This Friday, Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios bring you the last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before next year’s mega team-up that is The Avengers. Read my full review of Captain America: The First Avenger after the break.
For those not familiar with the comic book series, Captain America is the story of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a frail young man who desperately wants to join the Army to help the United States win World War II. A scientist (Stanley Tucci) working for the government overhears Rogers and convinces him to be a test subject for his experiment. He has developed a serum that enhances the body in almost every way, effectively creating a super soldier. The experiment works perfectly, but Rogers is relegated to the propaganda machine until he proves his worth. He and a special group of soldiers, including best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) go after Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), an equally unique specimen who runs Hitler’s Hydra research program, but has ambitions of his own.
Joe Johnston directs, and while he has a spotty track record, I love 1991’s The Rocketeer. This film evokes many of the same emotions I felt back then. It’s fun, clever even, flashy, and doesn’t forget that it’s a superhero movie first and a war movie second. It’s not as campy as Thor or as convoluted as Iron Man 2.
In fact, the Avengers plot line that is forced down our throats in the previously mentioned Marvel films is actually dealt with perfectly in The First Avenger. The cosmic cube works as a classic macguffin that weaves in Thor’s storyline nicely while hinting at potential plot lines in the future. Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Iron Man Tony’s father, plays a pivotal role and gives some insights into Tony’s future relationship with his father and how they are surprisingly similar.
I really think this is a great cast. Everyone already mentioned does a great job, and Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as a grumpy Colonel that has to train, then command Rogers. Hayley Atwell as Rogers’ love interest may be the only weak link, but she manages. Captain America fans will definitely get a kick out of the Howling Commandos.
It’s hard to criticize a summer superhero too much, so all I can say is that I wish the plot was a bit more intelligent. It’s rather simple, but I think the action and comedy make up for it. I’m just happy we get to see Captain America being Captain America and some really cool action shots of the shield.
The final after-credits scene wasn’t included in our screening, so I can’t say anything to that unfortunately. Either way, I am definitely looking for forward to seeing The Avengers and having this Captain America as their leader.