Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

captain america the first avenger poster 2011 movie chris evans
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fun, light, pretty smart

Too easy for Captain America...needs a bigger challenge

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Captain America:  The First Avenger

Studio: Marvel Studios

Genre(s): Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): July 22, 2011

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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Feel the America flowing through my veins!

A team in the Arctic discovers a crashed ship…inside a relic from World War II…This is the story of Captain America (Chris Evans) and how he came to be during his fight to save the world from the Red Skull and HYDRA.

Directed by Joe Johnston, Captain America:  The First Avenger is part of the big lead up to The Avengers in 2012.  The character previously made it to the screen in 1990 and a TV version in 1979.  The movie was met with moderately positive review and big box office numbers.

Captain America:  The First Avenger  is what Thor should have been.  They keep the movie light, but plenty of action, and the movie looks great.  It seems to tap into the Marvel Comics series “Marvels” for its inspiration and visuals (the World’s Fair Expo is the most obvious example…with a fun cameo by the original Human Torch).  Combine that with scenes like the USO show, and you have a lot of distinctive set designs that just make a more rounded (and fun) movie than something like Thor.

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Look out Germans…I’m here to kick your butt!

The filmmakers were also smart to hook Captain America up in his traditional costume for the USO show.  It can appease fanboys and also show them how ridiculous it would have looked if he remained in it for the real fight.  Instead, they adapted a more modified costume similar to the Captain America of the Marvel Ultimates series.

The effects are quite impressive in a lot of points (though the bouncing shield that was always suspect in the comic book series still couldn’t be pulled off great…how does a shield that absorbs kinetic energy bounce off anything?) .  The weak Steve Rogers took a little getting used to at the beginning of the film (especially since they opted that he’d still have Chris Evans’ normal voice…which sounded weird coming out of a weakling), but the effect works.  They used a similar technique in The Social Network when they had the twins played by one actor and accomplished it by imposing his face on another body.

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Ouch…ouch…ouch! I have to remember not the skin, not the skin

The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) was a good villain for the movie, strong but there could have been more interaction with Captain America.  Bucky (Sebastian Stan) seemed a bit underused along with the unnamed (but identifiable) Howling Commandos (who in the comics were led by Sergeant Fury).  Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), James Falsworth aka Union Jack (J. J. Feild), Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci), and Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi) were all involved in World War II Marvel Comics, but here as support, just kind of showed up when needed for the most part.  Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) was a good romantic lead but due to the fast story didn’t have a ton of time to build it.  Hopefully her descendant Sharon Carter will make appearances either in The Avengers or a sequel to wrap up the Peggy Carter storyline.

The movie does have faults.  If a person didn’t know the character, the movie should have just started with World War II so the viewers wouldn’t know that he was frozen.  With this knowledge, it takes away the threat of death (as if it would really happen), and like Thor, Captain America makes everything look too easy.  There was never much of a sense of danger for the character even when raiding a base full of HYDRA soldiers.  He always met with general resistance and could overtake anyone who came at him.  It is a bit too shiny.  It would have been nice to have some more gritty realism of war (a la Saving Private Ryan) and to see Captain America fight on a real war front, with real soldiers, against real guns and bullets.  Also, the HYDRA suits were pretty ridiculous.

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Dudes…You got my back?

It also would be good to see them develop a storyline that was in the comic book (and there is a good chance it will develop in future movies).  There are essentially two Captain Americas.  There is the classic Captain America who fight for the American people and there is the Ultimate Captain America that fights for America.  I hope in future movies this dichotomy is explored and the Steve Rogers character has to make a decision on what type of Captain America he is (I’m guessing the “for the people” Captain America from this movie).

Captain America is definitely worth seeing.  It is flashing, fast, and fun.  Leading up The Avengers in 2012, Captain America:  The First Avenger probably is one of the better tie-in titles in the first round Avengers films.  The movie was followed by Captain America:  The Winter Soldier in 2014.

Related Links:

Captain America:  The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America:  Civil War (2015)

The Avengers (2012)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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