Captain America: The First Avenger is the last in the line of films based on Marvel Comics superheroes, before those characters join forces in The Avengers. Although being the late arrival, it manages a rather formidable achievement since it turns out to be the most fun of the bunch since Iron Man, the one that started the saga. Director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) tells the story of the most patriotic superhero and his World War II origin. Before becoming the perfect soldier, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, The Losers) was a Brooklyn, NY weakling with a noble soul and desire to fight for his country. His determination gains him entry into a secret military project aiming to create a super army to fight against the Nazis and the evil ‘Red Skull’, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving, enjoying his villainous turn just as much as in the glory days of The Matrix).
Captain America and the Marvel Template
Like Thor, also released this summer, the plot is simple enough for both children and adults to follow. Unlike that entry, Captain America depends less on special effects and more on well-developed, well-acted characters. There’s the Girl, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). The Best Friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). The Tough-as-Nails Colonel, Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). And, of course, you have the Scientists, Erskine (Stanley Tucci) and Zola (Toby Jones). It even offers a decent Robert Downey Jr. stand-in Dominic Cooper, who plays Tony Stark’s dad Howard in his pre-fatherhood days.
Many dismissed the casting of Chris Evans for having played Johnny ‘The Human Torch’ Storm in the Fantastic Four movies. Here, though, he shows he’s a competent actor and he can make an ideal comic book movie hero. This movie seems to come from the era of the Saturday matinee serials. Only its lasers, advanced technology and the fact it’s in color give it away. It shares that retro quality with spiritual brethren like Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and Johnston’s own The Rocketeer.
This film can’t really compete with Iron Man‘s snarky cool. Truth be told, it isn’t supposed to. They’re different films about different characters in separate times. One wants to be more Superman; the other, more Batman, and that’s fine by me. On its own merit, Captain America is a fun throwback to a film era that may never repeat itself again.
Movie title: Captain America: The First Avenger
Movie description: Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, director Joe Johnston creates a spiritual successor to his film The Rocketeer.
Date published: 2011-07-10
Director(s): Joe Johnston
Actor(s): Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Samuel L. Jackson
Genre: Action, Adventure