Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America: the First Avenger - 2011

"Captain America: the First Avenger" - 2011
Dir. by Joe Johnston - 2 hrs. 5 min.

Official Trailer

I've got to give credit where credit is due: Marvel Studios is doing a great job of making fun adventure movies out of comics characters I do not, and have never cared about.  For the fourth time in a row, I've been pleasantly surprised by their offerings (preceded by the two Iron Man movies and this year's "Thor"), so it might be time to re-adjust my expectations.  Then again, going by the "The Amazing Spider-Man" trailer shown before this movie, maybe I'm going to want to wait one more movie before doing so.

Captain America, in case you didn't know, was a comics character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the midst of World War II, and was a huge success.  The character actually pre-dates Marvel Comics, but was included in the original Avengers team (which shouldn't be a spoiler, unless you really don't know anything about Cap and where these Marvel movies are headed).  The quick version of the character is that Steve Rogers is a scrawny kid who desperately wants to join the Army and fight for his country, but is medically unfit to do so.  However, there is a loophole, the Super Soldier Project, in which Rogers happily enrolls.

The film is set in the early 1940's for the most part, although courtesy of Hydra (Hitler's radical science division), there is some anachronistic technology.  The fight scenes and war material are fantastic (in the sense that it's not rooted in reality), and I didn't mind that, seeing as how the character is essentially war propaganda  (and there is a nice take on that following Rogers' physical change in to Cap).  Captain America (played by Chris Evans) eventually takes on the task of wiping Hydra off the map, and directly taking on Hydra's leader, the Red Skull.  Along the way, the movie hits all the points it needs to, both in a storytelling sense and in a continuity sense.  There are nice nods to "Thor" and the Iron man movies (there's a macguffin from Thor's world, and Tony Stark's father, Howard Stark is a prominent character here), which is important to the sort of people who would be pre-inclined to see a Captain America movie.

I don't know how to discuss the film without getting into plot points, which I'd rather not do.  I'd rather say that this was a satisfying movie, and definitely did it's job in setting up the next film in the series.  Captain America comes across as a total hero (which he is), has a bittersweet love story with a beautiful woman (Hayley Atwell), and the bridge between the WWII era and the modern day is a lot better than in the comics version (where Cap was pretty much an ice cube that washed ashore).  My only real gripe is a comic geek one: Chris Evans has now played the Human Torch (in the Fantastic Four movies) and Captain America, which could cause the universe to cleave in half.  I guess that would be a bigger problem if the FF movies hadn't been so lame.

3.5 / 5 - Theatre


  1. Just finally saw this one, and would definitely agree that Marvel Studios are on a roll!
    I enjoyed the heck out of this and Thor (tough call on which I like better), and the Iron Man movies (though Iron Man 2 is clearly sub-par to all the rest).
    And though I was an Iron Man fan, I had absolutely no love (quite the opposite) for Thor or Cap... but the movies, yes!

  2. Cap and Thor were fantastic. I'm not sure I could pick one over the other, they're different beasts entirely. But I'm not really fans of the comics (Simonson's Thor aside), and I wish there were Thor/Cap/Iron Man comics as good as the movies have been.