Director: Joe Johnston
Producer: Kevin Feige
Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: July 22, 2011
Runtime: 125 Minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan, and Hayley Atwell
Synopsis (Product Description):
Marvel Studios brings their prodigious patriot to the big screen with this WWII-set adventure about a once-meek U.S. soldier-turned-hero who gains strength and agility far beyond that of a normal human being after taking an experimental super-serum.
Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones and Hayley Atwell lead the cast of Captain America: The First Avenger and it’s another great movie from Marvel. Captain America finishes the trifecta of this season’s excellent Marvel movies that began with Thor and X-Men: First Class. It also sets the stage for next year’s Avengers film, to be helmed by BtVS and Dollhouse creator, Joss Whedon. Captain America is a comic book icon, but until now he’s appeared in terrible, low budget movies. Captain America: The First Avenger is the first film actually worthy of the icon.
Captain America hits all the high points for a super hero movie, while deftly avoiding the many pitfalls inherent in bringing such an iconic character to the silver screen. It’s an origin story, but it doesn’t get bogged down in the comic book lore. In fact it cleverly makes light of Cap’s hokey comic book origins in a brilliantly self aware bit of movie making. Captain America will be and already is a great success, coming in at number 1 in its opening weekend. This is because in addition to being an action extravaganza, it’s very well written and character focused. I had my doubts when I heard Chris Evans was cast in the title role, but he is the perfect Captain America or more precisely he is the perfect Steve Rogers, the incredibly frail kid from Brooklyn who goes on to become a super soldier.
The first half of the movie focuses on Steve Rogers’ attempts to volunteer for the U.S. Army in order to do his part to combat the Nazis during World War 2. Steve Rogers is physically unfit for service, but goes from city to city trying to sneak through the army screening process. Even though Steve Rogers is obviously patriotic, his heroic appeal runs much deeper than that. He is the eternal underdog and he naturally understands that it takes more than might to make right. His moral strength is what enables him to stand above dozens of physically stronger men and leads him to be chosen for the Super Soldier program that turns him into Captain America. The writers took an incredibly hokey origin story for the prototypical square jawed action hero and humanized Captain America to the point where Steve Rogers’ alter ego takes a back seat to Steve Rogers himself.
As ever, every great hero needs a great villain, and Captain America’s nemesis is Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull. Played by Hugo Weaving, who has proven himself an amazing actor even with a mask that completely obscures his face (V for Vendetta). The Red Skull is not misunderstood. He is simply evil. If you have been paying attention to the last few films involving Avengers characters, keep a keen eye out for references to the other films in this series.
Captain America: The First Avenger is every bit as good as Thor. It takes a character who I did not think would translate well to the big screen and makes the transition flawlessly. Great action, a great hero and a sinister villain. Captain America will be enlisting for a second tour of duty in next year’s Avengers.
FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.
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