The final piece of the Marvel universe puzzle that has been slowly drip fed to audiences since 2008 via small scenes in Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and earlier this year, Thor, is now coming together with this final movie featuring one of the most beloved and highly regarded characters of the Marvel comics universe, Captain America. All of this is in anticipation of one of the cinematic events of 2012, The Avengers.
Captain America is set in a 1940’s World War Two era where every able-bodied man is enlisting in the US army to join the war efforts against the Nazi war-machine that is rolling slowly across the globe. We begin the story by seeing a very small man who wants to do something for his country by serving in the US military but because of his size, he iss being turned away at every recruiting station.
It is only by a chance encounter with Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) that our small and frail looking hero, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). is accepted into a top-secret US military programm to create the perfect super solider to aid in the US war efforts. After proving he has all of the heart that it takes, Steve is given the experimental serum and becomes what the world comes to know him as – Captain America.
On the other side of the world, the Nazis have been looking into their own weapons to help them win the war, led by Johann Schmidt A.K.A The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and his H.Y.D.R.A. division. They are looking to use an ancient artifact known as the Cosmic Cube , once the jewel of Odin’s treasure room, and now harnessed by Schmidt as a new form of limitless energy that he intends to use to win the war
So begins a new hidden war as the Allies, led by a charge from Captain America, to take down H.Y.D.R.A before they can take over the world with this limitless power.
Before this movie had even shown the world a trailer the internet was abuzz with rumours of who the studios would cast to play this much-loved character of the Marvel universe. When the choice was made to pick Chris Evans I, along with most of the internet, sat and scratched my head since this really didn’t seem like a good choice.
Months rolled on and we began to see shots of the set, the costume and eventually a trailer. With each new piece of information, the movie began to look more exciting and seemed to be a worthy blockbuster movie.
The Director, Joe Johnston, manages to capture what really makes Captain America special in this movie; that it is the heart and courage that a person offers should be the measure of the man, not his physical appearance.
This is best executed within the first hour of the movie when a digitally altered Chris Evans is shown as a small and frail man who really wants to serve his country and do his duty like his friends. It is this never say die attitude that had me wanting to shout at the screen, “keeping going” and “kick his ass!”
The acting within this movie is of a good level and never feels forced with any of the dialogue that is given. This is shown more by the way that the humour is dropped into the scenes to avoid things feeling overly dramatic or perhaps a little out-of-place; A prime example of this being the interactions between Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and Captain America as Rogers and Stark via for the affections of Miss Carter.
If this film has a downfall, it is lies with some of the visual choices made within the movie. The main one being the design of the Red Skull’s mask (I refer to it as a mask, as it is not Hugo Weavings normal face, which is more scary and imposing with the Nazi uniform and Germanic accent). The face does not look normal with its bone structure looking very much imposed upon the face and being highly uncomfortable for the actor to wear.
At times, I would say the look goes just that little too far into the comic book world villain and you lose the sense of realistic doom that is being brought. (Not that the energy weapons being fired do much to add to this)
This is by far one of the best movies of the summer of 2011 and is on par with Iron Man as being one of the best movies to come from Marvel. The film is littered with material to make at least another two movies! A whole series of adventures of the Howling Commandos shortened into a montage sequence half way through the film. There is also a sequence in the movie which involves Bucky and could lead to the covering of the Winter Solider story arch (I think this mainly due to the Ed Brubaker involvement in this project).
The movie has enough for new entrants to this world and character to make them look forward to more of this in The Avengers, while the film contains dozens of acknowledgments to wider comic book fans (one being the numerous costumes that Captain America wears acknowledging his past iterations in the books).
This film is a good action movie on its own and, taking in view of the wider film context, really sets the scene for what’s is looking like a heck of a comic book show down next year – The Avengers vs. The Dark Knight Rises.