Director: Joe Johnston
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Sebastian Stan and Stanley Tucci
Plot: Eager to join the military, despite his less than masculine body, Steve Rogers (Evans) undergoes a radical new drug that turns him into the unstoppable, Captain America.
Out of all of the Marvel heroes, Captain America was always going to be Marvel’s biggest gamble. At least with the tricky character of Thor, we were always promised a spectacle of Norse Gods knocking the hell out of each other. Captain America, on the other hand, has the most ridiculous costume out of all of the heroes, has the most annoying ‘God Bless America’ personality and hasn’t really got too much of an interesting power (he is just that little bit better at everything else). Therefore, when I settled into this movie, my expectations were pretty low.
Although that probably helped, I still think that most of the film’s success comes from the ingenuity of Marvel. They take this character and successfully transform him into a war hero we can get behind and actually care about. It also works really well as a period piece rather than a superhero movie. The most exciting thing about Marvel is that they never make the same movie twice. Although, their films always feel like a Marvel movie, with the blockbuster action and comic book characters, they play around with the setting enough to make each film a different experience. Marvel wouldn’t have been able to survive as long as they have, unless they did this. While I am glad this is the only movie that we will spend in the time frame of World War Two, I am happy to spend this one time here, because it is such a unique experience. It helps that it feels just like we expect a Captain America movie to.
As ever the casting is spot-on. Chris Evans fits the bill really well, although the character of Captain America is a little too bland to really do much with. Evans works well with the little he is given however and makes us really believe in this patriotism that makes up the central core of his character. Sadly, the problem with the limited character means that the supporting cast is much more fun to spend time with. Hayley Atwell’s character is much more impressive than anyone would expect from a female in a period piece. She is just as feisty as her male counterparts and I am looking forward to some of the other things Marvel has planned for her character. Tommy Lee Jones is great as the tired commander, even if his performance is a little bit stereotypical Tommy Lee Jones. Stanley Tucci brings the oddball scientist role that we all know he has in the bag by now, but it never gets old. Best of all is the villain, Hugo Weaving, who goes full-on Bond villain and Nazi commander. He might be very broadly evil, but for the purposes of this film, it works really well. A little less impressive are some of the other soldiers in Captain America’s unit. It’s not their fault; just like with Thor, by the time we get to them, there is no time for character development. I am not too bothered about most of the unit, but Bucky could have had more to do, seeing as his return as the Winter Soldier might be less shocking, seeing as we failed to truly get to grips with the character.
My main complaint for this movie is the fact that it does come across as just another piece of the puzzle. While it is enjoyable and still stands as a lone film, there is a massive sense that Marvel are too busy focusing on the bigger picture to put too much effort into The First Avenger. This origin story is just getting through the exposition in time for Avengers Assemble. Out of all of the Marvel movies, this one feels more like a rushed job. Good, but perhaps the weakest of the Marvels yet. However, when the weakest is this good, it proves Marvel are doing a bloody good job.
Final Verdict: Marvel take one of the trickiest heroes and provides a gripping period piece. Well-acted, explosive and fun.