Captain America: The First Avenger
Directed by Joe Johnston
Starring Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, and Stanley Tucci.
Much like Green Lantern, Captain America is a superhero I’ve always had a soft spot for, and it all goes back to having the action figure when I was a kid. It was a very beloved action figure and my constant companion for a summer. When serious talk began of making a Captain America movie, I’d always hoped that it would be a rollicking World War II adventure, because superhero period pieces are something I’m fascinated with. And when Joe Johnston, director of one of the best superhero period pieces, The Rocketeer, was signed on to direct, I got excited. Would that excitement carry over into the film?
The year is 1942. Steve Rogers wants to do his part and join the Army and stand up to the bullies that are threatening the world, but he’s a literal 90-pound weakling. That, coupled with a variety of medical ailments, constantly has him turned down for enlistment. However, a scientist by the name of Dr. Erskine sees something in Rogers that makes him the perfect candidate for a top secret program. Rogers is soon put through a treatment that makes him the peak of physical perfection. However, before the process can be used to create more super soldiers, the whole operation is destroyed by Nazi spies. Now, Steve Rogers becomes Captain America, a top American agent fighting the Axis powers. But, Rogers soon encounters a threat more dangerous than the Nazis: HYDRA, a Nazi splinter group led by the villainous Red Skull. Can Captain America defeat the Red Skull and help bring an end to World War II?
What I Liked
This movie is just fun. It’s not a gritty reboot, it’s not a grim anti-hero, it’s not an ambitious villain…we’ve just got good guys stopping evildoers from conquering the world. It’s a nice, simple superhero tale. The special effects that turn Evans into a 90-pound weakling are amazing, and we really do get to feel for Rogers. Tommy Lee Jones is also pretty good as Captain America’s CO, Col. Phillips, who delivers some wry one liners at the concept of a “super-soldier.” And the ending is a tad heartbreaking.
What I Didn’t Like
Some of the supporting cast gets short shrift. Captain America’s platoon is comic’s legendary “Howling Commandos” and we really don’t get to know them. And it still does fall prey to some of the cliches of the superhero genre.
A fun, enjoyable, superhero romp. I liked it.