Really, the guy who played the Human Torch / Johnny Storm in those awful Fantastic Four films is our Steve Rodgers / Captain America, really? As a fandom we tend to do that with certain actors or actresses cast in certain roles. Example Heath Ledger cast as The Joker or Ben Affleck cast as Batman (sorry Bale, he’s my favorite Batman) or now Robert Pattinson. We judge and question actors and actresses for certain roles way before we even know what the script is or have even seen the film itself. It’s kind of naive that we still do this to this day. I’m guilty of thinking that with this film until I saw a trailer and I knew immediately that this is my Captain America. There is maybe one other hero in this Marvel Cinematic Universe who has been my favorite and he or she will be revealed at a later time. At this point I’m already sounding like a broken record, Marvel strikes gold with their casting as Chris was born to play this role, he perfectly embodies not only Steve Rodgers but Captain America as well. Although he’s a fictional character, Chris plays cap in a way that has everyone idolize him.
In Norway, Johann Schmidt, head of Hydra the deep science division of Hitler’s army is on a mission to find a mystical artifact that has powers beyond comprehension. Schmidt finds this artifact in a church as his followers seize the town. While in New York, Steve Rodgers is waiting in a recruitment center for the second world war. He drops the newspaper he was reading, and we see the scrawny guy attempting to join the army for the 4th time. He gets denied yet again and decides to go to the movies. Steve bothered by a loud patron fails to shush him and in turn gets beat up in the alley outside. Steve’s best friend James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes shows up and saves Steve. Bucky then proceeds to let Steve know that he’s shipping out in the 107th division of the army and both go out for one last double date on the town. Bucky and Steve take the ladies to the Stark expo held in Queens. Steve notices a recruitment center and decides to give it another shot. While waiting on the results, Dr. Abraham Erskine walks in and finally gives Steve a shot to be a soldier in the army.
Steve (Chris Evans) gets assigned to the SSR (Strategic Science Reserve) where, of course he is the smallest guy there. He has been selected by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) to be a sort of guinea pig for a super soldier program. He gets chosen because he knows the value of true strength, more than what any other recruit knows on base. On his way to the procedure, Steve rides with Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) where Steve doesn’t have the faintest idea of how to talk to a woman while also pointing out every spot he’s been beaten up in. The procedure starts and nearly short circuits Brooklyn but, it works, Steve Rogers is now taller. Somehow a Hydra agent sneaks into the watching room and as a distraction to steal the formula detonates a bomb and kills Dr Abraham Erskine. Using his new body, Steve chases the agent only to have him bite his cyanide capsule and die before giving up Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). Steve gets promoted to “Captain America” which includes going all over the country to fund the war effort and also socking ole Adolf in the jaw.
Steve and his show wind up in Italy where he reunites with Peggy and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). Steve learns that his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) may be a prisoner of Hydra and pleads with Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) to go on a rescue mission. He gets denied but that doesn’t stop him, Steve aka Captain America rescues the 107th division while coming across Johann Schmidt and Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) for the first time. Schmidt advises Steve that he wasn’t the first to be experimented on by Dr. Erskine and proceeds to tear his fake face off to reveal himself as the Red Skull. Bucky and Steve escape and get back to base where Steve finally becomes part of the army. Captain Rogers and his team of Howling Commandos (Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, JJ Field, and Bruno Ricci) take the fight to Hydra, destroying all of their bases and backing the Red Skull into a corner. On a mission to capture Arnim Zola, Bucky gets shot out of the side of the train and falls to his death. Zola ultimately gets captured and cooperates with the allies and the allies devise a plan to attack the Red Skulls base in the mountains. All goes well for Cap and the allies, but Red Skull nearly manages to get away in the bomber plane until Steve catches up aided by Colonel Phillips and Peggy Carter. Cap and the Skull fight nearly destroying the plane with the power of the cosmic cube (tesseract) propelling the Red Skull into the unknown. With the plane being on auto pilot, Steve makes the tough choice to put crash the plane saving countless lives and postponing his and Peggy’s date.
The First Avenger truly feels out of the other phase one films connected to the larger universe. I feel like this film references so much more than its predecessors probably because it takes place well before the others. This film bridges those connections flawlessly as we finally get our first look at one of the 6 infinity stones. The Tesseract or the space stone is the one we see the most throughout the infinity saga and is the most sought after in the first phase of this blossoming Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Evans was the perfect choice to play the leading role of Captain America / Steve Rogers. The ultimate good a person can be and Chris nails it. I love the line of dialogue he says to Peggy that if he starts to run, they will never stop going after him, so he might as well stand and fight (completely paraphrasing). The seeds of who Steve rogers is as a person is planted the moment we first meet him at the recruitment center. He doesn’t like bullies and he values friendship and honor over most things and we see that develop over the course of not only the movie but his arc as a whole throughout the saga. Steve is the one that is worthy of every high standard he holds himself to and that’s why we root for him more in later films.
The rest of the cast acts incredibly well from Sebastian as the guardian and big brother to Steve before getting the serum. I love how the roles reverse and Steve becomes the guardian for Bucky. Their relationship is better than Stark and Rhodey (come at me) as they really are the only ones who have each other’s backs and have been through it all together. The dialogue after Steve rescues Bucky is subtle but its extremely effective as we learn more about their friendship. The humor in this film is spot on, its subtle humor while not overdoing it with the one liners. The delivery is what really makes the humor work. That’s the beauty of the humor, Steve isn’t trying to be funny with his jokes, they just land that way and I find myself laughing every time I watch this film. Another thing I love about this film is the score by Alan Silvestri. If you’re new to the MCU you better learn that name really quick. The score is fitting to that era and who Steve is as a symbol of hope for America.
I love all the Easter eggs thrown into the film, there are several and if you know the comics you’ll get them right away. This film has a ton of foreshadowing as well. The first Easter egg I notice right away is at the Stark Expo the suit enclosed in the glass case belongs to the very first Human Torch (Not Johnny Storm). This Human Torch is apart of a team called The Invaders which consists of Captain America and Namor the Sub Mariner. The second egg is the comics the kids are reading back in Brooklyn as that is actually the very first comic run of Captain America fighting Hitler and his 3rd Reich. The third I will write about is at the very end when Steve wakes up as a man out of time. They call a code 13 for Sharon Carter’s code name and I loved that attention to detail. All the foreshadowing is placed perfectly throughout hinting at Zola’s true form and at others potentially picking up the mantle of Captain America. Let’s not forget that Stan Lee cameo as a war general, I love trying to find him in all these movies and he has some of the best one liners written for a character. If I were to rate Captain America: The First Avenger id rate it a 4.3 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Captain America: The First Avenger and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Captain America: The First Avenger is directed by Joe Johnston is Rated PG-13 and has an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Captain America: The First Avenger was released on July 19th, 2011 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. Captain America: The First Avenger can be streamed on Disney Plus
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Captain America will return in The Avengers