Film Review: Captain America: The First AvengerMovie Reviews — By ecksmanfan on August 4, 2011 8:03 pm
Rewind a couple of years to when we first saw Iron Man hit the screens and Marvel’s attempt at creating a movie universe took off with flying colors. This is a concept that DC Comics and Marvel alike only dreamed of and most were surprised at how well the idea was accepted. Soon after, other characters were getting their own films, including Thor and Captain America; toss in characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye, who have appeared in Iron Man 2 and Thor respectively, and you have yourself one of the most recognizable teams in comic history: The Avengers. This film is actually teased in the after-credits scene in Captain America. So how does ol’ Cappy’s film compare to his counter parts? Just fine, if not a little better! Captain America: The First Avenger is a fun, flag-waving war movie that will bring a smile to your face. Which is something that is hard for a comic book movie to pull off now days.
Steve Rogers only wants one thing: to serve his country during World War 2. But his sick-ridden, scrawney body won’t allow him to enter into the greatest army in the world. But his strong will and desire to rid the world of bullies catches the eye of the creator of a “Super Soldier” serum and he gets his chance to serve. After an incredible transformation, Rogers, now called Captain America, (a name he received in a rather funny way), heads off to Germany to take down Red Skull, the leader of the Nazi science and development division. Red Skull is a man who is even more delusional than Hitler and will stop at nothing to take over the world. But Captain America and his Howling Commandoes will do all they can to stop him.
Obviously, this story is adapted from the Marvel comic of the same name, and while I’ve not read these books, I do know a bit of Cap’s history and this is a great version of the story, updated a bit to appease today’s audiences. The film is well paced and follows a well-tested pattern of action movies that has served Hollywood so well for many years. The best way I can describe this film is a bit of Iron Man and the Rocketeer, tossed in with a bit of Indiana Jones. The way the characters are written and acted, the film has an almost nostalgic feel to it which is both fun and different.
Director Joe Johnston (Wolfman, The Rocketeer) carries over his ability to capture stunning scenery and set pieces, creating a period piece out of a comic book movie; something that is not easy to do successfully. Being that Johnston’s film history is rather hit or miss (in the opinion of this geek), he was the element of this film that I was worried about. Luckily, I was proven wrong.
When Chris Evans was announced as the actor who had landed the coveted role of Captain America, fans were divided. Some felt that he was perfect for the role, myself included; others felt that because he had played another comic book movie role in the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four films, he’d had his chance and wanted someone new. Regardless, he pulls this one off very well and I am excited to see him take the role in new directions with the Avengers film and future Captain America films. Tommy Lee Jones, not surprisingly, nearly stole the whole show with his one -liners and perfect delivery, providing for many of the film’s comedic moments. Stanley Tucci was perfect casting for the role of Dr. Erskine, creator of the Super Soldier serum, embracing the role with every bit of his being. Hugo Weaving, who seems to own the concept of villainry, takes on Red Skull just as you’d expect him to. Hayley Atwell, who plays Peggy Carter, is not only stunning to look at, but has shown her capabilities as an actress and there is no doubt in my mind she will soon be a leading lady for Hollywood. The rest of the crew is superbly casted, only adding to the powerhouse cast that Johnston and company have set up.
From the moment you see Chris Evans as a scrawny, wanna-be soldier, you knew the rest of the special effects in the film would be top notch. It was both awesome and creepy how they pulled that off in the first scenes of the film; creating a believable look for the character. The enhanced fight scenes and techology for the film were done very well, without making them look cheesy and out of place. The high-tech planes and weapons of Hydra were well designed and well utilized throughout the film, providing a great contrast to the traditional weapons of the American team.
One thing I picked up on throughout the film, specifically during fight scenes, was the attention given to the sound of Cap’s shield as he was using it to disarm and take down opponents. The “clang” that came along with these actions was near perfect in my eyes. Not overly obnoxious, but enoough to make it noticeable and unmistakeable. Speaking of sound, Alan Silvestri’s score was nothing astounding, but it allowed for a patriotic feeling and ambiance to be created, which is really all it needed.
A complaint that I have had with Marvel Studios films, with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, is that the action scenes leave me wanting more. They are usually over too fast and are almost anti-climactic. Captain America does a better job and improves on that missing piece, but I thing there could still be more. Hopefully, the Avengers will solve that problem.
Overall, Captain America is a fun, action film that happens to be a comic book movie. I enjoyed this one more than I did Thor, but I don’t think it was quite up to par with the first Iron Man film. With each film they make, Marvel and company are improving on their stories and films and DC Comics and Warner Bros. should be taking notes. Captain America will be a fun film series and charcter to watch unfold in the coming years, here’s to hoping for bigger and better that we’ve already seen! Now….BRING ON THE AVENGERS!