‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (Film)

 

‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Legendary Captain America

‘Who’s strong and brave, here to save the American Way?’

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ was released at the cinemas in 2011. It is the fifth film in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’. Now I did see this movie when it was released at the cinema, compared to missing and seeing previous movies within this Marvel superhero series at the cinema.

Captain America is a superhero I wanted to see especially in terms of his origins story. Simply because the story would be set in World War II and I wanted to see Captain America fighting Nazis and hopefully the Red Skull. It would have been brilliant if he punched Hitler, but we can’t have it all.

I did get ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ when it was released on DVD in 2011 and I had it as a Christmas present. The film never got a 2-disc Special Edition DVD release since we entered the age of Blu-ray. I now have ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ as part of the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe’ – Phase One’ DVD box set. I like how these film series can be collected into these box sets.

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ stars Chris Evans as the main hero. The film was directed by Joe Johnston. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving and Stanley Tucci. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ impressed me from beginning to end since this felt like a classic World War II film.

I’m somehow attracted to a World War II period setting in a film. I hoped this film would evoke something nostalgic and not go over the top in terms of gore and violence. Thankfully the film didn’t go gory or violent, since this was an action-packed adventure with our main hero fighting in the war.

I recall watching DVD documentaries about comic book superheroes being made in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s and how they reflected real world socio-political ideologies. Captain America was one of those superheroes who boosted the morale of many who lived in those harsh times of World War II.

Captain America made his first comic book appearance in ‘Captain America Comics #1’ in March 1941 and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. I’ve not read those old comics. This was before Captain America was re-imagined by Stan Lee for the Marvel comic book superheroes for the 1960s.

There’s certainly a sense of nostalgia and propaganda featured in the film, especially when our hero Captain America strives forward to fight in the Second World War and to defend America from the Nazi invaders. It’s a good story of a young American soldier who becomes super-soldier in the movie.

The film focuses on Steve Rogers, a young, short, skinny man who gets rejected to fight in the Second World War because of his health and physical problems. Thankfully, Steve is given a chance by Dr. Abraham Erskine who enlists him. Steve is soon recruited into the Strategic Scientific Reserve.

Steve Rogers demonstrates his acts of courage and self-sacrificing bravery that allow him to be chosen for a ‘super-soldier’ experiment. Steve goes through the experiment as he’s injected with a serum and he becomes a taller, muscular man. He becomes the new super-soldier, Captain America.

After partaking in a series of propaganda campaigns including dance numbers and films, Steve Rogers as Captain America soon gets into the frontline and he fights against the evil Nazi forces of Hydra, led by the villainous Red Skull. Will Captain America live to survive to the very end of the war?

I like how the film takes a straight-forward linear approach that doesn’t get over-complicated by plot elements featured in previous and future movies. For me, this film feels pretty memorable especially with a World War II setting and featuring a superhero that fights against such evils that is in Nazism.

In that montage of America propaganda for Captain America, they even featured issues of the original ‘Captain America Comics #1’ being purchased by kids. Wow! Captain America must have been a real superhero after all. This gave me a thrill. Also the song ‘Star Sprangled Man’s catchy too.

Chris Evans is wonderful as Steve Rogers/Captain America. Wait a minute! Chris Evans! I’ve seen him before! Yes! He played Johnny Storm/the Human Torch in the ‘Fantastic Four’ movies he starred in. It’s amazing he’s playing Captain America after playing the Human Torch in the ‘Fantastic Four’ films.

I’m pretty sure Chris Evans is into the Marvel superhero comics since he puts a lot of time and effort into his performance of Captain America in this movie. It’s like he was born to play Captain America. My parents found it incredible how he looked as a ‘skinny shrimp’ before becoming ‘Muscle Man’. 😀

I’m sure they must have used CGI to create the ‘skinny’ effect of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers before he became muscular as Captain America. It’s one of those ‘forced perspective’ shots used for the hobbits in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films. Chris Evans’ action performance as Captain America is superb.

The costume for Captain America is also pretty impressive. I like how they’ve managed to keep to the traditional look of Captain America but not make him look silly. The suit Captain America wears is practical and suited for fighting in combat. There’s also a nice nod to the original comics’ costume.

There’s also Captain America’s shield which is very impressive in the movie. It’s shaped as a huge round disc that can be thrown as a frisbee by Captain America as well as being used as a shield against bullets fired by guns. It’s also made of this strong metal that can absorb vibrations of bullets.

Tommy Lee Jones stars as Colonel Chester Phillips in the United States Army. He’s also a member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve and witnesses Steve Rogers’ transformation into Captain America. The first time I came across Tommy Lee Jones was him voicing Major Chip Hazard in ‘Small Soldiers’.

