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Captain America: The First Avenger

A 2011 film Based on the Marvel Comics Character

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A Mess Worthy of Being Called Captain

  • Jul 23, 2011
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, I had been very pleasantly surprised by previous Avenger installments, IRON MAN and THOR. I had not expected either of those to be anywhere near as good as they were so the captain could still impress. So what if Joe Johnston, who has not made a solid film since 1991’s THE ROCKETEER, directed it? Who cares if it stars Chris Evans, who’s never done anything more memorable on film other than take off his shirt? And why should it matter that the film is coming in at the tail end of mounting audience superhero exhaustion? Unfortunately, all of these potential detriments come together quite nicely to create a disaster worthy of being called captain.
Johnston takes a decidedly cartoonish approach to the iconic superhero, which could work given the film’s comic book origins but just comes off as amateurish. Before Captain America dons the uniform and shield he is known for, he was nothing more than a scrawny, scrappy boy trying to fight for his country. This is a problem as Evans is nothing if not a fine male specimen. To make Evans look that pathetic, his face was digitally plastered onto a smaller man’s body. The intention is good; the emotional attachment to the character would not have followed through the film if he were played by someone else in these earlier scenes. The execution is not great though as he looks more like a bobble-head than anything else. Throw in Stanley Tucci’s ridiculous German accent, the mad science experiments complete with sparks and electrical currents running through the air and Hugo Weaving with a red skull for a head and you’ve got a film desperate for credibility that undermines itself at every turn.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER had to happen to properly set up all the steps towards THE AVENGERS. I’m sure Evans will fit in just fine amongst those guys next year but for now, he feels trapped in a project that never comes together. Comic book movies are big movies; they need to play to wide audiences to justify their budgets but as gigantic as the comic book movie business has become, it does not mean that every one translates well to film. A different director might have made the difference here as there are semi-interesting themes that were only partially explored but Johnston tries to hard to appease the fans and the masses at the same time, which ultimately alienates both groups. Captain America has to prove himself for the longest time but thanks to this film, he only proves himself to be a joke. 

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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A Mess Worthy of Being Called Captain A Mess Worthy of Being Called Captain A Mess Worthy of Being Called Captain

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August 03, 2011
Great review
August 14, 2011
July 29, 2011
I had a bad feeling about this since I first heard Johnston was the director. He's only done three movies that I didn't strongly dislike ("Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and "The Rocketeer") and only one of which I thought was good ("October Sky"). As for Evans, this is the fourth comic book adaptation he's appeared in ,and frankly, I'm as tired of him as I am of Marvel Comics superheroes lately.
August 14, 2011
I fully agree. Enjoyed Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Rocketeer when I was a kid but Captain America was too ambitious for Johnston. You could see the pulp effect he was going for but you could always feel how much he was missing it too. And Evans, he just can't seem to connect, no matter how hard he tries.
July 23, 2011
I think your review is a shortened version of how I felt about it. This was a mere ploy to promote 2012's "Avengers'. It started out well and I think it almost ended decently, but the crux of the story was very hollow and weak. Nice review, Joseph!
July 25, 2011
Thanks .. I wanted to enjoy this but it was so oversimplified that I had nothing to hold on to when watching it. It all felt a little silly to me.
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 . August 29, 2011
Shields Up!
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 …
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
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'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
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
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
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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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.
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Director: Joe Johnston
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Drama, Thriller, War
Release Date: July 22, 2011
Runtime: 124 minutes
Studio: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures
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