Captain America: The First Avenger Review

For a few years or so I have been reading comic books. I have always loved comic book movies though. The new Batman series is among the best. X-Men First Class was awesome but after a while the Green Lantern started to let me down the more I saw it. Thor and the rest of the Marvel franchises always entice me more than does the DC ones. It’s good to see that Marvel has their shit together. Seriously. After years of fucking around now they got the Avengers ready. Do Iron Man. Make it super good and successful. Cool. Now Iron Man 2 following Hulk. Just as successful. Great now let’s hype up Thor and the Cap. Thor was ok, did ok. Cap, well it knocked Harry from his perch and was well…let’s let the review do the talking.

So what is Captain America all about? Here’s the excerpt from the plot section on Wikipedia:

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a mysterious object with a red, white and blue motif. In March 1942, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), leader of Adolf Hitler‘s science division HYDRA, arrives at an old castle in Tønsberg, Norway, steals a mysterious tesseract, calling it “the jewel of Odin‘s treasure room.” In New York City, Brooklyn native Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is rejected for World War II military duty as 4-F for the fifth time. Rogers’ friend, Sergeant James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), takes Rogers to the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibition (based off the 1939 New York World’s Fair), where Rogers slips into a recruitment center for another attempt at enlisting. When Barnes attempts to dissuade him, Rogers’ fervent patriotic conviction catches the ear of expatriate German scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who is with the U.S. government’s Strategic Scientific Reserve. He recruits Rogers to a squad of soldiers at Camp Lehigh in New York state, where – under Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and SSR officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) – one will be chosen as the first in a “super-soldier” experiment. Phillips suggests Sergeant Gilmore Hodge (Lex Shrapnel), but Rogers’ conscience, ingenuity and courage convince Erskine to use the sickly man. Meanwhile in Europe, Schmidt and scientist Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) attempt to harness the power of the cube-like tesseract. Schmidt then kills a few Nazi officials when they learn Schmidt is usurping Hitler’s authority by planning to take over every country in the world, including Germany.

Erskine tells Rogers about the super soldier serum he will be using, explaining that he was first forced to test the formula on Schmidt. However, as the serum had not been perfected, Schmidt experienced physical side effects and enhanced his sinister nature and intentions, causing Erskine to flee to the United States. Erskine, having now perfected the serum, tells Rogers he was chosen because his weak physical nature has given him humility. In a secret lab behind a Brooklyn antique store, Erskine and others gather with military inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Senator Brandt (Michael Brandon) and U.S. State Department employee Fred Clemson (Richard Armitage). Rogers is given micro-injections of serum and then doused with what Erskine calls “vita-rays”, causing him to have a tall and muscular physique. Clemson is exposed as Schmidt’s assassin Heinz Kruger, and shoots Erskine dead before fleeing to his submarine. Rogers pursues and captures Kruger, but the spy commits suicide with a cyanide capsule.

Brandt has Rogers don a colorful costume for a War Bonds promotional stage show that has an unimpressed soldier audience in Italy, November 1943, jeering Rogers. When he hears Barnes is among a number of soldiers captured by Schmidt, Rogers convinces Carter and Stark to fly him behind enemy lines for a solo rescue mission. Breaking into what turns out to be a HYDRA base, Rogers frees several prisoners with instructions to seize weapons to fight their way out. In the resulting successful insurrection, Rogers memorizes a map of HYDRA bases while finding Barnes, and briefly confronts Schmidt, who reveals himself as the Red Skull. The Skull and Dr. Zola retreat, and Rogers returns the men to his base, along with high-tech guns and vehicles that use the tesseract’s energy.

Now convinced of Rogers’ usefulness, Col. Philips charges him with destroying HYDRA’s bases. To that end, Rogers recruits a team consisting of the men he rescued: Barnes, Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James Montgomery Falsworth (J. J. Feild), and Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci). Now wearing a more practical version of his Captain America costume with a circular shield made of vibranium that can also be used as a throwing weapon, Rogers and his squad take out all but one base. Finally, Rogers and Barnes zipline onto a train transporting Zola; during the ensuing battle, Barnes falls to his death.

