Sunday, July 31, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Year: 2011
Director: Joe Johnston
Cast: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci

Plot: This is the origin story of Steve Rogers, a frail young man who is deemed unfit to join the military during WW2, but gets his chance when he is chosen to participate in a top secret project that turns him into the super soldier known as Captain America.

Review: After two Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk and Thor, this film is the last piece of the puzzle before The Avengers assemble on screen next summer. That being said, Captain America has the biggest burden of being a success story, especially if Marvel wants The Avengers to work. And thankfully, it delivers.

I am happy to report that Captain America isn't just a filler film so that we'll know who Chris Evans is playing once The Avengers rolls in. No, this is one very entertaining and fun-filled movie, from beginning to end.

Director Joe Johnston, who is inconsistent throughout his career, manages to deliver a well made film that covers almost everything there is to know about the Sentinel of Liberty, from his origins as a weakling with big dreams and a courage to match, to becoming a soldier that would readily risk his life to save as many of his comrades as he can. To that end, Johnston creates a WW2 era that is very authentic, from set design to costume and the overall feel of it. Even the soundtrack, led by a 40s type number The Star Spangled Man, is retro, and it doesn't feel out of place in our time. At the same time, there are developments in technology here which wouldn't make sense had this been a real story, but since it's a comicbook film, it really fits and there isn't anything on display that defies logic. You'd really feel that it was all plausible when you see it.

Chris Evans does a wonderful job as Steve Rogers. I had my doubts about him, because he's the same guy that became the irresponsible Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four films. But here, Evans shows a lot of maturity as the unlikely hero that steps up to become the man he was meant to be. I always knew Evans had potential, if you've seen him in Sunshine, you'll know what I mean. Hayley Atwell is also great as Peggy Carter, Rogers' love interest who holds her own in combat. Atwell is not only good looking, she looks like she was born in that era, making her a perfect fit. Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci provide some good and humorous support as Col. Phillips, Rogers' skeptical commander and Dr Erskine, creator of the super soldier program, respectively. Hugo Weaving plays Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull, Captain America's nemesis with evil glee, but his German accent isn't very convincing though.

There are also other interesting supporting characters like Dum Dum Dugan, Bucky Barnes (Cap's sidekick) and Dr Arnim Zola, but they do not get much screen time, which is a pity. I have a gut feeling though, that Bucky will reappear in the future, but that's just me.

I also particularly liked how the film begins and ends, the latter part being related to the aforementioned Avengers. It was well written and executed, just the way I hoped it would be. It's safe to say that Captain America is a perfect prelude to what is to come, and if you've been waiting for it, you shouldn't miss this. (4/5)

P.S.: Look out for the customary Stan Lee cameo, and wait till the credits end, you won't regret it.

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