Action Movie Fanatix Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

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Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Samuel L. Jackson, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough

Director: Joe Johnston

2011  |  124 Minutes  |  PG-13

“I knocked out Adolf Hitler over 200 times.” – Captain America

I was recently inspired to revisit Captain America: The First Avenger after reading Longbox Graveyard’s Top Ten Captain America Villains.  I’ve always loved Cap and have been continually disappointed with how weak he has been in many of his video game versions.  At least they are getting it right in the movies.

In 1942, a skinny, asthmatic Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is determined to join the U.S. Army to go fight some Nazis.  Rogers undergoes a government experiment giving him superhuman abilities turning him into Captain America.  Captain America takes the fight to the Nazis, their top secret Hydra research division and the head of Hydra Johann Schmidt, a.k.a. the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).

I don’t know how they made skinny Steve Rogers but it looked dang good.  I could have done without the anti-bully campaign at the beginning.  We get it, bullying sucks.  Bullies, knock it off.  Leave the skinny, weeny kids alone.  Now lets get on with the movie.

Chris Evans pulls off the squeaky clean Captain America / Steve Rogers image.  And he’s built like a Sherman Tank here.  As perfect as Robert Downey Jr. is for Tony Stark, Chris Evans is equally suited for Steve Rogers.

The Red Skull makeup is awesome and Hugo Weaving is perfect for the part.  Hopefully he comes back for a future installment.  Luckily it would be less recognizable if they did have to replace him though.

I wonder if Baron Zemo could be coming in a future Cap movie.  After watching this again I would think that Zemo could have a similar costume design to the Hydra uniforms which would make sense given his history.  The movie Hydra black leather is probably better than his usual purple/pink with white shoulder fur.  Hail Hydra!

I found myself marveling (pun intended) at all the little things – the little Hydra pins and hood ornaments, the slightly altered Stark Industries logo (since it is almost 70 years prior to the current version).

Not so little was the recreating of WWII era USA and Europe.  It has been done plenty of times before and will be done plenty of times after but color me impressed that a comic book movie went to this much trouble to get it right.

The big area I found myself being disappointed the first time I watched Captain America: The First Avenger was in the action.  The choice to use montages to cover what I thought could have been some of the most exciting pure action scenes.  On repeat viewings I am less disappointed but I still think this section of film could have been handled better.  I would have preferred these less CG heavy scenes get a little more time.

Now, what they got very right about the action was Cap’s fighting style.  It is a cross between military fighting, boxing, wrestling and football tackles mixed with his shield throwing.  It was perfect.  It just fit the Captain America character so perfectly.

Captain America: The First Avenger is not my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.  It isn’t bad but I was a bit disappointed seeing as how he is my favorite Avenger.

3 thoughts on “Action Movie Fanatix Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

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