Captain America: The First Avenger (May Contain Spoilers)

While there have been a lot of superhero films released in the recent months, normally a lot of which track the “origins” of that superhero and how they eventually become known as the famous whatever-they-are, there are some that do it badly and some that make it work. Captain America: The First Avenger does it in a style that, for once, is entirely unlike others.

Captain America manages to get a mix of a slow-burner of an origins story (rather than everything just “happening” a-la Green Lantern) with immediate pay-offs for other characters.  For instance, Johann Schmidt aka The Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving, who never fails to make an impressive and awesome bad guy, but especially so when he doesn’t have any skin on his face!), head of the HYDRA division of Nazi Germany, has his storyline dropped straight into the start of the film, and there is no explanation behind his character needed which works well as the exposition of his character doesn’t come until later anyway. Whereas, on the flip side, there is a slow burning storyline for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) before eventually becoming Captain America after undergoing the Super Soldier process and surviving, mainly because there is more of a personal story to his growth – Captain America always had a deeper character than some other heroes and that needed to be explained wholly in the film before anything else could move on. It needed to be seen that this Steve Rogers became Captain America for who he is and for his conscience, not just what he could do.

There were many things that I enjoyed seeing in Captain America: The First Avenger that didn’t need to be included but were made part of the overall story anyway. Firstly, there was the way they made Steve Rogers into a propaganda symbol before they actually put him in any kind of war zone, because in reality that is what Captain America started out as. Originally, the idea behind Captain America was used as propaganda to rally American troops and was used as a symbol of patriotism for the USA before it eventually continued on as a superhero comic and as part of The Avengers. Secondly, having Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (Tony Stark/Iron Man’s dad, if none of you got that reference) as the main techie behind the Super Soldier process and creating some of Cap’s armour and his shield tied everything in the Marvel Universe together nicely, and goes to show how effective Marvel having their own film studios can be when everything comes together like that.

It would have been very easy for director Joe Johnston (of Jurassic Park III fame) Captain America: The First Avenger to totally milk the patriotism potential of a film like this, and turn it into a “Go USA!” kind of film (like Battle: Los Angeles turned out to be) instead of how it actually was by having it as an superhero film set in World War II and perfectly capturing the film noir-style of the era and managing to make it feel genuine rather than forced, and mixed the sci-fi with the historical in a seamless way. Also, the way they managed to make Cap’s suit more like that of the Ultimates series (i.e. a kind of Kevlar armour jacket and helmet rather than the all-in-one suit of yester-year) means that everything seemed more genuine rather than having him run round a warzone in a bright blue and red suit.

Tommy Lee Jones did amazing work starring as Colonel Chester Phillips in charge of the Super Soldier program, and Sebastian Stan was very convincing as Bucky Barnes even though they decided to kill him off in the film where he would otherwise go on to be Captain America’s sidekick. That being said, since Captain America: The First Avenger is mainly being done to tie in with The Avengers next year, there was obviously less time to indulge in Captain America’s WW2 years.

But all of this storyline, for how amazing it was, seems like nothing compared to the final scene of the film and the post-credits teaser. The final act of the film sees Steve Rogers waking up in a seemingly 1940’s hospital before breaking out of its fake walls into a modern day world and realising his situation with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), consequently cutting out the entire scenes of him being found frozen in the ice and being brought into the modern day world as it keeps the first-person knowledge of the film.

SPOILER ALERT: And then there is the post-credits teaser trailer for The Avengers next summer. Starting with Steve Rogers training in a boxing gym and knocking the punching bag off the ceiling, it continues on with brief glimpses of Loki in the S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ and other heroes like Thor, Iron Man and Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner, and it would seem he now gets a purple-tinted suit to wear as well) all out in action, with the tagline Some Assembly Required appearing in between the clips. Needless to say, if you’re even a fraction of the geek that I am, you’re bound to be excited about this first glimpse of one of the biggest films of next year.

Essentially, Captain America: The First Avenger does a brilliant job of bringing the final piece of The Avengers puzzle into play, and was surprisingly more interesting as a film for all its set pieces and script writing than Thor turned out to be, and manages to avoid turning the patriotism dial into overload too. Captain America: The First Avenger gets 9 out of 10 for bringing everything in the Marvel Universe together and getting me appropriately excited for The Avengers.

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2 Comments

  1. In the era of the tortured superhero in movies, it’s refreshing to come across one with enthusiasm and a pure spirit. Good Review! Check out my site whenever you can!

    • Yes, I quite liked that as well, but then Captain America was always meant to be the moral compass that all other superheroes measured themselves against, since he was supposed to be the very first one to set the bar. I will for sure check out your site soon, but in the meantime, you can check out the film review radio show/podcast I do with two other people on May Contain Spoilers on Facebook. Let us know what you think!


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