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Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger: Iconic Super Hero on the Big Screen

  • Chris EvansHayley Atwell...
  • Action & AdventureScience Fiction
  • Joe Johnston
reviewed by
Omar Atef
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Captain America: The First Avenger: Iconic Super Hero on the Big Screen

It’s 1942,
and the US is knee-deep in World War II. Having endured countless rejections for
military duty, wiry-figured Steve Rogers (Evans) is given the chance of a
lifetime in the form of Super Soldiers; a top-secret military experiment.
Despite having the physique of a sickly 12-year-old girl, Rogers is picked out
by Dr Abraham Erskine (Tucci) for his free spirit and good-hearted
nature, even in the face of objections from Col. Phillips (Jones). The
successful experiment dawns the new age of the super-hero: Captain America
is born, and he must defeat Hitler’s head of weaponry; the very evil sounding
Red Skull (Weaving).

Now we know
what you might be thinking, because we were thinking the same: yet another
Marvel super-hero film adaptation. The conveyor belt has produced the good (the
X-Men, Spiderman and Blade franchises),
the bad (Elektra, Daredevil, Fantastic Four) and the
downright ugly (Hulk). So, although
every release is a guaranteed money-spinner, it seems that their quality is about as reliable
as their dependency on good logical science is.

Fortunately, Captain America:
The First Avenger
falls on the right side of average; but only just. The story
develops predictably; a likeable underdog is bestowed with powers beyond
his imagination and struggles to master them before going on to become the hero trapped
inside of us all. However, the brain likes familiarity, and this is as
good a version of the formula as any. The storytelling is fast-paced, full of
surprises and pretty darn entertaining.

The film can also boast a modest but perfectly cast collection of actors. Taking
on his second Marvel super-hero role (you may remember him as the human-torch
from Fantastic Four), Evans has the
whole package. Being this generation’s Captain America is a lot of pressure to
handle, but Evans carries said pressure with aplomb. British actress Atwell plays
the glamorous but stern Peggy Carter; an officer of the Strategic Scientific
Reserve and our hero’s love interest.

Veterans Jones and Tucci only really
function in supplementary roles, but are great as always. There is one letdown
though, and it’s a big one. Weaving, who of course found fame as Agent Smith in
the Matrix trilogy, is an intelligent character actor, but there’s little he
can do with the Red Skull. If Captain America is to be built up into the
ultimate super-hero, he must have the ultimate foe, and the Red Skull falls short of his billing; a poorly written character.

What stands
this out against other Marvel flicks is the setting. The nostalgia of a 1940s
America and war-torn Europe gives character to the
aesthetics. It also highlights how good the CGI effects are. From Roger’s
painfully thin body to the Nazi battle scenes; the effects are realistic and feed
into the whole narrative with ease.

A lot of
people have been waiting for Captain America: The First Avenger, and although
it’s far from jaw-dropping, they won’t be disappointed with this film. As with all the Marvel films, those who aren’t comic book fans might fail to appreciate the details
and nuances, but as a standalone action film, it isn’t half-bad.   

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Ironman, Thor, The Incredible Hulk

360 Tip

The subtitle The First Avenger refers to the Avengers; a team formed in the Marvel universe between Captain America, Ironman, Thor and the Hulk. An eponymous star-studded film is slated for release next year. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr will reprise their super-hero roles from the separate franchises, and will be joined by Scarlett Johansson, Gwenyth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, Mark Ruffalo and Stellan Skarsgård.

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