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Captain America: The First Avenger
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Cap Takes To The Screen

Author: Matthew Kresal from United States
5 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the surface, perhaps no member of The Avengers would seem more difficult to bring to a modern audience than Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Seen as perhaps something of an artifact of a time gone by, here was a character whose jump to the big screen had long been stuck in development hell. Despite a somewhat ironic title (the irony being that this would be the last of the origin films released before The Avengers), 2011 saw Cap make the leap successfully in Captain America: The First Avenger, bringing with him an interesting new angle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A large part of the success of the film might well be down to the choice of leading man. Chris Evans was an initially controversial choice to play the role, due in large part to his already having played another notable Marvel hero in the two Fantastic Four films some years previously. Yet like Daniel Craig's James Bond, once given the chance to see him in action the criticisms were largely silenced. Evans managed to successfully play not just the almost superhuman commando we've come to know and love but also the man Steve Rogers was before that: a puny, young guy from Brooklyn who seemed to embody the old saying about nice guys finishing last. Evans keeps that good guy aspect of the character in sight throughout the film from his interactions with his fellow characters to his reactions to events. Evans managed to take a potentially clichéd superhero from another time and make him into a genuinely likable character.

For that matter, the film all around has a strong cast. Hugo Weaving makes a fine nemesis in the form of Hydra leader Johann Schmidt, bringing a suitably sinister air to the character right from his very first scene in the film to the dramatic moment about midway through when he reveals the Red Skull persona (itself a triumph of prosthetic makeup). Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes is notable as well both for his chemistry with Evans' Rogers which makes their friendship believable even when their roles are reversed but for also firmly establishing an idea of the character in the mind of the audience (something even more important in light of where the character would eventually be developed in the future). Filling in more traditional roles with memorable performances are Toby Jones as Hydra scientist Arnim Zola, Tommy Lee Jones as the initially skeptical commander of the Strategic Scientific Reserve and Stanley Tucci as ex-pat German scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine who recruits Rogers.

Though the film's setting during the Second World War means that female characters are fairly few, the character from the film besides Rogers that perhaps stands out the most is Haley Atwell's Peggy Carter. While she does, as she did in the comics, become something of a love interest for Rogers, thankfully there's far more to the character than that. Atwell in interviews described the character as "She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels," and the action sequences in which Carter appears certainly rather prove that point. As a result, it's something that makes her now having her own TV series not the least bit surprising.

The film's production values are strong, especially given its Second World War setting. Through its combination of script, production design and costuming, the film successfully blends the technology and weapons of that conflict with aspects of the previously established Marvel universe (both comic and cinematic, the latter perhaps being more as a result of Joss Whedon's uncredited work on the script). In fact some of the seemingly more outlandish designs form the film such as the rocket like craft Schmidt uses at one point or the large flying wing plane where the film's climactic confrontation takes place are in fact based on real life plans drawn up by the Germans during the war (the Triebflügeljäger fighter plane and the Horten H.XVIII respectively). Director Joe Johnston, whose previous films include period set works such as the cult film The Rocketeer and October Sky, was a perfect choice to direct the film which combines period setting and characters with action sequences (indeed The Rocketeer arguably bares some similarities to the film itself). The icing on the cake might well be the score from Alan Silvestri which manages to be exciting and yet timeless at the same time. The results make the film as strong as it is.

Despite the film really being done to establish the Captain's origin story, The First Avenger is book-ended by two very important scenes in the present day. The first of which reveal the discovery of a mysterious object between Arctic ice (revealed late in the film to the Hydra flying wing) that sets up the journey the viewer is about to go on while the latter presents us with a sequence where Rogers finds himself in the present day which, as well as giving us the seemingly pre-requisite appearance by Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury, also firmly establishes that other iconic aspect of the character: that he is a man out of time. With that complete, the stage was set for The Avengers and the rest, as they say, was history.

First Avenger on its own though holds up quite well. Of the phase one Marvel films it's one of the most successful in bringing its characters back-story to life while also presenting a genuinely enjoyable film in the process. The result is a strong, period based action film and one of the best Marvel films to date.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The original American hero.

Author: Andrew Miller from United States
24 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Growing up, I was never into Captain America, nor did I ever read the comics, so when I sat down to watch this film, I had no clue how it was going to turn out. Was it going to be a great action film or a schlocky mess? While Captain America didn't blow my mind like Iron Man or Thor did, I still found it to be a very entertaining and engaging movie, from it's 1940's theme to it's great acting and fantastic action scenes.

