Captain America: The First Avenger – A Near Perfect Soldier

Sam Shin: Staff Illustrator

Marvel blew us away this year with the God of Thunder and a team of mutants. Now they give us a star-spangled soldier to take down the Nazis. Captain America: The First Avenger is directed by Joe Johnston (October Sky and Jurassic Park III). The film stars Chris Evans, Haley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones. Does this Marvel superhero live up to the ranks of Thor or X-Men: First Class? Yes; as a matter of fact, it’s even better than the previous Marvel films released this year.

Set during the 1940’s at the brink of WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) is a 90-pound, sickly young man who wishes to serve his country. He is given the opportunity by Dr. Erskine (Tucci) who convinces Steve to volunteer for a top secret military project. He is then enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort.

With his allies Bucky Barnes (Stan) and Peggy Carter (Atwell), along with his team of soldiers, their assignment is to battle against the Nazis and a terrorist group known as HYDRA, led by former Nazi Johann Schmidt, a.k.a. The Red Skull (Weaving), who seeks a powerful cube-shaped object known as the Tesseract. The Red Skull plans to use the artifact to create massive weapons and to unlock the cube’s potential to alter reality.

Joe Johnston is no stranger to period pieces, like The Rocketeer and October Sky, and in the case of Captain America: The First Avenger Johnston delivers everything promised in the trailers. Johnston is able to capture that patriotic spirit that permeated the U.S. during WWII. The movie almost becomes like one of the military recruitment ads it showcases. The film has an authentic feel to it and combines elements from films like Indiana Jones mixed in with Saving Private Ryan and 007. The set is as fantastic as the film and though shot entirely in London, the film crew successfully disguised the city as 1940s New York.

The supporting cast was excellent. Tommy Lee Jones (General Chester Phillips) and Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erksine) steal every scene they’re in. Sebastian Stan provides a strong supporting role as Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s longtime friend and tough sidekick. Dominic Cooper brings humor to the table as Howard Stark (Iron Man’s dad). Hugo Weaving has a natural talent for playing villains, and he dominates the film with his portray of the Red Skull.

However, the heart and soul in this movie rests on Chris Evans’s performance as the titular hero. Evans gives the story the right amount of energy in every scene, downplaying the flashiness he demonstrated as Human Torch in the Fantastic 4 series. Haley Atwell plays a believable and lovable ally/love interest. She brings depth to her character and the dynamic chemistry between Atwell and Evans creates Marvel’s most solid and satisfying romance on screen to date.

The only weak spots in this film were Johnston’s very calculated and sometimes soulless action sequences and the Red Skull’s lack of development. Hugo Weaving gives a good performance, but his character spends most of his time building his plane and reminding us that he’s evil, rather than emerging as a worthwhile threat.

Captain America: The First Avenger is a rare summer movie that brings everything it promised. The film contains a complex storyline, solid performances, has many humorous moments, and sends a good message about courage without getting too preachy about it. This is one film that will have audiences intrigued, as it is a fireworks display of entertainment.

This is the last prequel to the upcoming and highly anticipated superhero film The Avengers. It hits theaters May 4, 2012 and will assemble a group of superheroes including Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, and Captain America. There is an after-credits scene that will surely cause the fanboys to geek out, so be sure to stay after the credits.

21 Responses to Captain America: The First Avenger – A Near Perfect Soldier

  1. capt steve rogers

    July 25, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    i agree with the red skull. very lack of development. great film though

  2. tiny tim

    July 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    i thought that this movie had just the right amount of everything, action, drama, and romance. can’t wait for the avengers. it looked so awesome.

  3. Hydra Sucks

    July 26, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Captain America kicked every hero films butt. The post-credit scene was amazing, got me pumped.

  4. therealsupersoldier

    July 26, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    good review. though i thought it felt rushed near the end..

  5. Tickle Pickle

    July 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Good review. Chris Evans was perfectly cast.

  6. captain asian

    July 27, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    I didn’t like it more than X-Men, but I liked it more than Thor.

  7. marvel fan 360

    July 30, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    probably the best superhero film i’ve seen this year.

  8. capt underpants

    July 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    probably second my facvorite marvel studios film behind the first iron man.

