During World War II, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) creates a formula to create a super soldier. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was the first person selected to receive the serum. Before the procedure can be used again, Erskine is killed by a member of Hydra, a Nazi research division led by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). Now the only super soldier, Rogers goes after Schmidt to eliminate him and the rest of Hydra.
Captain America: The First Avenger was the final stepping stone to the historical The Avengers. Each of the Phase One films have all been unique. What makes this film stand out is that it’s a period piece, something that none of the other films did or have done since. It takes place during World War II, separated from the Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. It’s not without it’s faults, but like the other movies of Phase One, Captain America: The First Avenger serves as a good introduction to Steve Rogers.
Right away, I want to say Hugo Weaving was the perfect choice to play Johann Schmidt. He can just play the perfect villain no matter the situation (he is arguably the best thing from the later Matrix movies). He is cold and heartless, or at least he is great at acting to be. I can see him being the sweetest person in real life.
At first, I wasn’t sure about Chris Evans as Captain America. I still envisioned him as the lighthearted, whimsical Johnny Storm. I wasn’t sure if he could pull of the more serious and patriotic Steve Rogers. Thankfully, my reservations were misplaced. Evans ends up doing great. The same can be said for Hayley Atwell. I wasn’t familiar with her before Captain America, but she simply killed it as Peggy Carter. She’s strong, independent and sassy, the perfect complement to Rogers (and Evans).
When dealing with a character like Captain America, where patriotism is a huge part of his character, it can creep into being obnoxious. This film does great with showing Steve Rogers’ personality without shoving that aspect down your throat. He is a good person and his country is important to him, but it’s not overbearing on the audience.
Alan Silvestri is one of my favorite composers, so it’s no surprise I really enjoyed the score. It may be my favorite of at least all the Phase One films (maybe even all of the MCU films). I immediately recognize it whenever it comes onto my Film Scores Pandora station. You can’t help but be filled with excitement and gusto whenever you hear it.
Captain America’s costume from the comics is as hokey as they come. I’m glad that the final outfit didn’t go that route. It still had the color palette but was actually practical. But there was a throwback to his comic book garb when he was touring the country trying to sell bonds, which was a nice touch.
The tiny Chris Evens in the beginning kind of freaked me out a little. The effect was well done but knowing how Evens looks normally, seeing him so disproportionate threw me off. After several viewings I have gotten used to it, but is still was weird at first.
My biggest issue with this film is the inconsistent pacing. Captain America: The First Avenger loves it’s montages. Normally montages aren’t a bad thing, but this movie doesn’t use them sparingly. There’s a montage and then a few scenes, then another montage, followed by some more scenes and another montage. I understand that it was almost a necessity to for time jumping, but it just seemed irregular.
Captain America: The First Avenger distanced itself from the previous Marvel films by it’s setting in World War II, giving it the sort of freedom to tell the story it needs to. Even with it’s spotty pacing, Marvel’s strong casting choices once again carries their movie further than it would have otherwise.
Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 1: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers.
Cast & Crew
Joe Johnston – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Alan Silvestri – Composer
Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Hayley Atwell – Peggy Carter
Sebastian Stan – James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes
Tommy Lee Jones – Colonel Chester Phillips
Hugo Weaving – Johann Schmidt / Red Skull
Dominic Cooper – Howard Stark
Richard Armitage – Heinz Kruger
Stanley Tucci – Dr. Abraham Erskine
Toby Jones – Dr. Arnim Zola
Neal McDonough – Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan
Derek Luke – Gabe Jones
Keneth Choi – Jim Morita
JJ Field – James Montgomery Falsworth
Bruno Ricci – Jacques Dernier
Lex Shrapnel – Gilmore Hodge
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury