In anticipation for the release of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ we will be reviewing all of the Phase One films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Captain America: The First Avenger takes us to World War II, where Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) desperately wants to enlist so that he can serve his country. However, his weak physique, small stature, and health issues results in him being turned down. He finally gets his chance when he is selected by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) to undergo an experiment meant to create a new breed of super-soldiers. When the experiment becomes a success, Rogers decides to use his new powers to help take down an evil organization known as Hydra lead by Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).
Captain America: The First Avenger is directed by Joe Johnston and expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a historical setting. Surprisingly enough, this is probably the most stand-alone Marvel film since Iron Man. Other than a prologue and an epilogue tieing the film into The Avengers, the entire story takes place in a historical setting. Johnston expertly crafts an entertaining and engaging origin story for The First Avenger. The character of Steve Rogers is developed really well, allowing audiences to be invested in him. Since the film is an origin story and focuses on the character, it remains engaging throughout.
Marvel Studios continues their great casting choices with Chris Evans as Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Evans ends up being a perfect fit for the role, with an ability to authentically convey the good-hearted nature of Rogers to audiences. While viewers will see two versions of Rogers physically before and after he takes the super-soldier serum, Evans excels at depicting the same personality and characteristics. Hayley Atwell portrays one of the strongest female characters in the MCU in Peggy Carter. Atwell is so great in the role and expertly conveys the formidable strength of the character. Also being a love interest of Rogers, the chemistry between Evans and Atwell is undeniably strong. The film also underplays the romance, which will get audiences more invested in it.
Stanley Tucci is very entertaining as Dr. Erskine. He delivers a noteworthy performance and makes the character a memorable one. He also delivers some great laugh-out-loud moments. Tommy Lee Jones makes for a worthy addition to the cast. As a strict military colonel with a sarcastic sense of humour, the role seems like it was tailor-made for Jones. Hugo Weaving brings his experience of playing several villains to make Red Skull a formidable foe. Weaving is intimidating in the role. He does not overplay the character, and delivers a performance that carries just the right amount of terror. Sebastian Stan delivered a solid performance in the role of Bucky Barnes. Dominic Cooper does a bit of a Robert Downey Jr. imitation for his role as Tony Stark’s dad Howard Stark, but adds just enough of his own mannerisms to make the role his own. Finally, Alan Silvestri did a great job with the musical score of the film. It is a memorable one that perfectly captures the atmosphere of the period setting.
The film does not feature any memorable action sequences. The film uses quick montages of action shots to showcase Captain America’s powers. However, this is not enough and audiences do not really get a proper look at Captain America’s capabilities. With powers like super strength and speed, the film could have had some entertaining action sequences. The film also takes a very old-fashioned approach. Some viewers may find these to be a bit generic. Finally, the greenscreen in some scenes is noticeable and may take viewers out of the film.
In the end, Captain America: The First Avenger is an emotionally resonant and entertaining blockbuster. The characters are developed really well with strong performances all-around by the talented cast. Director Joe Johnston tells the origin story of Captain America in an engaging way, and uses the period setting to give a refreshing feel to the film. There is also an exciting post-credits teaser to The Avengers. Overall, the film is a great way to introduce moviegoing audiences to Captain America.