The First Avenger
Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving
July 22, 2011
2 hours 4 minutes
In 2011 alone, four superhero films have been released, with three of them coming from Marvel. We started out the superhero summer with 'Thor,' which was enjoyable, but I didn't enjoy is as others did. Then came 'X-Men: First Class,' which is still one of my favorites of the year. Then DC decided to step into the spotlight with 'Green Lantern,' failing miserably at making a good movie. Now as the month of July is quickly coming to a close, most are "Potter"ed out from last week and are looking for the next big summer flick to see. This week's summer flick was born in America, rather in the U.K., and its name is 'Captain America: The First Avenger.'
The reason why this movie has "The First Avenger" in its title is because ol' Cappy was the start of S.H.I.E.L.D./the whole Avengers team. 'Iron Man' was the start of the Avengers franchise, and both of his movie were possibly the best superhero movies in the past decade. Then we got 'The Incredible Hulk,' which was also an outstanding movie. Although I enjoyed 'Thor,' I felt that it could've been much more. I was a bit worried about this movie, despite director Joe Johnston being the director of films like 'The Rocketteer' and 'October Sky,' and the lead actor Chris Evans being the best things in films like 'Fantastic Four' and 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.' Needless to say, 'Captain America' is a spectacular summer flick, and an awesome comic book movie. While I did like it much more than 'Thor,' it's not as sublime as 'X-Men: First Class.'
Steve Rogers is the ultimate patriot, with a bit of a disadvantage. Despite having the courage to defend his country from Nazis, Rogers has been declined from the U.S. Army due to his weak physical body. However Rogers is given the opportunity to be recruited by the army and become the first of many "Super Soldiers" that will help defeat Hitler. As it turns out, the real villain of the world is Johann Schmidt, better known as Red Skull, who wants to destroy the entire world, including Hitler and his German army. So Steve becomes the famous "Captain America," posing as a publicity toy by day and kicking serious German ass for the last hour of the movie.
I am not a huge Captain America fan, but I do respect him for being the king of the Marvel universe. This king can really kick some serious ass! Chris Evans, best known for playing the wise ass Johnny Storm in the 'Fantastic Four' series plays Cappy to perfection, as he shows patriotism, courage, and fear quite well. I actually think that the song 'Don't Stop Believin' by Journey was inspired by Captain America's courage and bravery. As good as Evans was as 'The First Avenger," the majority of the supporting cast was much better than their lead. The best character in the movie is the sarcastic and bossy Col. Chester Phillips played by the always awesome Tommy Lee Jones. If Jones' character from Men In Black was a sarcastic agent, then he might be the colonel in this movie. We also get Hugo Weaving as the cool baddie Red Skull, Hayley Atwell as the badass love interest Peggy Carter, and in a small role, Stanley Tucci as the creator of the Super Soldier serum, Dr. Abraham Erskine. All of the characters in this movie help make Captain America the best superhero film since 'X-Men: FIrst Class.'
Director Joe Johnston had a big task to complete, and that was to tie this movie in with every other Avenger related Marvel movie to come out. He does that very well, as we get our 'Iron Man' and 'Thor' references throughout. The biggest reference to the Avengers is the character of Howard Stark, Tony Stark's daddy. This character helps design the chamber where Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. Without him, there wouldn't be any Avengers. Red Skull possesses a magical cube that helps power his deadly machine. For those who stay after the credits of these movies or read their comic books would know that this cube, called the 'Cosmic Cube' is one of the most important aspects of The Avengers movie. These aren't spoilers as much as they are pointers to the Marvel universe references. Plus with every Marvel movie we get our Nick Fury appearance, which is always nicely played by the fantastic Samuel L. Jackson. Johnston knows how to hold the Marvel universe in his hand, and I hope Marvel will let him take on more superhero films soon.
(END OF SPOILERS)
If you were disappointed in films like 'Thor' and 'Green Lantern' earlier this summer, then you may want to get yourself to see 'The First Avenger.' This film in my opinion is what Sherlock Holmes was back in 2009. The week before Holmes came into the spotlight, James Cameron's Avatar had exploded onto the scene, destined to become the highest grossing film of all time. Last week the final Harry Potter film came out and also exploded onto the scene. This film is a great follow up to the fantastic movie weekend that was last week. This film isn't nearly as good as Potter, but it is still a worthwhile superhero film. I doubt that this will be ranked amongst superhero classics such as 'The Dark Knight,' 'Iron Man,' or 'Spider-Man 2,' but for what it is, it is a fun and sleek superhero film that is almost as good as 'X-Men: First Class.' If you are looking for another fun superhero film to see this year or are trying to get out of "Potter"mania, then you might want to get your time traveling instincts ready and travel to the era of Captain America, The First Avenger.
PREVIEWS YOU MAY SEE:
Cowboys & Aliens
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Adventures of Tintin
The Amazing Spider Man
The Avengers (After Credits)