The McDuffy Project
A Lunch Community
Captain America: The First Avenger

A 2011 film Based on the Marvel Comics Character

< read all 19 reviews

Shields Up!

  • Aug 29, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+4

Captain America:  The First Avenger is a solid action yarn that tries, at least in my opinion, to do too many things at once.

The plot of the film revolves around Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a scrawny wannabe soldier who gets turned away time after time when he attempts to enlist in the US Army to fight for the Allies in World War II.  His "never give up" attitude attracts the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a German scientist who leads a US team of scientists in the creation of a super soldier.  Once he's part of the super soldier program, Rogers proves time and again that despite his diminutive size and weak abilities, there is no other soldier more deserving to become the "super soldier."

Meanwhile, in Germany, a super secret Nazi group known as Hydra have managed to capture the power of an otherworldly cube that allows them to make a super weapon.  The leader of Hydra, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), has plans to not only use the superweapon against the Allies, but against his leader, Adolf Hitler, and the rest of the world as well.

What is eventually revealed is that Schmidt was one of the first men to test the super soldier serum, and his violent and evil ways became enhanced, turning him into the super villain, Red Skull.  This makes him the perfect foil for Cap.

Without giving too much more away, Captain America is used as an icon for motivation.  He is paraded around the country in order to lift spirits and sell bonds.  Eventually he finds himself in the theater of war, and his true leadership and fighting abilities take over.  He handpicks a group of soldiers to help him wipe out Hydra.  This eventually leads to a face-to-face battle with Schmidt, and a last ditch attempt to save the world from Hydra.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I felt as if Captain America was cheated on his origin story.  As I watched the action play out on the screen, I got the sense that the producers and director Joe Johnston were doing as much as possible to get every single little hint and nod to the upcoming Avengers film in place before Cap eventually squared off against Red Skull.  In short, this film came across as more of a set up for next year's Avengers flick, instead of Cap's origin story as it should have been.

The action, albeit fun to watch, was very formulaic.  Even in these scenes, the viewer was fed hints of what is to come via the repulsor blasts that sounded so much like the ones fired off by Robert Downey, Jr. in the Iron Man films.

What caught me off guard, though, was how many nods to the classic Captain America comics were made.  If you've ever heard of the Winter Soldier, Union Jack, or even the Howling Commandos, you'll pick up on them in this film.  Even Cap's shield gets a bit nostalgic.  Had the moviemakers decided to go full bore into the comics world of Cap and leave the build-up to the Avengers film to the post-credits clip we knew was coming, I think Captain America would have been a much better film.

Instead, we get a mish-mash of Hollywood set-up and comic loyalty that doesn't quite work.  Had Thor been released after Captain America:  The First Avenger, I believe that it would have suffered the same fate as everyone's favorite patriot.   

So, why four stars out of five?  For the well choreographed action and, more importantly, the actors!  Not once during the film did I think, "Hey, it's the Human Torch wearing red, white, and blue tights!"  Chris Evans became Steve Rogers/Captain America and made me actually cheer for him.  I wanted to see the Cap succeed and when all was said and done, I felt pretty darn patriotic thanks to Evans' performance.  While Stanley Tucci's role wasn't very big as far as screen time goes, he also managed to win me over with his caring attitude and confidence in Rogers.  Tommy Lee Jones, who portrayed Col. Chester Phillips was very convincing as well, but I've always felt that Tommy Lee Jones is one of the best performers when it comes to portraying gruff, cranky old heroes.  Hayley Atwell was both believable and beautiful as Cap's love interest and fellow freedom fighter, Peggy Carter. 

Also of note are the men who (although not actually called this by name in the movie) would go on to become the Howling Commandos.  Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, and J.J. Feild all did excellent jobs with their limited screen time.  The same goes for Sebastian Stan, who portrays Bucky Barnes.

The only actors who suffered in this film were the heavily underused Hugo Weaving as Red Skull and Toby Jones as Red Skull's sidekick, Arnim Zola.  While both of them were convincing in their roles, neither one of them were fleshed out enough to really grab my attention.  Red Skull was merely there to get viewers and Cap to the end of the film so that the studio could promote the Avengers movie.  I do hope that Red Skull returns for that film, though, and is given a bit more depth.

Another reason that I enjoyed this film is its nostalgia factor.  Even though I wasn't around back during the 1940's, I felt like I was right in the middle of them while watching this film.  Director Joe Johnston managed to do this with another of his films which happens to be a personal favorite of mine, The Rocketeer.

Captain America:  The First Avenger
really is a good film.  What it gets right, it nails perfectly.  Unfortunately, it comes off so rushed and so crammed with "Ooooohh, get ready for Nick Fury and the rest of the gang in 2012" that it takes away from the Captain himself.  That, my friends, should be grounds for treason in the good ol' U.S. of A.  I still recommend this movie, and I wouldn't want to be caught watching the Avengers film without having seen this one first.

Recommended to comic book fans for what works in this movie, and action flick fans for everything else.

 

Shields Up! Shields Up! Shields Up! Shields Up!

