Captain America is one of my favorite superheroes. In my opinion, characters like The Hulk or Spider-man do not come close to the Captain. So, when Captain America: The First Avenger was announced, I was all over it. But, when researching previous attempts to bring America’s greatest hero to the silver screen, I found that each attempt ended up being cheap and cheesy. I kind of got worried.
The first attempt at a film was in 1944 and it ended up being just a piece of propaganda, as it should have been. We were still fighting the Nazis for God’s sake! Captain America would eventually get a cartoon show in 1969, and would have various movies made in the ‘70s and ‘90s. None would ever capture the essence, and nostalgia, of the character.
Duh, there were the comic books, too. I didn’t forget! Geez.
In this reboot, we follow the unlikely story of Steve Rogers, a short and scrawny Brooklyn boy played by the tall and buff Chris Evans. After failing numerous military medical exams, Rogers attempts to retry one more time. It is his persistence and good heart and not his stature that won him a chance to achieve his goal of becoming a U.S. soldier. Under the command of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), Rogers is put through his paces and comes up short every time. But, that is exactly what Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) was looking for. After the procedure was a success, Rogers is sent out with the USO and was used to sell war bonds. Eventually, he realizes his full potential and begins his heroic journey from ordinary man to superhero, culminating in a battle with his nemesis Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).
The film was exactly what you’d expect from a comic book movie. It was delightfully cheesy at times and full of action at others. But, it’s the feeling you get from watching it that I liked. I am a big fan of World War II artwork and other pieces of Americana, and this film has a lot of that. Here is a character whose first allegiance is not to a certain city or a particular organization, but rather to the United States as a whole. That is something that has been missing in films recently, especially comic book films. It is times like these when people need a hero we can all believe in and we can all relate to his struggles and trials. Well, maybe not the whole super-soldier and battling Red Skull part.
If you’re looking for a movie that is just a sit back and enjoy the ride film, this will be it. But, when you’re there, look at some of the other characters and actors besides Captain America and Chris Evans. Hayley Atwell is a bright star in this show. She is a newcomer to the silver screen, especially with such a prominent role, and she does not disappoint. I see a nice career for her. Others to watch would be Hugo Weaving who rarely disappoints when he steps into a character role. Tommy Lee Jones still delivers a good performance. Last but not least would be Chris Evans. He looked and acted the part, but I still couldn’t help but have the fact that he didn’t want the role in the back of my head. Maybe that killed a little bit of my respect for him, but I was still pleased with him.
Oh, keep an eye out for Neal McDonough as Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan. You can’t miss him. He’s the large guy with the bowler derby that is the envy of every British dandy and a mustache that could kill a yak. The scene where he is walking down a hallway and unloading a laser gun was nothing but pure gold! I massaged my beard in satisfaction after that one.
I give this movie a 7.5 out of 10.