Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Perfectly viewed with a certain Team America song playing

It is 1942. Puny weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants nothing more than to join to army and to protect his country, unfortunatley, he is turned away due to his many physical and health issues. Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) sees the good inside Steve and has him enlisted and recruited as part of the super-soldier experiment, which advances his height, makes him stronger and gives him muscles, giving birth to the legend that is Captain America.

Captain America was always going to be the most difficult superhero to sell the public on. Outside of America, there was the worry about marketing a superhero who could be seen as American propaganda, resulting in three countries leaving the "Captain America" part out of the film's title. It does appear that the fears were unfounded, considering the film made more than double it's budget back. Now, onto the review.

Chris Evans is perfect as the leading man that is Steve Rogers, giving us a great on-screen appearance as the sweet little man, and even manages to continue that performance on after his transformation, just with some added kick-assery. Steve is developed well, we are given a clear understanding as to why Dr Erskine considers him to be such a good man. What I really like about Steve is, even though he has taken the super soldier serum, he does not consider himself to be any better than the number of men he fights side by side with, believing there's nothing really special about him.

It is quite refreshing to see a hero who's an already established good guy, and not a jerk in need of character development to take him to that point where he truly becomes a hero (unlike Thor and Iron Man). He doesn't want to go to war in order to kill Nazis, but to protect his country and save lives. One scene that perfectly encapsulates why Steve's such a good guy is when he shields himself around a grenade intending to take the blast, not knowing that it's actually a dummy grenade.

Dr Erskine, creator of the super soldier serum, acts as a mentor to Steve, and you can easily sense this type of connection from their shared scenes, with Stanley Tucci really helping to make this character one we care about in the number of scenes he' appears in. The Doctor is also afraid of the outcome from giving Steve the serum, because of the only other being who took the serum (hint: his face resembles a Red Skull), and the scene where he asks Steve to promise to stay as the good man that he is after the procedure resonates well within the film.

Haley Atwell does great as Peggy Carter, proving just why not-all women should be love interest, damsel in distresses, as she gives a no-nonsense performance, as evident from the very first scene she appears in. Sebastian Stan is also good as Bucky, with the character being changed from the kid sidekick of Cap to a more big brother role for Steve, and I feel this helps to define the friendship between the two quite well, with Stan's performance additionally making you hopeful this isn't the last you've seen of him. Not bad for an actor from Gossip Girl.

Hugo Weaving proves why he is in such high demand for villianous roles, as he plays the worthy foe Red Skull. With that said, I can understand why people felt he was much better with his mask on, as I felt he was more intimidating and a better villain with the human mask. Tommy Lee Jones proves to be the scene stealer as Colonel Phillips, spouting the funniest of lines. The action sequences are great to watch, with the standout being Steve infiltrating a Hydra base in Italy. It does say something that no matter how many times you see a shield being tossed around, boredom never threatens to set in. The CGI on-hand is quite good, with the stand out being how they shrunk Chris Evans down to play a skinny weakling.

One notable thing I liked about this film is the journey Steve takes to becoming Captain America. After being injected with the serum and getting taller, he doesn't just jump straight into the field, but the Government spin him as a propoganda machine to convince the people to fund the army, and by keeping him away from the fields of war, it's left up to Steve to prove why he should be out there. Some may complain about this sequence, but it felt very much in place, and was a great point to developing Rogers into Captain America. Plus, it put a smile on my face to see the people reading Captain America comics in a Captain America movie.

Sadly, not all of the film is such a hit, as I felt the final battle between Cap and Red Skull was quite anticlimactic, and at one point in the film, they cut away half-way through a scene to try and build on the tension as to whether a character survived, but it's pointless, as you pretty much know the outcome already. Also, I was left feeling rather shortchanged by how they didn't really expand upon the kinship between Cap and his team, instead opting to show a clobbered together montage that leaves you wanting to see them all working together as a group.

Captain America is a wonderful Marvel film that truly embodies the wartime spirit, with the period setting being used to the films advantage, giving us one of the best origin stories, as well as one of the best Marvel films in years (not to mention the best of the films in the lead up to The Avengers).

Your move, Whedon


Jeff SC said…
I couldn't disagree more. I hated pretty much everything about this movie, and I only gave it a 1.5/4 just because I am a generous person, lol. Still, well-written review, and I'm glad you enjoyed it ;)
James Rodrigues said…
@Jeff SC Well thanks for respecting my opinion :)
yaykisspurr said…
Hey! Great review! I think they did well the parts of the movie where backed with intent. In other words they intended a movie about the origins of Captain America so in the Avengers film they don't have to go into backstory. The other parts of the film to tie the backstory up into a stand alone film...not so much... Still Chris Evans did well and the supporting cast were marvelous.

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James Rodrigues said…
@yaykisspurr thank you so much for that, and thanks for the kind words :)
H.A.K. said…
Got this for Christmas. The Cap is one of my favorite super heroes and I just love how well they did this film. Excellent review.
Good review! I really enjoyed this film, and superhero movies aren't even necessarily my forte.
Ruth said…
Loved Tommy Lee Jones in this - MORE Tommy! Quite an enjoyable film, and I'm super excited for Avengers now. I forced my friends to stay til after the credits to see the Avengers sneak peek! (Though as far as superheroes go, no one can best Batman for me :P)
Anonymous said…
That's a very positive review. I was the other way around, didn't like it much as I never cared enough about the characters and wasn't blown away by the action scenes.
James Rodrigues said…
@H.A.K I know, they really did his character well.

@Ryan J. Marshall It's good to know he got you liking this film.

@Ruth He was pretty great in here, and Batman is still my best also, but The Avengers does look amazing. Fair enough, everyone has an opinion