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
3
Thought-Provoking
3
Fun to Read
3
Well-Organized
3
Post a Comment
August 29, 2011
I agree about the nostalgia -- and I enjoyed some of the tongue in cheek humor as well. I don't know if the whole film was a set up for Avengers but I see what you're saying. I am hoping for another film or even a live action TV series. Love your title -- damn I didn't think of that!!
August 31, 2011
That title popped into my head immediately. I wanted to tie the shield in, naturally, but Trek was on my mind I guess!
 
1
More Captain America: The First Ave... reviews
review by . July 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Not Quite The Definitve Film About The Sentinel of Liberty....
“Captain America” has been one Marvel character that has been so overlooked, underused and definitely misused. I think this is already the 5th comic book adaptation this year and the 3rd one released that featured a major Marvel comic character. “Captain America The First Avenger” has been released with little to no major promos and it feels like a movie that follows a formula that has been used by many other comic book movies so many times before. To appreciate Joe Johnston’s …
review by . December 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In a "alternate" universe (a la Inglorious Basterds) where Nazis had ray guns, planes that look like stealth bombers and lab equipment that looks modern day, we have another tale of World War II. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans with amazing special effects that have him looking shorter and pencil thin) keeps getting rejected by the Army for health reasons. He is not dissuaded and just keeps enlisting in other stations.    He appears ultra-patriotic and doesn't care if bullies beat …
review by . July 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     Well, what a pleasant surprise. It's been a long, mediocre summer of good-to-sadly-decent superhero flicks. There have been many of them; although not all of them have been worthwhile. Meanwhile, "Captain America: The First Avenger" is some sort of minor miracle. It's one of the most cliché-laden films I've seen all year, but the beauty of that fact is that it embraces these qualities; and never lets them become part of the movie's flaws.    I …
review by . July 23, 2011
The Star-spangled man is here to kick bubblegum and chew ass
 Thor, X-men First Class, Green Lantern, it’s been like Christmas all year for comic book fans everywhere. If you read my quick tip then you know I’ve been hyped for this movie all year, in anticipation for the Avengers movie may of next.       Asthma, Heart palpitations, if you can name it chances are Steve Rogers has it. A physically weak man in every sense of the word but if there is anything that’s a constant in comic books it’s that strength …
review by . July 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Captain America, The First Avenger' 'Two Jews On Film' Don't Salute This Marvel Super Hero (Video)
      'Captain America, The First Avenger', directed by Joe Johnston (Wolfman) is the latest superhero to come out of the 'Marvel' stable.      The year is 1941...Hitler and his merry band of Nazis are storming through Europe. One particular Nazi, Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is in Norway searching for an ancient artifact known as Odin's Tesseract.      This artifact is very, very powerful. We know this, …
review by . July 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Mess Worthy of Being Called Captain
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER   Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely   Directed by Joe Johnston   Starring Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving       Peggy Carter: You can’t give me orders!   Captain America: The hell I can’t! I’m a captain.       I was weary of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER before watching it but still optimistic. After all, …
review by . July 23, 2011
With the release of Captain America: The First Avenger now out, the comicbook summer of 2011 now comes to a close.  We had our ups with X Men First Class and our downs or at the very least dissapointments with Green Lantern but when the Golden Age hero Captain America now hit the big screen, the summer was going out on a high note.      The movie takes place with Captain America's origin, during WWII with Steve Rogers, a stringbean of a man who cannot get enlisted into …
review by . August 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   So I'm just going to say right off that I enjoyed this movie, although the bar was set pretty low what with Thor, which - lets face it - was not a very good movie.  I had also, just before seeing Captain America, happened to catch an early 90's/late 80's looking version (I later determined it was released in 1990) starring Matt Salinger.  So after all that, Captain America blew me away.      The story begins with the discovery of a gigantic, …
review by . July 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Captain America: The First Avenger is a fun slice of pop culture nostalgia – a 3D film that crosses the gee-whiz imagery of a yesteryear pulp magazine with the rip-roaring action and adventure of a Saturday afternoon serial. Adapted from the Marvel comic book, it evokes an imaginary, almost innocent world of fantastic technologies, sinister domination plots, and gung-ho characters, all of whom believe that good old American moxie can vanquish …
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
After the made-for-TV Captain America movie and series starring Reb Brown and the lesser known made for video movie starring Matt Salinger, it is somewhat refreshing to see the living legend of world war II featured in his first credible, big-budgeted movie feature.      Judging from the trailer and photos, I would say that this is Steve Rogers as an “Ultimate Marvel Universe” version from the early 2000‘s. A much darker, meaner and tougher Cap, but I have mixed …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
kfontenot
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie

Wiki


Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. It is the fifth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Joe Johnston, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci. The film tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super soldier Captain America to help the war effort. However, Captain America must stop Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry and leader of a terrorist organization, who intends to use a mysterious tesseract energy-source for world domination.
view wiki

Details

Director: Joe Johnston
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Drama, Thriller, War
Release Date: July 22, 2011
Runtime: 124 minutes
Studio: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
The McDuffy Project is part of the Lunch.com Network - Get this on your site
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists