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A bit over due, but here’s my review of the latest Marvel Studio’s movie.
Captain America is the closing act for this years superhero movies. Did it close as well as it started with Thor?

I must say the movie absolutely delivered. Anyone who knows anything about Captain America will just about know how this story goes. A few thing updated or worked around a bit, but never in a negative way. A ‘period’ film with a superhero is full of dangers to be to campy. Luckily director Joe Johnston nails the era and gives us a totally convincing super soldier from the ’40′s.

My rating I would give this movie a 4 out of 5 star!

America just entered World War II. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), determined to get into  military duty, is being constantly rejected for due to various health and physical issues. Then he meets  dr. Erksine (Stanley Tucci) who recruits Rogers for a secret super soldier experiment, called Project Rebirth, under supervision of Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Steve, selected for his uncanny courage, wits and conscience, undergoes the experiment in which his weak physique and body changes to maximum human performance. Just after the experiment  successfully ends, Dr. Erksine’s assassinated by an agent from Nazi’s research department, HYDRA.
Head of HYDRA is Nazi officer Johann Schmidt aka the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). Schmidt constantly travels the world in search of occult and  mythological power sources or weapons to win the war for the fuhrer. His quest let him to Tønsberg, Norway. Here he finds steals a mysterious tesseract rumored to posses untold powers. At his base of operations Schmidt’s top scientist, Armin Zola successfully harness the energies of the tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola’s inventions and weapons.

When dr Erkzine died, the secret op Project Rebirth died with him. Now Rogers is left as a unique man who is being used by Senator Brandt to be a propaganda mascot called “Captain America”. While touring in Italy Rogers learns his old friend Bucky Barnes ( Sebastian Stan) is in trouble. Rogers mounts a solo rescue attempt with Peggy Carter and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) flying him behind enemy lines. Here Rogers learns about Schmidt’s true intentions. After a successful mission, Rogers earns his full recognition in the Army determent to stop Schimdt from not only taking over the third Reich, but the world as a whole.

Back story
Captain America  first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941), from Marvel Comics’ 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Captain America’s an intentionally patriotic creation who was often depicted fighting the Axis powers of World War II, he was Timely Comics’ most popular character during the wartime period. After the war ended, the character’s popularity waned and he disappeared by the 1950s. Captain America was reintroduced during the Silver Age of comics when he was revived in The Avengers #4 (March 1964) and became a member of the Avengers, burdened as a man out of his time, continuing in the team for years.
The movie’s an origin story, but the setup is fairly quick an jumps right into action. The movie’s really inspired by the old serials and feel like a good old adventure flick.

Cast and crew
As expected Joe Johnson gives us a real good setting of a wartime movie set in the 40′s like he did on the Rocketeer. The movie does not feel like a “comic book movie”, it got that good-old adventure vibe we recognize from Raider of the last Ark and Star Wars. Something I’ve been missing from Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy and where Lucas and Spielberg failed with Indiana Jones and the Cristal Skull, Johnson succeeds.
In these movies “over-the-top” can be done with subtleties and build-up. Johnson handles this balance perfectly.
The patriotism however, was ‘over-the-top’ just to often. The fanfare tunes when off just too much and too loud by any victory led by the Captain. And I found my eyes rolling every time I heard the annoying USO’s “Star Spangled Man”.

Up this time I’ve know Cris Evans only an actor playing secondary characters in comic book movies. Especially his portrayal of Johhny Storm for the Fantastic 4 movies. Despite he did some good work on the Fantastic 4 and The Losers, I was doubtfull he could carry a big budget movie on his own, especially as iconic character as Captain America.
From the very first scene we see him as Steve Rogers, Evans owns the character! As a weakling Rogers to his reluctant member of the USO to the leader that is Captain America. Evans plays his character constant from beginning to end, regardless what he’s wearing or in any situation.

Evans just is Captain America. I can’t think of anybody who could handle this character as well as Evans did.
The same goes to Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. But Weaving already earned his stripes I you can expect no less from such an actor. At times I thought his Austrian accent was to think and reminded me too often of Schwarzenegger. But that’s just a minor issue, Weaving portrayed the iconic villain brilliantly and got the change to really show what an evil bastard he is. from the first frame you see him, you know this guy’s a monster and has to be stopped. It’s a shame Evans and Weaving shared as little screen time together as they did. I believe their feud should had development more, like Marvel did between Thor and Loki.
Then we’ve got Hayley Atwell’s as Peggy Carter. Besides a stunning woman, she’s did a stellar performance. The highlight is the chemistry between her character and Evan’s Rogers. It real, it there! What makes her special she’s not just a love interest, she’s thankfully no damsel in distress. She’s tough and stands on her own. She’s beautiful and fun to watch. I really hope she’s be back in either the Avengers next year of in a sequel.
Sadly Sebastian Stan’s Bucky is another character who should have more screen time. His friendship with Rogers is established quickly, but the chemistry between Evans and Stan is noticeable. We only got got a glimpse of it, I would have loved to see more kick-ass action with those two, also just to see how bass-ass Bucky can be.
Stanley Tucci shines as Dr  Abraham Erskine, serving as a father figure to Steve and an all round likeable and smart character. However a small part, it’s one of the most important. He’s the glue of the movie. And he did an awesome job!
Tommy Lee Jones delivers as Col. Chester Phillips some cracking one liners but falls flat on his 2-dimensional performance. A somewhat larger part that Tucci, I expected more from Jones. Toby Jones really likes his role as Arnim Zola, the Red Skull’s right hand man/whipping boy. It shows in his performance. The cherry of this movie has to be Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark. He’s another great addition to this movie, with some really fun scenes which also serve to further build and develop the cinematic universe shared with previous Marvel movies Iron Man, Hulk and Thor.

