I have always been amazed by Captain America. It is one of the only comic books to survive its purpose of rallying American pride during World War II. Most of those characters died out once the war ended. Captain America, however, found new purpose. I must say though, Cap suffered perhaps one of the worst indignities by Marvel’s inability to properly license their properties for film during the 80s and 90s. Going into this movie at least I knew it couldn’t be any worse than the 1990 version.
The Good – Despite all the leaks to the storyline, it was different than what I thought it would be. Several amazing actors had more screen time than I would have guessed, specifically Tommy Lee Jones playing gruff military leader Colonel Chester Phillips and Dominic Cooper depicting Tony Stark’s father, Howard. Even those with little screen time like the always impressive Stanely Tucci as Dr. Abraham Erskine, the biggest fan boy of all time Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury and Steve Rogers’s small army of Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita and of course Bucky Barnes all left you wanting more. And we haven’t even talked about the stars! Hugo Weaving was amazing as the Red Skull/Johann Schmidt. Hayley Atwell was great as the hard-nosed beauty Peggy Carter. And of course Chris Evans as Captain America. I think we can all agree we were skeptical about this from the beginning. I like him as an actor, specifically in Sunshine and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but he was already a part of a doomed Marvel movie franchise (not that it was his fault). Anywho, back to the present, he held his own as Steve Rogers! His acting stood out early on when he was skinny kid Rogers and his action chops came through as he evolved into the super soldier. No complaints here for any of the casting choices.
I was thoroughly impressed that the filmmakers decided to keep this film set during World War II, just like the original character. They also utilized several post production and filming techniques to give the film a nostalgic war time feel to it. With that in mind, they also utilized 3D to great effect. I’m not usually a fan of 3D, but in this case I felt it really paid off with the action sequences and the background layering effect. I must admit I am curious how this would look in 2D, but it definitely did not take away from the 3D viewing.
The ending of the film is fantastic. I won’t spoil anything, but the way they bring Steve Rogers into the present day, thus setting up the Avengers movie, is brilliant.
Bad – There’s really not much to say. If anything, I felt the story started a little slow and finally built to a nice pace once Captain America actually joined the war. But given that this is an origin story and the first time many people have been introduced to Steve Rogers, it can definitely be overlooked.
Overall I am more and more impressed with every Marvel Studios release. They came out of the gate with Iron Man and Incredible Hulk (yes I really liked the Edward Norton version) and continued with Thor and Captain America this summer. Obviously I can’t wait to see what they do with The Avengers!
I give Captain American: The First Avenger 4 out of 5 Nerd Skulls!
Please let us know what you thought of the film!
***The screening I watched did not have the typical Marvel Studios teaser at the end of the film.