Rogers, using information Phillips has gleaned from Zola, leads the commandos to the Skull’s final redoubt: a base dug into the Alps. Rogers scrambles onto the Skull’s jet, the Valkyrie, as it takes off on a mission to obliterate the U.S. using the tesseract energy, and eventually confronts the Skull. The Skull attempts to use the tesseract but instead disintegrates into light that shoots into space. The tesseract melts through the plane and falls to Earth. Rogers, as Carter listens on radio, crashes the plane into the ocean to prevent it from reaching the United States. Shortly after, the Allies celebrate V-E Day. Carter, Stark, and Phillips recover the tesseract, but are unable to locate Rogers.

In the present day, Rogers awakens in a room designed to appear as if he were still in the early 1940s. He hears a radio broadcast of a baseball game he attended in 1941. Deducing the truth and escaping to Times Square, Rogers learns from S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that he has been asleep for nearly 70 years, and they had wanted to acclimate his reentry into modern times. Rogers’ only response is that he is late for a dance he had promised to Carter nearly 70 years ago.”

So it seems that it is loyal to the comics. The fact that they did that much loyalty to the fan base pleases me. So how is the plot though? It felt like a motion comic coming on screen. Ya see in comics the plot isn’t super deep, it isn’t complex like Christopher Nolan wants you to believe it is. It’s always a war between two factions, this just happens to be World War II. I thought the plot was good enough to sustain me for the duration of the film which felt too short for me to even fully enjoy it.

Throughout the film there were the occasional special effect that was upsetting because it didn’t look good to the eye. There were times that the film looked more like the Cap was a video game character and less like an actual human being. But throwing that aside the landscape was breathtaking. It made me think of some of the filters on the world in the Jude Law film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. That made me giddy, not being a huge fan of the just mentioned movie but the way the backgrounds looked surreal and obviously not real was something that got me excited.

The make up was amazing. I was impressed with the way that Hugo Weaving was done up as the film’s main villain, The Red Skull. Not to mention the way he played the role as well. It was phenomenal to see Weaving play the villain again after hearing him as Megatron but I missed the Weaving villain role since the finale of the Matrix Trilogy.

The fact that the film packed as much comic book fan fare into it was a huge plus to me as both a comic book fan and a fan of the genre of film. The acting was impressive to say the least. Dominic Cooper as Bucky Barnes left me with a meh taste in my mouth but it wasn’t technically his fault. The character was rewritten to fit the period better and to be quite honest I never liked Bucky until his post Captain death reappearance as Winter Soldier. Stanley Tucci steals the show when he’s on the screen as the scientist responsible for the super serum incident. Tommy Lee Jones also steals the screen as the tough army general who essentially trains the Cap.

This brings us down to the main two characters, Weaving’s Red Skull, which we discussed earlier and Chris Evans’ Cap. Evans was admirable as the Cap but the fact that he was trying to be a scrawny kid going super hero was a tough role for even a decent actor like Evans to pull off. He was convincing but I think part of the flaws were in the scripting which I’ll let slide.

The film’s high budget sequences though coupled with the high intensity script and plot really left me at the edge of my seat during the entire film. I was in love from the opening credit montage and knew that the Cap might be one of the best summer popcorn movies of recent time. In a summer with hyped up supers movies that included some B-List (sorry Thor) characters the Cap outshines Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern and just falls short of the political satire that was X-Men: First Class. Therefore I give Captain America: The First Avenger a nice solid 8.9/10

About Angerbanjo

As passionate as one can be about certain topics it is hard to make a living with that passion, that being said my passion for nerd culture, modern music and video gaming has yet to translate into anything moderately successful, that and my degree in electronic media, but hey at least I can use that journalism minor. View all posts by Angerbanjo

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