“When Captain America throws his mighty shield,
All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield.
If he’s led to a fight and a duel is due,
Then the red and white and the blue’ll come through
When Captain America throws his mighty shield.”
Like a lot of people my age, that was my first exposure to Captain America on the screen. The Captain America animated shorts. Mind you it was the small screen, but still it was bigger than what was on the page.
Captain America was always one of these properties that Hollywood kept trying to do, but always seem to miss the mark. Well, it looks like Hollywood finally got it right.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER is the latest in the AVENGERS movie franchise. And quite honestly, a long awaited one.
CAPTAIN AMERICA starts off with a discovery of a large aircraft that has been frozen in the Arctic since the 1940′s. On exploring the craft, the survey team finds a very symbolic shield encased in a block of ice. From there, the rest of the story is told in a flashback, set during World War II.
We are introduced Steve Rogers, a 90 pound, skinny kid from Brooklyn, who is desperate to join the army and help fight the war. Unfortunately, he’s been rejected from the army more than once. Rogers finally gets his chance, by joining a secret military project to create an army of super soldiers. Due to sabotage, Rogers ends becoming the only super solider in the program.
From there he becomes a symbol of hope and a scourge to the Nazi science division know as Hydra. Led by the maniacal Johann Schmidt, also known as the Red Skull. The Skull’s motive is to simply take over the world, and only Captain America can stop him.
I hate to tackle this review as a comic fan, but Cap has been a character I’ve been in love with since I was a kid. The movie really captured the best of Cap’s different personalities from the past 70 years of his existence. They took aspects of all the various writers that have been on the book throughout the years, and merged all the best qualities of Cap into this movie version. It was a solid and fun script. Good pacing and strong dialog. It isn’t Shakespeare, but then who expects it to be.
Director Joe Johnston seems to be back in familiar territory with this film. One of his early films, THE ROCKETEER also had an average guy become a hero against the backdrop of World War II. But from the look of the film, you can see the Johnston has matured as a director. The modern parts of the film look extremely modern, but the World War II stuff looks larger than life. A completely different era. One that was only seen in the movies and books of the time. It can seem “campy” at some parts of the movie, but it really worked well on screen.
The film was CGI heavy but worked well, especially making lead Chris Evans look he’s just skin and bones. Even though it was heavy CGI, it was done very subtlety. Just really merged well with the live action after editing.
The casting was really dead on with this one. Evans is just perfect as Cap. He really has Cap’s passion and fighting spirit down pat. He just nailed him. He even was able to have a little of the 1940′s stereotypical Brooklyn accent for the film.
And playing his nemesis the Red Skull is Hugo Weaving. Weaving’s Skull just comes across as psychotic and cunning at the same time. He’s a man that is no longer worried about his looks, and is consumed with world domination.
Of course this film couldn’t move along without the supporting characters. It was Tommy Lee Jones (Col.Phillips) and Stanley Tucci (Dr. Abraham Erskine) that really stole the show. Domonic Cooper is wonderfully cast as Howard Stark. Tony (Iron Man) Stark’s father, so you have that link there. Rounding out the cast is best bud Sebastian Stan (Bucky) and love interest Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter). And they all work extremely well with each other.
This is the fourth comic book movie of this summer, and honestly is the best of the bunch. The pacing is excellent. Some elements do seem unbelievable, but not unrealistic, if that makes any sense.
Even-though this is pretty much a World War II film with Nazis, CAPTAIN AMERICA comes across like a family action film. An enjoyable one for all ages. As much as it a family film, at no time does it dumb it down for the audience. And for my fellow fanboys, there’s a couple of easter eggs in there for us, but you have to look for them.
And like all the movies in the AVENGERS franchise, you’ll definitely want to sit through the credits of this one. You’ll get a nice teaser of the AVENGERS movie slated for next summer. That one you don’t want to miss.
Now I saw the film in 3D, but I don’t feel you’ll be missing out on anything if you see it in regular 2D.
If anything, I hope this movie get more people reading the comic books. If you love this movie, then you’ll love the comics.