Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Posted: July 22, 2011 in Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

In the midst of world strife during WWII, Steve Rogers has been itching to get into the fight. Due to his size and physical ailments, he has been turned down by every recruiter he has interacted with, though his best friend is soon to ship off. In a chance encounter with Dr. Erskine, Steve enters a mysterious military scientific experiment which is meant to enhance a person’s physical and personality characteristics far beyond normal development. Though the experiment is a success, a growing power in the Nazi ranks is threatening to surpass Hitler’s domination efforts and destroy the United States with a combination of mythology and science. Steve, now as Captain America, has to find a way to prove his worth as a soldier and take down the dictator known as the Red Skull.

Starring: Chris Evans (Steve Rogers), Hugo Weaving (The Red Skull), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Sebastian Stan (James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes), Tommy Lee Jones (Col. Chester Phillips), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Stanley Tucci (Dr. Abraham Erskine), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Toby Jones (Dr. Arnim Zola), Neal McDonough (Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan), Kenneth Choi (Jim Morita), JJ Field (James Montgomery Falsworth), Derek Luke (Gabe Jones), Richard Armitage (Heinz Kruger)

Chris Evans has had previous experience as a superhero, think the Human Torch of Fantastic Four, but this is a vastly different sort of role. He was allowed to be the risk-taking, wild child of the group in his previous films but serves more as the compassionate, bully-fighter in this new Marvel picture. While you would think that the increased power would go to his head, Evans does a great job with exhibiting the influence of his conscience and the positive influences of his peers. Similar to Evans, Hugo Weaving is no stranger to his role. As the former lead agent in The Matrix, Weaving serves as the powerful villain, the Red Skull. He is intense and maintains a constant aggressive approach to controlling his army. Hayley Atwell serves as his guide to the army, voice of reason and love interest in an interestingly untraditional role for a woman to serve in the US military. Tommy Lee Jones, while leading the charge as Colonel Phillips, proves some nice comic relief through sarcasm and quick witty comments.

Joe Johnston serves as the director of the final background film before Marvel releases their long-awaited Avengers blockbuster. Each of the five major films for each superhero has certainly come from different perspectives with each different director. The Incredible Hulk attempted to reboot the 2003 version with a better care for the characters and more continuity of the storyline. Iron Man introduced the lovable Tony Stark in a complicated story of an arms race and establishment of the one non-super hero among the group. The second film brought in War Machine, with the possibility of continuing the character with the Avengers. Thor went a little more supernatural with the involvement of gods and the introduction of Hawkeye. Finally with Captain America, the film takes a step into the past to help write the future story. While chemicals serve to alter his abilities like with the Hulk, his battle is meshed with history to give the story a little more grounding and realism, even with the discovery of the “power cube” and the disfigurement of the Red Skull.

The film has a little bit of humor but settles in as a background picture of the creation and rise of Captain America. While set in the 1940s, it does explain how Captain America is connected to the modern day for the connection with the Avengers. Stay until the end of the credits for an additional scene and look at a preview of the Avengers film, coming out next summer.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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