He also played Two-Face in ‘Batman Forever’, but we won’t hold that against him. Tommy Lee Jones is brilliant as this gruff military type who’s pretty sceptical about Steve Rogers’ skills as a soldier. Gradually in the movie, the Colonel works with Steve Rogers as Captain America to overthrow Hydra.

Hugo Weaving stars as Johann Schmidt, also known as the Red Skull, the leader of Hydra. For me, Hugo Weaving played Elrond in ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films. It was great to see Hugo Weaving as the villain for this film and it was very terrifying to see him in his Red Skull persona.

Hydra is the name of a terrorist organization led by the Red Skull for Nazi Germany. The Red Skull intends to use the power of the Tesseract, a magical object that seems to come from Odin’s time. The Red Skull also has the same serum as Captain America. I liked it when the two fought each other.

Stanley Tucci stars as Abraham Erskine, the scientist who created the super-soldier serum and gives it to Steve Rogers to become Captain America. Erskine is a former German who fled from Nazi Germany to live in America. I like the friendship formed between Steve Rogers and Dr. Erskine here.

There’s also a connection with Erskine and Johann Schmidt who also gets the super-soldier serum forum to become the Red Skull. Sadly, Abraham Erskine gets killed early on in the film when Heinz Kruger, the Red Skull’s top assassin, kills him after Steven Rogers gets given the super-soldier serum.

Hayley Atwell stars as Peggy Carter, a military agent working with the Strategic Scientific Reserve and Steve Rogers’ love interest. I’ve seen Hayley Atwell in a number of film and TV productions such as ‘Mansfield Park’ with Billie Piper and she has appeared in some Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’.

The relationship between Peggy Carter and Steve Rogers is rather sweet. Peggy comes across as a tough woman fighting in the war, but she gradually has a soft spot for Steve. This is especially when Steve becomes Captain America. Peggy sees how brave he is as he self-sacrifices himself in the war.

Sebastian Stan stars as Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers’ best friend who goes off to serve in the war as a sergeant in the United States Army. Bucky goes missing, becoming a prisoner of war before he gets rescued by Steve as Captain America. He also gets to be a part of Steve’s team to fight against Hydra.

Dominic Cooper stars as Howard Stark, who helps to work on various government projects in the Second World War including Steve Rogers’ becoming as Captain America. And yes, Howard Stark is the father of Tony Stark who became Iron Man. I’m certain I’ve seen Dominic Cooper in other things.

There’s Neal McDonough as Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan and Derek Luke as Gabe Jones. ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan wears a top hat and Gabe Jones is a black guy. After being prisoners of war by the Red Skull, these two men as well as some others became members of Captain America’s squad of commandos.

There’s also Kenneth Choi as Jim Morita, Bruno Ricci as Jacque Dernier and JJ Field as James Montgomery Falsworth who become members of Captain America’s squad of commandos. There’s also Toby Jones (who I’ve seen in ‘Doctor Who’) as Dr. Arnim Zola, the Red Skull’s scientist in Hydra.

There’s also Richard Armitage as Heinz Kruger, the Red Skull’s assassin. This was before Richard played Thorin Oakenshield in ‘The Hobbit’ movie trilogy. Michael Brandon (who has also been in ‘Doctor Who’) plays Brandt, a US senator who promotes Captain America for that propaganda stuff.

There’s also Natalie Dormer as Lorraine and…Jenna Louise Coleman as Connie?! Wow! Jenna Coleman starred in ‘Captain America’ before she played Clara in ‘Doctor Who’?! Wait a second! Does this mean that there was an alternative version of Clara in Connie during the ‘Captain America’ film?

Next thing you’ll be telling me is that David Bradley plays the Tower Keeper at the beginning of the film…oh wait, he does! Wow! I’ve seen and recognised so many people in this Marvel superhero movie from others film and TV shows I like. This must be one of the best superhero movies ever!!! 😀

This movie has the right balance of American World War II nostalgia as well as some pretty impressive action sequences set during war time with Captain America and his men fighting the Nazis. I couldn’t help get a thrill when I watched those action scenes well-directed by Joe Johnston.

It was pretty intense when the film drew to its conclusion and Captain America fought the Red Skull aboard his gigantic plane about to drop weapons of mass destruction onto major American cities. It was really heart-breaking when Captain America makes a huge act of self-sacrifice to save the world.

You’d think that’s the end of Captain America, as Peggy Carter receives the news of his ‘missing in action’ months later after the war is over. But it turns out Captain America is still alive as he wakes up in present day and he meets Samuel L. Jackson who tells him he’s been asleep for nearly 70 years.

The DVD special features of ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ are as follows. There’s a commentary by director Joe Johnston, director of photography Shelly Johnson and editor Jeff Ford. There’s the ‘Outfitting a Hero’ featurette; ‘The Assembly Begins’ trailer for ‘Avengers Assemble’; a Sega game trailer for ‘Captain America: Super Soldier’ and ‘The Avengers Animated Series’ trailer.

On the Blu-ray for ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, there are special features like ‘Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer’; five more behind-the-scenes featurettes as well as ‘Outfitting a Hero’; deleted scenes and trailers.

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ is an excellent film and probably my favourite from the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ film series. I like the nostalgic American World War II setting and how this introduces Captain America as a superhero. Chris Evans’ performance is pretty brilliant throughout. I’m so glad that I saw this movie at the cinema when it was shown back in 2011. It was a happy time.

There’s a post-credits sequence at the end of the movie where Steve Rogers is punching a punch bag before Nick Fury meets him and is about to assign him a mission of worldwide proportions. This leads into the teaser trailer for the next film in the series, ‘Avengers Assemble’, which is so exciting.

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ rating – 9/10


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2 thoughts on “‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (Film)

  1. Awesome informative & at times hilarious review Tim you summed this amazing movie up perfectly, i was worried when i heard Chris was cast as Captain America cause of his performance as Johnny Storm not that it was bad but the character rather cocky & arrogant in nature & couldn’t imagine Chris bringing the heart to the character….how wrong i was because now i can’t imagine anybody else in the role, my favourite avenger given a outstanding cinematic debut featuring a strong cast of characters, brilliantly directed action & most importantly emotional.

    Chris gives the character inner strength & vulnerability despite his super strength, it would’ve been easy to make this part cheesy but Chris makes the character three dimensional & believable.

    Hugo Weaving said he’d never play Red Skull again & since moaned he agreed star in this, don’t understand his attitude as surely Hugo knew you sign to do a film like this & you sign to do more than one movie, he’s played two characters Mr Smith in The Matrix trilogy &
    Elrond in the Hobbit & LOTR movies so he’s hardly got issue with typecasting.

    Hayley Atwell just amazing as Peggy Carter, tough, feisty with a hint of vulnerability a brilliantly written character & Tommy Lee Jones cracks me up in his role as Colonel Chester Phillips, the scene were he takes a meal to Dr. Arnim Zola & starts eating it himself always makes me laugh.

    Must admit i was worried about Buckys demise in this as i knew the character well from comics, thankfully Marvel honoured his story arc in future movies so my worries were quickly dispatched, the Capt/Bucky friendship is the most important part of the Capt trilogy of movies, i love Capts determination & belief that Buckys souls alive when he becomes the Winter Soldier but that’s for another movie.

    A wonderful written review & the ratings spot on .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. Glad you found it entertaining, informative and hillarious at times to read.

      Yeah I was a little dubious about Chris Evans playing Captain America after I’d seen him as Johnny Storm in the ‘Fantastic Four’ films. I was like why is he playing Captain America when he did Johnny Storm. I suppose a little part of me was expecting a third ‘Fantastic Four’ film by that point. But now I’ve seen him as Captain America, I’m very impressed with his performance in this movie. He clearly gets the character and is truly a Marvel comic books fan. I’m glad he delivered a honest portrayal of the character and not made him cocky as he did in the ‘Fantastic Four’ films.

      I agree the action sequences are well-directed as well as the emotional moments featured in the film. I’m pleased Chris Evans made Steve Rogers/Captain America believable to watch in the film and not made him seem silly, especially when he was fighting against Nazis and the Red Skull during the war.

      I didn’t know Hugo Weaving said he’d never play the Red Skull again after doing this film. Perhaps the make-up he wore as Red Skull was uncomfortable. Mind you, I can’t imagine how the Red Skull would come back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he more or less belongs to the World War II era rather than the contemporary era…oh wait! He did return in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, didn’t he? I don’t think Hugo Weaving returned to play him in that. Yikes, one wonders why he didn’t say ‘yes’ to playing Red Skull again. He must have not enjoyed playing hm for some reason.

      I enjoyed Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter too. I’ve yet to see her own TV show but she came across as a really good love interest for Captain America as well as being fiesty too. I wonder when Hayley Atwell will do another Big Finish audio of ‘Doctor Who’. 😀

      Yeah that scene where Tommy Lee Jones’ character brought in a meal for Toby Jones and starts eating himself was funny to watch. I’m guessing Toby Jones was suspecting the meal was poisoned and when he saw Tommy Lee Jones eating it he was like, “Ah shucks! I should’ve had something from that tray.” I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they cut out the end of the scene with Toby Jones asking “Could I have the milk please?”

      I must admit I didn’t think much of the Bucky Barnes character when I watched this movie. It’s only until after seeing ‘Winter Soldier’ and ‘Civil War’ that I’ve begun to realise Bucky’s an essential part of the ‘Captain America’ movies. I’ve not read the comics much so I wouldn’t have been able to register it whilst watching these films. It’s something to look forward to when I come to reviewing ‘Winter Soldier’ and ‘Civil War’ sometime soon.

      Thanks Simon. Glad you enjoyed the review and agreed with my rating on the movie.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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