Film Review: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Most all superhero movies aim at leaving the audience with anticipation of a sequel or some sort of reappearance of that hero. This is especially true for those made by Marvel Studios. One of next summer’s biggest motion picture events will be Marvel’s The Avengers, and it is what films such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America have been created to lead up to. The idea is that all the supers will join together to form one invincible team. Each of the above mentioned movies have concluded with plans for this one final major event. Yet Captain America is the first of all of these to seem to be just as concerned with carrying out the plot of this individual film as joining it with the other pictures.

Yes, it ends in obvious efforts to bring the Captain into the big picture, but with its closing line will come many interesting conversations among fellow viewers. It is a line that reveals the heart and inner desires of its hero beyond what Marvel has ever shown us before. With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, Marvel has made the best superhero flicks around and this is one of their best. The problem that many may run into while viewing it however, is that it can be strikingly absurd at times. But you can solve that problem before you even enter the theater. Just simply go into the movie acknowledging that, while Chris Evan’s head doesn’t appear right on that scrawny, little body, it is fiction, and the point of the skinniness is to display the character’s humble beginnings. Just let The First Avenger do its thing, and you can have plenty of fun.

Like the best of Marvel’s efforts, Captain America is not all action. Though you will experience some great gunfights and exciting chases, there is humor to be found in the words of most every character in the film. Those of Tommy Lee Jones’ Colonel Chester Phillips prove to be very memorable. And then there are several qualities resembling Raiders of the Lost Ark, most obviously the Captain’s leather jacket and the evils of a Nazi villain. Strong performances are given by Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith in The Matrix) as Red Skull and Hayley Atwell (Bess Foster in The Duchess) as the avenger’s love interest.

And now to answer the question you’ve all been dying to ask: Was Chris Evans a good choice for the title role? The answer will vary from viewer to viewer. Those dedicated to the image of the original Captain from the comic books might not be totally satisfied. Yet if you are among the crowd who has never read or seen anything involving Captain America until now (me), the image of this iconic character displayed here shouldn’t bother you one bit.

Rating: 4/5