Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review

Uploaded on Thursday 21 July 2011


In March of 1941, eight months prior to the U.S. entry into WWII, Captain America made his first Marvel appearance in an iconic comic book cover image where he was seen punching Adolf Hitler square in the jaw.

That political stance by creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby was seen by many as a propaganda piece beckoning the U.S. to enter the war. Decades later, as the super hero celebrates his 70th birthday, Marvel Studios releases the origin story of “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

The film captures the patriotic spirit of America circa 1940s. And it’s quite refreshing to see a blockbuster that is a period piece complete with a jingoistic attitude. The action-adventure subscribes to the simplistic notion that says “Nazis are evil, Americans are good.” Its simplicity is what saves this flawed but entertaining feature.

Chris Evans, known to many as the Human Torch/Johnny Storm in the “Fantastic Four” series, returns to the Marvel universe as Steve Rogers and his alter-ego Captain America. The actor turned down the project numerous times before agreeing to sign on which ultimately was a good decision for he was perfect as doe-eyed patriot.

Evans’ reluctance in accepting the role mirrors his character’s hesitance in becoming the first avenger. Prior to becoming Captain America, Steve Rogers was a 98-pound soldier wannabe who has been numerously rejected by the military.

But Dr. Abraham Erskine (the always-great Stanley Tucci), creator of the Super-Soldier Serum, decides to take a chance on Steve. Soon, the weakling is transformed into the perfect human specimen.

Every great superhero deserves an equally great nemesis and thank heavens for Hugo Weaving as the villainous Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull. He’s in charge of the evil HYDRA organization, the Nazi’s deep science division.

Weaving, who proved that he could act under layers of masks and make-up in the excellent “V for Vendetta,” is deserving of some kudos. Wearing a red skull mask, Weaving is both menacing and intriguing – he believes that he walks with the gods.

Indeed, the film is full of great character actors needed to help tell the myth. There’s the funny Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips who balks at the thought of letting Steve Rogers join his experimental program.

Some characters were not developed enough to make them believable. There’s the love interest, Peggy Carter (Haylet Atwell), who’s just put into the story to tug at our heartstrings. There’s also fan-favorite Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who wasn’t given enough backstory to make him interesting.

But the addition of Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) was smart. The future father of Tony Stark aka Iron Man, is the purveyor of technology in the movie. Stark builds the iconic shield from Vibranium which is supposed to be stronger than steel but much lighter.
I have never been a fan of director Joe Johnston. The erstwhile video effects arts director did a good job with “The Rocketeer” but then he also gave us “Jurassic Park III” and last year’s stinker, “The Wolfman.”

In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Johnston relied heavily on the script written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the scriptwriters who gave us the first three “The Chronicles of Narnia” movies. The result is an imperfect movie that respects its iconic subject.

I also enjoyed the film’s 3D quality. The shots were a bit gimmicky, like a flying shield hurtling towards the screen, but most of the compositions were choreographed well. Cinematographer Shelly Johnson knows that in order for the three-dimension technology to work well, you must have an interesting background to complement your foreground.

It’s also interesting to note that most Marvel superheroes, with the exception of Thor, only become super humans in the laboratory. Spider-Man and his spider bite, the Hulk and his gamma rays, and now, Captain America and his Super-Soldier Serum.

But in the end, it’s fun to see the symbol of wartime America up there on the big screen. Watching “Captain America: The First Avenger” made me want to see next year’s “The Avengers” where Captain America teams up with Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor. That should be Marvel-ous!



Language: English

Length: 3:00

Country: United States