Captain America: The First Avenger
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Captain America leads the fight for freedom in the action-packed blockbuster starring Chris Evans as the ultimate weapon against evil! When a terrifying force threatens everyone across the globe, the world’s greatest soldier wages war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix). Critics and audiences alike salute Captain America: The First Avenger as “pure excitement, pure action, and pure fun!” – Bryan Erdy CBS-TV
- Includes Digital Copy
- Deleted Scenes
- Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes
- Marvel One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer -- Go deeper inside the Marvel Universe and unveil secret plans to assemble the ultimate superhero team, the Avengers.
- And more!
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However, when I heard they'd cast Chris Evans, I was outraged. At that time in comics, the push was to turn all the good guys into smart-aleck-y jerks, and while I'd liked Evans in the Fantastic Four (his performance was really the only thing worth watching in either movie, tbh), he wasn't built like Cap and I was convinced Marvel was going to remake Cap into a swaggering Johnny Storm clone. (Mind you, it worked great for Johnny Storm, but Johnny Storm is NOT Cap.)
Now, years later, I can't think of anyone else who could ever fill Evans' shoes as Steve Rogers or as Captain America. He's THAT kind of iconic. Marvel's done incredibly well with its casting overall, particularly with RDJ as Tony Stark, but to me, Evans went one better, simply because Steve is SUCH a difficult character to get just right. Evans captures that blend of earnestness, dedication and heart perfectly and never goes over the edge of being a goody-two-shoes or holier than thou. He's Captain America, but what always shines through is that little guy from Brooklyn who never ran from a fight.
I was further gobsmacked when I got a chance to watch the extended version of the movie and saw some of the behind the scenes. It never occurred to me just HOW much I had bought into the transformation without questioning it until I saw the actual footage of full-size Evans doing all the skinny Steve action -- floundering on push-ups, staggering in the alley, the body language and his so-palpable frustration and guilt at not being able to go. Yes, the CGI is beyond noteworthy, but it was the acting beneath that sold it. All the CGI in the world wouldn't have sold skinny Steve if the acting hadn't matched it.
As if that weren't enough, Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter is absolutely luminous. In anyone else's hands, I think Peggy Carter would have been a typical love interest. Not with Atwell. Carter is one of the best depictions of a strong female I can think of in any action movie. She's not strong simply because she can punch people and she's a great shot. She's got courage to match Steve's, belief that won't break, and she never surrenders an inch of her femininity in doing so. I loved the One-Shot they did with her and was so glad they spun it off into her own series (and I'm still sorry they didn't go for season 3!) I was equally glad to see Dominic Cooper return there as Howard Stark - I love me some Howard.
There simply wasn't a character I didn't like in this, from Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes, to Toby Jones' perfect depiction of Doctor Zola, to Tommy Lee Jones' crusty Colonel Phillips, to Stanley Tucci's paternal Dr. Erskine. Even Senator Brandt's glad-handing and unscrupulousness in creating Captain America in the first place worked. If there was any weakness at all, it was *possibly* Hugo Weaving's Red Skull -- but admittedly, even in the comics, the Skull is usually a pretty over-the-top villain. One thing Weaving *did* capture well was the Skull's megalomania and jealousy that he, the genius, had been forced to take the guise of a monster while a nobody American from Brooklyn became the ubermensch ideal of Aryan perfection instead.
I know some people have complained because parts of it toward the end seem cheesy, but to me, it's a beautiful homage by Johnston to the war films of the 40s. I love the faint sepia tone, too, especially in contrast with the sharply colored and focused end.
And, I'll admit it: I cried twice during this movie, and I never, ever cry. Even as many times as I've now seen it, I still sniffle.
If I have any criticisms, it's that I wish they'd kept the deleted ending instead of the one they chose (Steve has some more to say and it's a masterwork of Nick Fury manipulating Steve in just a sentence or two) and I wish they'd made it clear that Steve had no option other than to do what he did. I've seen the novelization of this, and without giving away spoilers, the novelization both makes it clear that Schmidt jimmies the autopilot so the plane can *only* be diverted off course by someone of Steve's strength, and it has Steve explain this to Peggy as well. If you watch closely, you can see Schmidt breaking off a certain switch, but it's easy to miss. It's a bit annoying because I've seen countless people complain that Steve didn't look for options -- but in fact, there were no options other than the one he had, and people are too quick to forget that sacrifice is not only a part of war...it's pretty much what you'd expect out of a super soldier.
