It is March of 1942. The world is in the midst of World War II as Nazi Germany is taking over Europe. The United States finds an unlikely hero in Steve Rogers (Chris Evans); a sickly looking and unfit soldier with the patriotism of 3 men. Dr. Erksine (Stanley Tucci) enlists him in the top-secret Project Rebirth and everything changes. Through an experimental procedure the small Rogers is transformed into Captain America. Just in time too because Nazi scientist Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and the Nazi science division known as HYDRA plan on ruling the world.
Over the past few years Marvel Studios has established itself as a company that puts out quality movies. Captain America: The First Avenger is no exception. Obviously the biggest part of an action movie is, well, the action. Thankfully this movie pulls it off in spades. What I liked about Captain America was the lack of CGI during the action. That isn’t to say there’s none because there certainly is but it is generally kept to a minimum compared to an Iron Man or Thor. The action is also helped by the look of the film. During the war scenes the movie has a saturated look to it. This is a cool visual change in comparison to non-action/city scenes and the ending in particular.
Speaking of visuals I thought the movie showed the way the world was during war time quite well. In a cool bit they showed how the entertainment industry was around the time. They have a scene highlighting the movie serials and war bond efforts which I found really cool. It really helped show the nationalism at the time. Another thing Marvel Studios have done quite well in the past is casting. I mean I don’t see Iron Man being the success that it was without Robert Downey Jr. I am happy to report that the tradition continues in Captain America. The supporting cast is outstanding. Hugo Weaving and Stanley Tucci in particular shine as the Red Skull and Dr. Erksine. Tommy Lee Jones is also great in as the comedy relief. Going into the movie the only casting error I saw was Chris Evans in the lead. Steve Rogers should be less Ryan Reynolds and more Matt Damon. A firm, straight forward character with funny lines kept to a minimum. I can say that he does a fair but not great job. He does the serious stuff fairly well but there was a bit too jokiness from the character for my liking. But really, that’s less Evans and more the writer.
If there is a problem with Captain America it’s the title character himself. As seen in the comics it takes a good writer to make Captain America pop. Unfortunately the writer of the movie doesn’t fall into this category. It’s a fine script, don’t get me wrong. But the character comes off fairly bland compared to recent movie heroes like Iron Man or Batman. The story is very typical superhero fare, partially due to having to do with the movie being an origin tale. Luckily the charm from the actors can bring this movie above the Wolverine and Superman Returns level.
It’s almost a shame that Captain America: The First Avenger is coming out when it is. Because really, it’s a good movie. Lots of pulp-style action and a pretty good script. But in 2011, after movies like The Dark Knight, Watchmen, and Iron Man it just comes off as above average. Nevertheless, it’s definitely a movie to see. If for no other reason than the absolutely awesome trailer for The Avengers. What more could you possibly want?