The film starts off in the frozen Arctic where a Russian oil team discovers something strange buried in the ice. They call up the Americans who slice through the ice and find a large aircraft under the snow and uncover a round read, white, and blue shield with a star upon it. The scene then cuts to a Norwegian village in March of 1942 where Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull seizes a mysterious item known as the Tesseract which boasts limitless power and once one lays their eyes on it, they are never the same. Meanwhile, over in America, the U.S. army deems Steve Rogers unfit for military service due to innumerable health problems, but Rogers doesn't give up and soon gets picked as a test subject for a "super solider" experiment, and hits it off with agent Peggy Carter.

Joe Johnson is the king of making pure entertainment movies and he definitely does a great job with this film by making it not a heavy, dark superhero film, but rather, a fun call back to films like Indiana Jones.

As with the other Marvel movies that I've seen so far, the cast is perfect. Chris Evans plays a great Captain America, bringing a lot of sincerity and heart to this character and he does it perfectly. During the first half of the film, Johnson slowly builds momentum to allow us time to get to know Rogers as a courageous little guy who suffers from the fury of bullies. This pitiful weakling through never lets anyone knock him down, and it's enjoyable to watch because Evans makes it look so genuine even with the computer effects. Hugo Weaving always plays a great villain and here, he is fantastic as the dark and menacing Red Skull. Tommy Lee Jones puts out a pretty convincing performance as Captain America's supervisor and even has a few humorous lines in the film. Haley Atwell is attractive, aggressive and just pain beautiful as Peggy Carter. Stanly Tucci plays Dr. Erskine perfectly well and Dominic Cooper does a solid job playing Howard Stark. Even Sam Jackson makes a small cameo at the end of the movie.

The action in this film is fantastic with a lot of slow-motion shots being used to great effect during the battle scenes. Some stand-out action scenes for me being the car chase, Rogers rescuing the prisoners, and the final showdown between Cap and Red Skull. The visual effects look pretty good and really work well when it comes to the action scenes, the music by Alan Silvestri hits all the right notes and works really well in the movie, and the chemistry between Rogers and Carter just trickles off the screen and makes for Marvel's first real romance and the end credits scene sets up The Avengers very well.

All and all, I would say Captain America: The First Avenger is definitely a great action thrill ride with a lot of heart thrown in and should be watched by any superhero film fan. Go check it out if you haven't seen it already.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A near perfect soldier.

Author: drawlife from United States
5 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This, in my opinion is my personal favorite Marvel Phase 1 solo film. I'm aware the first Iron Man(2008) is considered to be the best, but this one did it for me.

Joe Johnston is no stranger to period pieces, like The Rocketeer and October Sky, and in the case of Captain America, Johnston delivers everything promised in the trailers. Johnston is able to capture that patriotic spirit that permeated the US during WWII. The film has an authentic feel to it and combines elements from films like Indiana Jones mixed in with Saving Private Ryan and a touch of 007. The set pieces are fantastic, due to the fact that this film was shot entirely at London. The film crew did a very good job disguising it as the 1940's New York City. Aside from October Sky this is Johnston's second best effort.

The film starts out very strong. The beginning to the middle is solid. Here we get a story of an underdog, very skinny, small, and sickly Steve Rogers trying to do whats right. From then on Steve is chosen from the super soldier program to become the world's first super soldier, aiding the United States war effort in WWII. Eventually the film looses steam in the second act, and goes a little crazy with montages. The musical montage in particular is great and clever, but then the other two montages just try to shoehorn most of the story and the conflict and it gets very generic.

The supporting cast overall was excellent as Tommy Lee Jones (Colonel Chester Phillips) and Stanley Tucci (Dr. Erksine) steal every scene they're in. Tucci in particular has a very enlightening speech on why he chose Steve Rogers and give him a pep talk to remain humble. Hugo Weaving has a natural talent playing villains, and he knocks one out of the park as the Red Skull.

However, the heart and soul in this movie rests on Chris Evans playing the titular hero. Evans during the hype train got a lot of hate, but I was actually one of the few who supported this casting, and man he does not disappoint. He gives the story right amount of everything it needs in every scene, and he only gets better, especially in the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Haley Atwell plays a believable and lovable ally/love interest. She's not a damsel in distress which is great and the chemistry between Atwell and Evans gives Marvel's most solid and satisfying romance on screen to date, I would say even better than Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. I found the ending of this film to be quite moving. A lot more moving than I thought it would be.

