REVIEW: Captain America – The First Avenger (2011)

captainamericathefirstavenger

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2011, Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios

Director:
Joe Johnston
Producer:
Kevin Feige
Writers:
Christopher Markus (screenplay)
Stephen McFeely (screenplay)
Joe Simon (original character)
Jack Kirby (original character)
Cinematography:
Shelly Johnson
Editing:
Robert Dalva
Jeffrey Ford

Cast:
Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)
Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)
Sebastian Stan (James “Bucky” Barnes)
Tommy Lee Jones (Col. Chester Phillips)
Hugo Weaving (Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull)
Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark)
Richard Armitage (Heinz Kruger)
Stanley Tucci (Dr. Abraham Erskine)
Toby Jones (Dr. Arnim Zola)
Neal McDonough (Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan)
Derek Luke (Gabe Jones)
Kenneth Choi (Jim Morita)
J.J. Feild (James Montgomery Falsworth)
Bruno Ricci (Jacques Derrier)
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)
Natalie Dormer (Pvt. Lorraine)

A legend is born in this action packed film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where we finally see Chris Evans in the role he was meant for.

The year is 1942 and World War II is going strong when the Americans enter. Desperate to enter the Army, frail Steve Rogers has tried on numerous occasions to fake applications because he so wants to be a soldier. Even his best friend, the far strong Bucky Barnes has been able to enlist. However, one fateful night will change Steve’s life forever when he meets Dr. Abraham Erskine, who makes him an offer he just can’t refuse. Erskine want Steve to prove himself at basic training and when he overcomes the odds, Steve becomes the recipient of a new serum that will turn an ordinary man into a super soldier.

When the experiment proves to be successful, Steve is now bigger and stronger. However, a member of HYDRA, a Nazi entity, had infiltrated the experiment and kills Dr. Erskine. Rogers is able to stop the infiltrator, who kills himself. As for Steve, he becomes the new face of the U.S. Army, Captain America. While is at first relegated doing USO shows and small films, he learns Bucky has been kidnapped. Finally going into action, Captain America makes the save but is shocked to learn that Dr. Erskine had created someone before him: a Nazi commandant named Johann Schmidt, known as the Red Skull. The Red Skulls plans to use a weapon called the Tesseract to dominate the world. Can Captain America stop the Red Skull and save the world from destruction?

Marvel’s “Star Spangled Avenger” finally gets the proper film treatment, a World War II-period piece directed by Joe Johnston, who had broken similar ground in 1991 with his Disney period superhero film The Rocketeer. The tone of the film brings the glory days of World War II when we are introduced to the frail Steve Rogers, played by lead actor Chris Evans. To show the frailty of Rogers before he is given that top secret experiment, his head is digitally inserted onto a body double and it looks extremely convincing. It is when Evans is given the experiment that we see the real Evans and it is safe to say that after playing “The Human Torch” in Fox’s first two adaptations of Fantastic 4, Evans finally got the role he was meant to play.

Hayley Atwell plays Agent Peggy Carter as an ample love interest who also can kick some butt when necessary while Tommy Lee Jones does quite well as Col. Chester. Sebastian Stan, pre-Winter Soldier, makes the most of his role as Bucky Barnes, Steve’s best friend and a welcome change from the original boy sidekick of Bucky in the original comics. However, the highlight is Hugo Weaving, who couldn’t be a more perfect villain in Johann Schmidt, aka The Red Skull. Weaving masterfully plays the role to a tee, a Nazi mastermind who has possession of what the comics call The Cosmic Cube, but in the film the Tesseract, the first of the “infinity stones”.

The action of the film is also a major asset to the film. There are nice fisticuffs that is more grounded and akin to its time period combined with the throwing of Cap’s shield, made of vibranium. Aside from Cap, expect the appearance of the Howling Commandos, a group first seen in the Marvel Comics with Sgt. Nick Fury, who is played by Samuel L. Jackson here in a cameo appearance in Fury’s Ultimates form. Of course with all Marvel films, look out for a cameo by the immortal Stan Lee as well as he awaits for a USO performance from Cap, in which Cap skips out to finally show he is more than show.

Captain America: The First Avenger is truly a Marvel delight with Chris Evans finally in the role he was meant to play. With its period setting and excellent support from Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee, Sebastian Stan, and Hugo Weaving, this is truly one of the beginning of the best adaptations for the Star Spangled Avenger.

WFG RATING: A

DVD/BLU-RAY

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