Captain America: The First Avenger
Release Year: 2011
Director: Joe Johnston
Screenwriters: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Joe Simon (comic books), Jack Kirby (comic books)
Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson
Steven Rogers, a slight young man from Brooklyn, is rejected again and again when he attemps to since up for military service during WWII. When he comes across Dr Erskine (Stanley Tucci) he is selected for a secret programme with the person of developping a supersoldier to win the war.
Marvel’s first solo outing for Captain America is a light hearted war movie that manages to turn what could have been a propaganda piece for American exceptionalism into a movie about hero who stands as a fighter on the side of good – no matter what guise. Apart from making the Cap appealing for an international audience, the best thing about Captain America: The First Avengers is that it has almost as much heart as its titular hero. Marvel’s version of a World War II film is charming and full of 1940’s pep and style, centrered around the nicest guy in the world. Chris Evans (Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015) proves in his first outing as Captain America that here is an example of perfet casting. Evans embodies the compassion and decency of the Captain without ever hitting a false note. However, the thing about Captain America as a character is that he is first truly fascinating as an avenger after he has been defrosted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and has to navigate a strange new world different from his own. As such the first Captain America film is put into a framestory designed to lead up to The Avengers (2012) taking a bit of the punch out of the story. This is a bit of a shame since we are treated to one of Captain America’s most iconic archenemies, and that story in itself should – and is – enough to entertain. The aforementioned archenemy, Red Skull, is played by the great Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, 1999) here sporting a Germanic accent which becomes a bit tiresome after a while (the same can be said about Toby Jones as his assistant). Among the supporting cast, which is given little screen time compared to the Cap, Hayley Atwell (Cinderella, 2015) as Agent Carter and a suave Dominic Cooper (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 2012) as a young Howard Stark stand out. Finally, Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black, 1997) is brilliant – the very epitome of a WWII general. Captain America: The First Avenger is a charming movie that gives quite a bit of background story to the Avengers, but offers little else to non-fans.
Chris Evans declined the part three times fearing what the sudden surge of fame would do to his personal life. Robert Downey Jr. advised him to take the part and reminded him that the success would also allow him to do the films he wanted to do afterwards.
Picture Copyright: Disney