The weak spots in this film were, as I stated above the rushed montage, Johnston's very calculated and sometimes soulless action sequences that just feel bland, and the Red Skull's lack of development. Hugo Weaving gives a good performance, but his character spends most of his time building his plane and reminding us that he's evil, rather than emerging as a worthwhile threat. This film does have a lot of characters, so it also comes within the territory that Cap's team The Howling Commandos don't have too much to do. One could argue that Sebastian Stan's role as Bucky, Cap's friend and sidekick was trivialized, but he got his due in the sequel.

I admire this film, I like how it does send a decent message without being too preachy about it in the beginning. I liked the set pieces, I liked the cast. It's very old fashioned, as it should be and it will pleasantly kill off two hours of your time. Good music in it too by Alan Silvestri. Evans is great in the role and has a lot of charisma.


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Captain America is Good Old Fashioned Fun

Author: William Samuel from United States
6 December 2014

Good old fashioned fun; that's what Captain America promises, and that's what it delivers. With Bullets, explosions, and fisticuffs aplenty, instantly recognizable good and bad guys, and a big side of gung-ho patriotism, Captain America is a throwback to the morale-building war films of Hollywood's golden era, only with higher production values. Highbrow it ain't, or especially original, but it's not trying to be.

The story is a familiar one, but well worth telling again. Steve Rodgers (Chris Evens), an asthmatic ninety-pound weakling from Brooklyn is turned down every time he tries to enlist- until scientist Emile Erskine sees something in the young lad and enters him into a top secret project to develop the perfect soldier. And with an injection of super-soldier serum, Rodgers becomes the courageous, muscle-bound hero Captain America and plants his shield right in the face of Nazi Germany- after staring in a nationwide bond drive that is absolutely side-splitting in its cheesiness.

This movie isn't much on nuance or complexity. There are no stunning revelations, no moral wrangling, and only simply drawn characters. Cap and his buddies are brave, selfless, and believe in freedom and standing up for the little guy, while Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is a power-hungry megalomaniac who seeks to conquer not only the allies but Hitler and the Nazis as well. It might have been nice to see Rodgers developed a bit further, but I suppose the whole point is for him to be a simple, wholesome everyman, and Evens has no trouble conveying this with his natural energy and innate charm. Expect to see a lot more of this kid in the coming years.

Weaving is likewise perfect to play the Red Skull. He's had plenty of experience playing the bad guy, and I got a feeling that he was enjoying himself, even if he didn't find the role very challenging. A more interesting casting choice is the inclusion of Tommy Lee Jones. He might seem an odd pick for a superhero movie, especially considering his rather sedate performance as Two-Face in Batman Forever. But here he is perfect a Cap's no-nonsense, tough-as-nails commanding officer.

The action scenes are well staged and generally exciting; even if they do become a bit repetitive towards the middle, and it really is cool the kind of tricks Cap can pull with his shield. I also enjoyed the blend of war movie and sci-fi type elements. This is WWII fought with ray guns, rocket planes, and tanks as big as a house- although it is worth noting that the Skull's one man rocket-copter was an actual German design.

I will admit that some of the supporting characters are introduced too late for us to really get to know them. And the romance between Rodgers and Peggy Carter is so under-developed as too be perfunctory. There are also a fair number of clichés, from the talking villain to the always reliable self destruct sequence, but these play more as homage to the movies and serials of yesteryear than as evidence of a lack of ideas.

Despite some flaws, Captain America is still rousing entertainment. And while I understand that things can't always be black and white, it's still good every now and then to see a movie that lets us root unequivocally for the good guys and be proud that we're American. Captain America is that kind of movie, and it's great fun for all ages.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

