For some time now, we have been seeing a good number of larger-than-life movies based on comic superheroes. On one hand the audience’s obsession with such superheroes is undeniable and on the other hand the message that these movies deliver that of keeping up the spirits high and shaping the present World into a better one is unquestionable. Released on 22nd July 2011, the Captain America: The First Avenger is another such movie belonging to this genre.
This particular movie is the last in the series of superhero movies by Marvel but it distances itself from its predecessors such as the Batman, the Superman and the Spiderman. In a summer that has seen loads the at the turn of every week – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II and Green Lantern – what decides the fate of Captain America: The First Avenger?Is it the World War II setting or is it the popularity of Captain America as a dominant American idol.Plot – The story is not something that we have not heard before. Steve Rogers played by Chris Evans is a weakling, asthmatic and skinny, and yet with a patriotic heart that roars like a lion when time comes.
The agenda is to fight Hitler but Steve’s frailty is sure not to accompany him in this war. Soon, Steve happens to know Dr. Abraham Erskine played by Stanley Tucci who has the project of creating genetically superior super soldiers in hand. In collaboration with Howard Stark played by Dominic Cooper, Dr. Abraham Erskine succeeds in changing the skinny Steve into a perfect human. As Captain America, Steve yearns to devise his newly found power against the enemies.
For this he cohorts with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) – an agent of the Allied Forces. In this, Steve is helped by his friend Bucky Barnes played by Sebastian Stan. The trio has one thing in mind i.e. to combat evil. The enemies at the same time had been seeking the help of Science to fulfill their ambitions. One brilliant example how the enemies harnessed the power of science is the Hydra – an advanced Nazi weaponry division – under the leadership of Johann Schmidt played by Hugo Weaving. The discovery of an ancient artifact belonging to the mythological era by Schmidt drives him to set Captain America on the most significant mission – one that unknowingly heralds a new age of Marvels.
The movie is amazingly authentic in respect of its historical setting and the fantasy comic elements are in tandem with the historic past. One beautiful example is that all the three – the magical artifact, the Hydra and the Allied Forces are tied to the Marvel universe. Also, the film does pay homage to cult movies of the past such as the Star Wars.
The movie suddenly breathes a fresh air of enthusiasm and interest in the audience with its splendid action sequences. Director Joe Johnston’s action is competent unlike in many action movies in the current scenario like we can actually perceive every punch and feel the force of it. Yet it is far from the jaw-dropping excitement that a Michael Bay action sequence would have provided.
Crew Of Captain America: The First Avenger
Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have done justice to the entire transformation of Steve Rogers into an American icon. It is the innate goodness of Captain America rather than superhero characteristics that has made him what he is. Portraying Captain America as unabashedly patriotic is quite against the flow of portraying superheroes as dark and gritty and both the screenwriters have handled this challenge well enough. Captain America is patriotic but he is not cynic nor does he preach about it.
Cast Of Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger is perhaps the first of many Marvel movies to have such well-known cast. None of the actors have been overshadowed and each has his/her time and role to enrich the movie. Chris Evans has done justice to the iconic Captain America, ironically enough more justice to the frail counterpart Steve Rogers. He is absolutely adorable while doing the action scenes but is more resonating in the emotional scenes.
Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull is someone fans are going to remember for ages to come. He has brought so much gravity and menace into the character that he does not look a cartoon piece even when painted all red. Hayley Atwell too has portrayed the exact Agent Carter – modern, independent and yet feminine. Besides the dry humor of Tommy Lee Jones breathed a new life into the character of the Colonel which might have lying understated in the comic book. Other noteworthy names are Stanley Tucci and newcomers Dominic Cooper and Sebastian Stan who have done a wonderful job so that audience generates interest in them apart from Captain America.
If a historic and very significant setting, amazing performances and an engaging storyline do not make a movie “Excellent” then there must be a serious loophole – something that the audience had expected from the trailers but did not find in the theatre. Although director Joe Johnston presents us a thing complete in character sketch, action and tone, the movie cannot be called an excellent one.
‘Pretty good’ or ‘very good’ were the common exclaims of the audience outside the theatre. What could possibly have been the reason behind this? The lack of blockbuster action scenes can be seen in captain’s feats while the War is on and the lack of need for speed in the final battle where Captain confronts the Red Skull. Perhaps it has been deliberately done, may be to make a sequel as the agenda is bigger – tell a big story.
For whom is it Meant
All in all, Captain America: The First Avenger is a good watch for those who love superheroes and war movies and of course all the Americans because this Cap will not let down what you had been hailing as an icon so long. It is a must for kids for its plain action without any gross elements, good humor and an iconic hero from whom they can learn to be strong spirited, moralistic and yes, patriotic.