  9. Pkayadude

    August 1, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    The movie was okay, nothing special, but Hugo Weaving rocked as the villain and Chris Evans was good too.

  10. Johann Schmidt

    August 3, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Great review. Well said, and the post-credit Avengers teaser trailer got me sooooo pumped. Can’t wait til May 4, 2012 :( It’s tooo far from now.

  11. Hydra Henchman #47

    August 3, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    The second half felt rushed, but it didn’t take away the fun I had with this movie. Captain America will return in The Avengers! Can’t wait.

  12. Capitano Americano

    August 3, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    I feel like you are being a little too biased on all of your reviews. I think Captain America sucked for two reasons:

    1. The Acting
    I thought the acting was horrible. Just downright ugly, Chris Evans was HUGELY miscast. He shoulda stayed like the piece o’ turd he was, back in F4.

    2. Development
    This movie was just a giant mis-mash of random action sequences with no story and just Chris Evans showing off his body like he’s actually worth something in Hollywood.

    Marvel SUCKS. Your reviews are really biased.

  13. Charlie Chan

    August 4, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Capitano Americano, we are all entitled to our opinions. As are you, but your opinion is wrong. It was the classiest Marvel film released to date. Explain why you think Evans acting was horrible? And Marvel does not suck, DC and Warner Brothers can learn from these guys even if they have Nolan’s Batman. DC can’t touch Marvel.

  14. idk comics

    August 5, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    @Captiano Americano – You should argue with majority who enjoyed the movie. It was pure entertainment and highly enjoyable.

  15. moviefan

    August 9, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    the movie was cheesey, but it has its moments.

  16. Annie

    August 10, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    This movie is probably in the ranks of Iron Man. It’s one of the best one that Marvel has come out this year. It was definately betterr than Thor, and a little better than X-Men. I never thought this film would work, but it was executed quite well. The one complain I have in this movie is the pacing, it started out very well, but then it felt rushed a bit at the end.

  17. Anon

    August 17, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    I really have to disagree with your argument that it was beter than X-Men. The chemistry between that ensemble was twice as great, and the character development was much more established, as was the story.

    Captain America was very impressive, technically. The special effects enhanced the whole movie. Evans was average, was certainly bearable, and Jones was obviously the standout in the film, with his comedic timing. Weaving also did a great job with the villain. However, the pacing was uneven, and at times, very slow, especially in the middle. Captain America may have brought justice to the comic books, but as a film stand alone, (in which you are critiquing), it was entertaining but no where near the genius that you’re implying.
    The Avengers trailer was awesome though.

    And @Charlie Chan “As are you, but your opinion is wrong.”
    Well, that kind of the defeats the purpose of an opinion.

  18. Anon #2

    August 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    @Anon – Though X-Men: First Class was a great film, Captain America was a lot better. First Class totally ignored the continutiy of the original X-Men trilogy which is quite bothersome to fanboys. There are plot holes between certain characters like Mystique being Xavier’s friend or sister, etc. It’s also very innaccurate, the original First Class were Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Gray, Beast, and Angel. If you notice, Xavier walks in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and he’s old and bald, in this film he loses that ability in an earlier age.

    Captain America in the otherhand is a dynamic work of art. Chris Evans totally carries this movie on his shoulders and the romance between Peggy and Steve is sweet, iunlike the romance between Beast, Magneto and Mystique in X-Men. I will admit the flaw in Captain America is the rushed pacing near the end, but that doesn’t take away anything from the whole movie in general. The action rocked, acting was great, and The Avengers will rock!

  19. Ceska

    October 14, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    This movie captures the the spirit of not only Captain America, but the spirit of a people who were ready to make the sacrafices necessary for freedom. I can understand why cynical critics would recoil at Captain America as a symbol in this move. But this is a testament to the movie, which shows the true depth of the character in a very realistic way

  20. marvel_fan360

    October 18, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    cap was the hero film of the summeer. gonna but the dvd. are you gonna write up the avengers movie review? or a review for the new trailer? your imput on it woouldd bee cool.

  21. dc < marvel

    October 23, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    i will be definately buying this flick on blu ray. dc fanboys are crying cause us marvel fans are getting the avengers and they arent getting a justice league movie. ha ha.

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