Synopsis: “Captain America: The First Avenger” will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.)
Release Date: July 22, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Fantasy, Drama
Comic book fans have been waiting with bated breath for Captain America: the First Avenger, the newest of the Avengers “prequels.” With The Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man already on board, Cap was the only missing main member of the team. Luckily for Marvel Comics, Captain America doesn’t miss.
Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans, who may be the Marvel “It” boy, having donned the tights as Johnny Storm in both Fantastic Four movies) is a ninety pound weakling who wants nothing more than to join the army during World War II and go off and fight some Nazis with his buddy Bucky (Hot Tub Time Machine‘s Sebastian Stan). Unfortunately for him, he gets rejected every time he tries to enlist. He finally catches the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci from The Lovely Bones), an army doctor who wants Rogers to try out an experimental serum that will turn him into a “super soldier.” The experiment works, and Rogers becomes a media hero. The Army christens him “Captain America,” and uses him as a promotional tool to sell war bonds, until one of his USO shows takes him to Bucky’s unit’s camp and he discovers that his old friend has been captured by a group called HYDRA, a terrorist organization who manufactures weapons for Hitler and the Nazis. With the help of weapons developer Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper from The Devil’s Double) and British Agent Peggy Cooper (Hayley Atwell from The Dutchess), Rogers goes into enemy territory to rescue Bucky. While there, Rogers meets Johann Schmidt, also known as Red Skull (V for Vendetta star Hugo Weaving), who is Dr. Erskine’s first test subject, and has the same strength and speed as Rogers, but is so evil that he thinks Adolf Hitler is a wimp. Rogers, with the help of his Colonel, Chester Phillips (the iconic Tommy Lee Jones), puts together a team of soldiers whose mission is to stop Red Skull from using his advanced weaponry to destroy America and win the war.
Captain America is just what people expect from a summer movie. The production is slick, the script is well written and the actors deliver great performances. There is a bit of suspension of disbelief necessary on the audience’s part, as it is set during World War II yet the weaponry and vehicles are not only modern, but futuristic. However, it is a superhero movie, so realism is not a huge priority for the watcher. Director Joe Johnston (who brought us The Rocketeer and Jurassic Park III) has made a movie with plenty of action and lots of heart. The viewer can’t help but feel good at the end. Anyone who doesn’t cheer for Captain America is, well, Un-American.
Half of the credits of Captain America are dedicated to the visual effects. No fewer than five different special effect houses were used during production, and the attention to detail shows in the finished film. There are lots of cool laser-like effects with Red Skull’s techno-weaponry, and there is no shortage of stuff blowing up, but the most impressive effect may be the CGI used to make Chris Evans look skinny before Steve Rogers is given the super soldier serum. At the beginning of the film, Evans appears scrawny and thin, but once the serum is given to him, he bulks up into the stud that Evans really is. The effect is very realistic, and the illusion that Rogers bulked up in a matter of minutes is achieved.
On another note, the film is in 3-D, and it seems somewhat unnecessary. The filmmakers don’t really take full advantage of all that can be done with 3-D, and the result is a film that looks like it was put out in 3-D as an afterthought, instead of a film that was conceived as being in 3-D. Aside from the occasional shield that flies into the viewers face, the 3-D is mostly limited to simple depth-of-field shots, and those are just as effective in 2-D. But, in 2-D, the audience doesn’t have to wear silly glasses.
Once the back story of how Steve Rogers becomes Captain America is out of the way, the film is non-stop action. There are little breaks between stunts, like Rogers pausing for a kiss from Agent Cooper between a car chase and jumping onto a plane’s landing gear, but the thrills never let up for long, and the rhythm is kept fast so that the viewer never gets a chance to relax. Captain America zip-lines onto moving trains, chases villains on foot through heavy traffic and takes on an entire HYDRA base single-handedly. He saves the day, and he does it in a way that excites and entertains.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Joe Johnston
- Producer(s): CHristopher MarkusStephen McFeely
- Screenwriter(s): Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)Hugo Weaving (Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull)Natalie Dormer (Private Lorraine)
- Story: Stanley Tucci (Abraham Erskine)
- Cast: Tommy Lee Jones (Col. Chester Phillips)Richard Armitage (Heinz Kruger)Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark)Sebastian Stan (Janes “Bucky” Barnes)Toby Jones (Arnim Zola)Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan)Robert DalvaJeffrey FordShelly Johnson
- Editor(s): Rick Heinrichs
- Cinematographer: Alan Silvestri
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA