Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - 3.5/5

Marvel just keeps rolling 'em out, don't they? Two superhero movies in one year (the other being "Thor")? Although neither of them are the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has been building towards the highly anticipated "Avengers" film, the fairly high quality that "Captain America" and its horrible sub-title "The First Avenger" presents is still a bit surprising. A hero created as World War II propaganda for the US is ably visualized for the modern audience, creating a romping fun time that utilizes its cast and visual flair to the full benefit, even if the script is hit or miss. One that fans and those willing to suspend the logic unit for two hours are certain to enjoy.

Steve Rogers (Evans) was born not to fight. His frail physique and medical issues prevent him for fighting for his country as the Nazis roll over Europe. It never kills his spirit or his dire need to defend those who fight for freedom. This is what sparks a scientist (Tucci) to offer him the chance to do what he always wanted to. A serum that would give him superhuman strength, speed, and agility to be able to help out the Alliance. For every great hero though, there must be a balance and the rising Nazi section Hydra lead by the brilliant and vicious Red Skull (Weaving) must be stopped.

Although "Captain America" might not be the most waterproof of stories, the sheer fun that it portrays is infectious. The 1940s set pieces and art designs gives a new and very inspired setting for the now well worn superhero film and this is augmented by director Joe Johnston's rather well paced and visually arresting style that gives the film the same charm he brought to his highly underrated "Rocketeer". Although the film certainly lacks a bit of the focus needed to really see its larger scoped story through to the end (leaving far too many allies and plot holes - that I'm sure will be later filled in with "Avengers" and the eventual sequels like the rather anti-climactic final showdown with Captain America and Red Skull), its unique balance of heart, humor, action, and fantasy elements plays with the childish intrigue of the audience. 

The highlight of "Captain America" though, as with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the impressive casting choices. Chris Evans evokes that rough all-American young man with vigor and charm (almost making us forgive him for being in the awful "Fantastic Four" films...almost) and Hugo Weaving is the perfect casting choice for the infamous Red Skull - delivering thick German accents and sinister glares all over the place. The supporting cast is solidly built, but as with "Thor", their lacking screen time and character builds leaves a bit too much to be desired. Captain America's team is poorly developed and the rather quickly rushed love story for our lead seems to bloom from just the slightest bit of nurturing.

It's hard to deny the many little faults in "Captain America" with its unfocused delivery and poorly built supporting cast, but the sheer charm and visual prowess of watching a superhero fight Nazis (is there really any better villain to have?) certainly delights to no end. Fun for the whole family with its heart and fists. Not the best Marvel out there, but another solid addition.

Written By Matt Reifschneider


  1. Good review for a fun movie. Hugo Weaving was great as Red Skull!

  2. Hugo Weaving was a perfect cast! Don't know if they could have done better! Thanks!

  3. No reviews yet for the awful 1979 TV made captain america or the 1990 albert pyun cheesefest? - Jimmy S.