I actually BOOED YOU! Maybe it was so intense because the sequence only gave you ten minutes to work on your portrayal but I tell you, lovely man, there were no redeemable qualities about HK at all! With my apologies to the talented Hugo Weaving, if Richard had played that role, he would have gone down in the pantheon of greatest movie villains in the history of film. I have no doubts whatsoever about that!. Thank you for the ‘SPOOF’.

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    • What a brilliant idea, B. – RA as the head of Hydra. I would have liked that, if only for RA having a bigger role in the film. With a fleshier part to play, I think RA’s world domination would have started a bit earlier. Mind you, I am glad for him that he is gaining is world-wide fame now with a character as noble and majestic as Thorin – despite the end that we know is coming for the King under the Mountain…

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  7. I didn’t care for Captain America either and the ONLY reason I streamed it on Netflix was to see Richard as Heinz Kruger. After Heinz was history so was my time watching the movie.

    Strangely enough, I was both turned off and turned on by Richard as Heinz Kruger. I love men in suits, and to me Richard’s physical body looked darned good in that suit. Richard also looked like a bookworm wearing those glasses and strangely enough I found that attractive as well on him. I love it when a man is serious because I am the opposite and it is LOADS of fun messing with serious men who hardly ever smile. I love to try and crack that seriousness. It is so much fun watching them trying NOT to laugh at one of jokes and admit that I am funny as heck.

    They way that Richard turned me off as Heinz is that he looks like all the blood was sucked out of him. It must have been the lighting. His reminds me of a ghost.

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    • Yeah, Xenia – he really looks very pale in that role, I noticed that, too. Probably entirely deliberate on part of the lighting/direction/styling. Anything to make the baddie look bad. Which is an interesting contrast to Guy of Gisborne who was always made to look attractive despite the colour characterisation of “black leather = evil”. On the subject of glasses again – I must say that I liked Krüger’s look only after he lost his glasses and his hair was all tousled. Oh, how superficial of me… 😉

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  8. I saw on Richard’s face expressions I had never seen in another character when he played Heinz. He truly did “get his evil on” to play that role, and was very effective and memorable as Heinz. Reminded me of what a versatile actor he truly is.

    They definitely “damped down” his attractiveness in the role, too. Didn’t want to give Chris too much competition. 😉

    In defense of Evans, however, I really think he did a pretty decent job in that role, capturing the earnest quality of the under-sized young man with the willing heart. Thorin would have approved. I actually enjoyed the film, but then I also enjoyed The Avengers and Ironman.

    Actually the villains often tend to be more complex and interesting as characters than do the heroes in films and TV.. Case in point: Robin Hood, anyone??

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    • Yeah, I have to admit, too, that I didn’t find the film *that* painful to watch. But then again – I tend to get so engrossed in any film that I forget any criticism and simply go with the flow. I was unfamiliar with the whole Capt America comic beforehand but have subsequently become much more interested in the whole Marvel universe. It helps that I have a teenage son who has become a fan of Ironman.
      Villains – I love them. As long as they have at least a shade of grey somewhere. As an eternal optimist I need to believe in the character’s redeemability. When the backstory is believable and explains the character’s otherwise unacceptable actions, I am ready to follow and to hope. RH was almost comic-book-like in that sense, I agree, with Guy providing much more fodder for imagination. Robin was plain boring in his goody-two-shoes one-dimensionality. It obviously also helped that RA is a far more handsome man than Jonas Armstrong…

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  9. They had to have those huge frames, or else we wouldn’t have seen his incredibly evocative eyes!

    That said — I love both the points about the lighting (had never thought about this) and the perspective of the photographer. You teach me something every time you write.

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    • I never thought about that, Servetus, but you are right – the huge specs really allowed us to still see the eyes. He lost them pretty quickly after that scene, anyway. I loved the way RA looked in that CA interview – he looked so young and handsome. Yeah – I like him clean-shaven, too, actually.
      As for your last sentence: Thanks Servetus! I am blushing! And I can say: Das beruht auf Gegenseitigkeit! (That’s mutual.) Oh, and thanks for the re-blog 🙂

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  10. I want to state, for the record, that the SPOOF concept is totally brilliant. And the OOF concept is also brilliant, by the way….

    I turned off Capt America after Heinz K died. It’s not my kind of movie and I wasn’t into it. But I liked how Richard gave his all in the performance. Playing a Nazi spy, it would be easy for an actor to lapse into “phone it in” mode…. The mustache-twirling villain. But Richard went for more, even in this minor role. When he threw the kid I to the water I hated him! *swoon* Behold the power of Armitage.

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    • Aw, thanks Abby 🙂 hehe, I am liking the *spooof* concept myself, although I feel very slightyl guilty (Guylty *haha*) that I am not showing RA in his yummiest moments… Especially in a dedicated fan-writing week. How did I ever come up with this stupid idea???
      The Power of Armitage. (I can hear Jennifer Rush singing this phrase with a flourish.) Yup, Armi rules.
      Anyway, thanks for the support!

      Like

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