I would recommend getting the Blu-Ray or at least the extended version so you can see just how utterly amazing the transformation really is. I'm still sick this didn't get nominated for something. After all, when it's *so* good we don't question it -- that's when it's truly noteworthy.
Buy it, watch it, love it. You won't regret it.
Interestingly, I have bought the DVD version at least once (and I think even twice), but it always seemed to mysteriously disappear. So, I decided that the streaming version would be harder to misplace, LOL. Usually streaming versions are a bit less expensive than the DVD versions, but not in this case. (Oh well, at least I won't lose it like I did the other(s)).
I wish the subsequent Captain America movies lived up to this original version. However, I like this one enough to purchase it at least twice -- I had to have it in my video library!
What I liked about the movie:
The cast, both starring and supporting, were very impressive in this movie. I didn't know how to feel about Chris Evans as Captain America. I always thought he was a good actor for genre films, but didn't know if he could command attention as a superhero. Rest assured, he's great! In the first act, pre-serum injections, his acting ability really comes through. The audience will feel sympathy for the kid from Brooklyn who wants nothing more than to serve his country. Evans shows us that Steve Rogers was a good MAN, way before he was a good superhero. Nicely Done!
The supporting cast was very awesome! Hugo Weaving as the main villain, Red Skull, was great. Even the cheesy accent was ok with me. Weaving has the voice, arrogance and presence needed to play the villain. I enjoyed his work very much. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter was a delight on screen, not the usual damsel in distress. Tommy Lee Jones plays a perfect Colonel in the Military, he is compassionate enough for us to care about him, but stern enough to lead in a war. Stanley Tucci... is there anything Tucci can't do?! He's awesome as the Doctor who invents the serum for Steve Rogers. Sebastian Stan plays Bucky, Steve Rogers best friend, nicely done by the young actor.
The movie mostly takes place during World War II. The production design team does such an amazing job with the set pieces, the costumes, etc. What's also impressive is the lighting, and camera work. Shelly Johnson used just the right lighting that gave the movie an older feel without overdoing it. It was nice to see a superhero film that wasn't in modern day times.
The Story / Writing
Simple, easy to follow and exciting. Hugo Weaving's character believes in "magic" which was stolen from Odin's vault. It is the Cosmic Cube which has been referenced in the Marvel Universe of films. It has a great deal of power and, if harnessed correctly, could destroy every major city in the world. Captain America and company must stop Red Skull from doing so. The writing is clever and I never rolled my eyes at any horrible dialogue. The writers were clever and even made fun of the Captain America suit before we could as an audience. I love when writers acknowledge things like that without making it obvious!
What I liked and didn't like about the film:
Joe Johnston has done a lot of work in Hollywood. He made a great name for himself with popular films like Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Rocketeer, Jumanji, October Sky and Jurassic Park III. I think he's a good storyteller, but there are aspects of his films that just don't click. His movies always look great, he can always get a terrific cast to work with him, and the stories are usually pretty enticing. I will tell you this, this movie is MUCH better than the atrocious The Wolfman from a few years ago. Most of the things I enjoyed in the film are because of him. As are the things I didn't enjoy.
What I didn't like about the film:
It's too bad, this is an action film and the action is silly. There are multiple action scenes with hundreds of henchmen at war with our Military. Henchmen and soldiers alike are being killed so often, we don't feel any real loss. I've said it before and I'll say it again, action should only compliment the story, not take it over. The final action sequence was impressive though with many intricate camera shots. Didn't totally leave a sour taste in my mouth.
I feel I pay very close attention to film scores. I can tell you which ones work and which ones don't in my opinion. The average movie going public probably doesn't even care, but I do! It didn't evoke emotion, it didn't make me care and I never felt like I was pulled into 100%. The score should have been big, uplifting even. This is Captain America damn it! He's viewed as the leader of The Avengers and the score should have matched.
Liked it very much
I enjoyed the movie very much. I know I listed a few things I didn't like, but they weren't deal breakers. It was great to see a modern day superhero in the past. We grow with the character, figuratively and literally. Steve Rogers is a good man who just lacked the physical stature to do great things. He stood up for those who are bullied and did what was right. I can't wait for The Avengers next year, it will be another chance to see Captain America in action!
Chris Evans is fantastic as Steve Rogers. He just seems like he was MEANT TO play that part. Sebastian Stan as Bucky is wonderful as well. Love their friendship.
And Evans chemistry with Hayley Atwell is superb!