To the Little Guys – Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

That mighty shield.  So before he was the leader of the Avengers and known as Captain America, he was just Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a pipsqueak who just wanted to serve his country.  Being that he is too frail to enlist, he volunteers to experiment with a super serum that makes him a more viable candidate.  Continuing down my Marvel rewatch journey, this was one that I was actually really excited to watch again.  I only saw it one time back in theaters, and it had the unfortunate luck of being the movie I saw as a double feature, paired with the incredible Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which ended up being my favorite movie of the year 2011).  To no fault of the movie, it ended up paling in comparison.  The first Captain America stands very well on its own, and I like it even better than the first time I watched it.

1He’s just very likable like Tony Stark, but good-natured instead of being a self-destructive alcoholic.

Taking a page from the Indiana Jones handbook, this is a movie that realizes how great Nazis are for pathos purposes as villains, and these aren’t even regular Nazis, they are specialized Nazis known as Hydra.  To back it up, the cast is just filled with very talented actors to anchor the story.  This movie was a turning point from a casting standpoint, because there are actors with clout and street cred, like Dominic Cooper, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones and Tommy Lee Jones, a number of which that have even been recognized by the Academy for their previous works, and it really just goes to show you how sturdy the foundation is to Marvel’s extensive universe.  I do feel like Chris Evans perfectly embodies Captain America; he’s like a big boy scout, sort of like how Superman is for DC, but being that he is not invulnerable, there is more tension.  Also, the CG effect to make him look tiny for the beginning of the story is pretty incredible, and it is a similar effect to Benjamin Button back in 2008, which was also a flawless effect for the time.

2Sure, it is hard work to be burly superhero, but it also couldn’t be easy to be this wimpy.

Another thing that I really appreciate about this is how this story keeps to its roots.  The whole reason why this character was created was to rouse patriotism in the thick of World War II in borderline propaganda fashion, and that is featured prominently here as well, having Cap tour in Europe with dancers to simply encourage the troops.  Joe Johnston was a good choice of director for this period piece war movie, and it has aged well throughout the years, ranking in my top three of Marvel phase one movies.  It’s better than I remember, and I have adjusted my rating accordingly.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) ****

– Critic for Hire


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