Cert: 12 A Runtime: 124 mins Director: Joe Johnston Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Staley Tucci and Hugo Weaving
General Patton has said that wars are fought with weapons but are won by men. Our goal is to create the greatest army in history. But every army begins with one man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldier. We are going to win this war because we have the best men. And they, personally, will escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell.
The last of the Marvel Blockbusters arrived in cinema’s yesterday, Captain America: The First Avenger is the last film before The Avengers finally assemble in 2011. Marvel have done very well this summer with Thor and X-Men: First Class (DC you have been shocking this summer with your Green Lantern attempt), so how did Captain America do ? The story goes in 1942, America has entered World War II, a weak and small but determined Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is frustrated at being rejected yet again for military service. Everything changes when Dr. Erksine (Stanley Tucci) recruits him for the secret Project Rebirth with the help of Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). Proving his extraordinary courage, wits and conscience, Rogers undergoes the experiment and his weak body is suddenly enhanced into the maximum human potential. When Dr. Erksine is then immediately assassinated by an agent of Nazi Germany’s head of its secret HYDRA research department, Johann Schmidt aka the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Rogers is left as a unique man who is initially misused as a propaganda mascot. However, when his comrades need him, Rogers goes on a successful adventure that truly makes him Captain America and his war against Schmidt begins.It’s alldown to Captain America and the Howling Commandos to save the world from Red Skull and HYDRA.
I’ve never been the biggest Captain America fan. But I have read a few comics lately, he always just seemed kind of boring to me. I have friends these days trying to tell me he’s even more awesome now, but it just seems like too little too late. But despite that Captain America: The First Avenger looked like it had a lot of potential. Chris Evans seemed to fit the Steve Rogers role incredibly well and Hugo Weaving always plays an excellent villain. I’ve also enjoyed nearly every Marvel film since Iron Man anyway. So Captain America: The First Avenger looked like it could be great, but also had a lot to live up to. It mostly delivers, but comes up a little short in being fully and completely satisfying.
The cast is ridiculously flawless in this. I’ve always been a big fan of Chris Evans, but I never really imagined him in the role of Captain America. He fits the role so well. He does look a bit odd before he gets the super soldier serum injected into him, but the method used was probably the best way to go. Evans is able to portray Rogers in a spectacular light. You believe he’s a good guy just doing what he thinks is best for his country. Hugo Weaving is also a fantastic Red Skull. He’s so hellbent on destroying the world yet he has class taking time out to have someone paint his portrait or enjoy a glass of wine in the middle of a pep talk to his HYDRA troops. Tommy Lee Jones also manages to squeeze in quite a few humorous one-liners. I feel like Hayley Atwell deserves the most credit though. In most superhero films, the love interest usually just does that; makes love to the superhero and sits on the sidelines worrying about him the rest of the time. Atwell’s Peggy Carter actually makes herself useful. If it wasn’t for her, Captain America never would’ve been given a serious chance as a soldier. Atwell also showed the widest range of emotion in the film next to Evans, as well. Captain America felt simple in the most flattering of ways. It never strayed too far from Cap swooping in and having to save the day and never tried to over complicate things by cramming too much of the comics into an origin film. The action usually resulted in tremendous explosions and men being thrown across the screen. It’s like the movie gave you pride to be an American without being too political or overly preachy. In fact, it wasn’t either of those things at all. It was just extremely gratifying entertainment that did its source material justice.
The special effects were really top-notch, for the most part. The finale with the highly anticipated battle between Red Skull and Captain America is probably the most impressive. There’s a fight that takes place in free fall between Cap and a few henchmen that’s done incredibly well and the special effects always shine brightest whenever that blue cube Red Skull is obsessed with is shown on-screen. Some of the scenes that were obviously shot in front of a green screen kind of got to me though; once you notice that it kind of takes you out of the action for a moment. Luckily, this was a film that made it easy to get sucked back into it.Captain America has a lot of buildup with the pay off coming up short of completely delivering. We spend all this time with Steve Rogers before the super soldier serum and after and his time on stage selling war bonds. We’re basically itching and craving for him to beat the snot out of some Nazis by the time he goes off venturing on his own to where the 107th’s last known whereabouts. That scene delivers the action in spades, but everything else that’s exciting after that seems incredibly short. We get a montage that would’ve been amazing in its entirety and we basically get bits of incredible action sequences sprinkled throughout the second half of the movie. We never really get that tingling sensation from being punched in the face too hard during an incredible action scene. Fantastic things happen in the film, but they seem to end as soon as they begin.
Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the best written and most well-rounded superhero films of the year. The entire cast is phenomenal, the special effects are impressive, and it has all the right seeds planted for next year’s The Avengers. The action almost feels like an afterthought though. It’s as if there was too much story to tell and Joe Johnston had to cut down on action to cram in more dialogue. Captain America: The First Avenger is still explosive, exhilarating, captivating, and fairly entertaining, but it drops the ball on delivering a completely satisfying climax.
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