The visual effect and stunt are awesome. While sometime a bit dodgy, it’s hard to find too much to complain about, with the special effect being amazing, with the HYDRA weapons looking particularly fantastic. While there may not be anything on offer to match the complexity of Iron Man’s suit or the breathtaking panoramas of Asgard, this is more than made up for with the quite frankly astonishing effects used to make Chris Evans look skinny. Convincing throughout, placing the actors head on the shrunken body works perfectly, and is completely flawless.
The art direction and designs are well developed and thought-through. As though futuristic designs were really imagined in the 40′s.

The USO scenes in particular are a blast, despite leaving me with the feeling they could have just skipped it altogether to focus on more important scenes. However, it’s a smart way of coming up with the “Captain America” moniker and simultaneously paying homage to the original 1940′s comic book. For the fans there’s another hunt for ‘easter eggs’. They are more subtle than any previous Marvel Studio’s movie. Watch carefully at the Stark Expo (revived in Iron Man 2), there a mannequin wearing the Original Human Torch costume.
Stark introduces the flying cars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Fury and SHIELD agents frequently use in the comics.
The “Gods” referenced throughout the film were the Asgardians from Thor.
Arnim Zola is first introduced as a giant distorted face on a screen.
Red Skulls deformed appearance is explained by his body’s rejection of the serum because he was not worthy. It also drives him even madder. This is exactly what happens to Blonsky/Abomination in The Incredible Hulk.
Stan Lee cameo-ed as a military officer.
A little foreshadowing for The Winter Soldier as Bucky saves Steves life using his sniper rifle.
The weapons used by Hydra have the same sound effect as Iron Man’s repulsors. Considering Howard finds the tesserect, I am convinced that he spent time studying the power of the Cube but didn’t have the tech to exploit it. So he films a message for his young son Tony to discover when he is older so Tony can figure out how to properly harness the energy (as seen in Iron Man 2).
When the Tesseract reveals its true powers to Red Skull (before consuming him) the heavens are shown much like in Thor.
Nick Fury appears .
Other references to other movies: Red Skull mentions that “the Fuhrer is too busy digging for trinkets in the desert”. A direct reference to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (which Johnston worked on).
Red Skull’s death at the hands of the Tesseract was very similar to how the Lost Ark killed the Nazis in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Hugo Weaving gets killed by a cube in both Captain America and Transformers

Overall a enjoyable fun-to-watch movie with the same vibe as Raider of the Lost Ark. Don’t expect too developed story lines. The movie follows the book by being an entertaining popcorn blockbuster. The cast performance is excellent. Visual effects are mostly flawless. Especially with the skinny Rogers. The American patriotism is a bit too much and makes these scenes too painful campy. The USO scenes are deliberately campy, but really funny. However expandable, I’m glad Johnson put them in the movie.
To call the movie “the best CBM of the year” is a bit stretching it. Overall not as epic as Thor. And the movie just hovers below X-Men First Class, It’s definitely better than Iron Man 2 and Batman Begins. I think on equal foot as the Incredible Hulk, only more lighthearted.
Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present A Marvel Studios Production of A Film by Joe Johnson: “Captain America: The First Avenger,” starring Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones The film is directed by Joe Johnson. The screenplay is by Christopher Markus &Stephen McFeely with a story based by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. It is produced by Kevin Feige. The executive producers are Alan Fine, Nigel Gostelow, Stan Lee, Joe Johnston, David Maisel, Louis D’Esposito. Music is by Alan Silvestri.

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  1. Tony (url) 23 Apr 2013 om 22:55

    I just wanted to give you a correction an Easter egg you mentioned. The Human Torch was not a mannequin (he was an android) but that was THE Human Torch we see (the original one from the 40s that helps Cap fight the Ratzis). The fact Evans also played “the human torch” FF version is ironic and I am sure was intended as an inside joke.

    In fact, if we would have been allowed to stay at the expo the audience could have been shown the birth of the Human Torch. He was an android created by Professor Phineas T. Horton in his lab. At an unveiling, Horton’s creation burst into flames when exposed to oxygen. Public outcry led to the Torch being sealed in concrete, though he escaped due to a crack that let oxygen seep in.

    This is detailed very nicely in “Marvels” by Kurt Busiek, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a comic con.

  2. MarvelousRoland (url) 18 Jul 2013 om 21:14

    I didn’t get it from the movie if it was actually THE Human Torch. Yeah, it would be nice if there ever is going to be an Invaders movie, the origin of the Human Torch would start at the same Expo where Steve got enlisted.

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