a great film that sometimes doesn't get the credit it deserves

Author: alindsay-al from United Kingdom
19 October 2014

When talking about the first phase marvel films a lot of people see this film as the weakest I though am not one of these people because I think this film is great. This film is set in ww2 with Steve rogers wanting to fight for his country but being held back because of his size, until he is given the super soldier serum and given the chance to fight for his country. Now Chris Evans has history in comic book films as he was the human torch in the fantastic 4 films, now even though there aren't very good films I thought he did a really good job in them and boy he is even better here. The problem with captain America is that he is a boyscout a lot of the times in the comics and sometimes a joke, but in this film I thought Evans delivered the right amount of heart and action to the character to make even us who aren't American route for him. The supporting cast mostly did a great job too, Haley atwell plays agent Peggy carter and her chemistry with Evans is really good with it feeling so natural and realistic so she did a really good job. Also tommy lee Jones did a great job as the colonel with good comic relief that never went overboard because he kept it serious sometimes. Now I must say Hugo weaving was absolutely perfect as the red skull and he plays the character so well with him being truly evil and looking like he is having fun with the role. The one slight negative is Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes as I felt his character is underdeveloped so the audience don't really care about him. The story is alright with the way cap is treated being great and going different to what I expected. But the overall plot of the villain seemed weak and not enough to convince me That the story is great. The script is fantastic with the right amount of humour and drama to create a really organic feel to the film that should be applauded. The style us okay with captain America looking great and his costume is awesome, but the fact that there is laser beams and sci fi elements in this film really annoys me as it is so against what the film stands for and takes me out of it. Overall this is a great film that will entertain everybody.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyed the war story aspect, big budget and (sigh) the ending

Author: juneebuggy from Canada
24 September 2014

This was a decent movie, better than I was expecting since I'm not really a fan of the comic book superhero adaptions. I was intrigued by the WW2 storyline though and for the most part this is a war story which I liked. I also appreciated that they kept Capt. America's rah-rah patriotism down to a dull roar.

Inception stories are always interesting and this sees Chris Evans become the first Avenger (whatever that means) Its 1942 and scrawny wannabe soldier Steve Rogers has been deemed unfit for military service again. He volunteers for a top secret research project that transforms (bulks him up) into a superhero and sees him using his newfound abilities to fight the German forces and a villain known as Red Skull.

This is a big movie with a big movie budget so there's lots to enjoy in the form of cool gadgets, cars chases, fight scenes and big explosions. Chris Evans was decent as Capt. A, perfect for the role I guess. "Mr Smith" aka Hugo Weaving did a great job as Red Skull and there are a ton of other recognizable faces involved including a last minute cameo from Sam Jackson. As a whole the story was kinda immature (which I expected) but I am still thinking about the ending, just loved it. "You gunna be okay?" "Yeah, yeah, I just... I had a date." 9/17/14

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Captain America A True Hero

Author: metalmuse from Finland
5 June 2012

This film ranks right up there with the original release of Star Wars when I was a teenager decades ago and LOTR, which I saw on a big screen cinema. Captain America met my laptop (hardly a proper theatre), but it was awesome to watch from beginning to end. If you love action films with drama, supernatural mythology, and some nostalgia thrown into the mix, you will absolutely love this film! The characters are well-developed, the action sequences flow together very well, the plot is thick and exciting, the photography and special effects very good without being ridiculous, and the "real feel" of all the wartime memorabilia make this a work of art as well as a keep-on-the-edge-of-your-seat adventure. While it might be a tad scary for little kids, it is suitable for teenagers and great for adults. I haven't had this much fun watching a movie in years! 10 out of 10!!!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Best avengers movie yet!

Author: cthulu17 from United States
6 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So where to begin? At first I was a little apprehensive when I found out that they had cast Chris Evans for the role of Cap, since I've never seen him in anything all that serious and lets face it, Captain America is a pretty big deal. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by how things turned out.

In my opinion this may be the best Avengers movie yet. Blasphemy! I know! Thor didn't offer too much competition, but that really wasn't its fault since Thor has never had the most interesting plots anyway, unless you've got a real thing for Norse mythology or something. Please allow me to clarify though: Thor was not bad in any way really, it just wasn't great either and it just ended up somewhere in what I consider to be a respectable sort of middle area, being better than mediocre, but not as good as great. Anyhow, the Iron Man movies were good, but they didn't have one advantage Captain America uses to the fullest: a little thing called world war 2.

The other Avengers movies so far have had to struggle in some respects because they had to generate their in-film realities from scratch to a certain extent. In the case of Captain America, the cinematic reality has already been created many many times, I mean seriously, how many WWII movies do we have? And some of them were actually pretty good too. To it's favor, Captain America essentially has a very well made pre-rendered reality and atmosphere that's been built up from all the other WWII movies that have already been made. There is a wealth of cinematic information about how to make this type of period piece and it shows in the atmosphere of the film which feels both familiar and believable. There is one exception to this: I'm sure WWII history buffs that see this film will scoff at all the inaccuracies in this and every other WWII movie. But in my opinion, the reality of Captain America is very thorough and has plenty of depth.

One of the things I liked most about the movie was the casting. Not just the leads, and Chris Evans did pretty well, but maybe that's just because I was scared that he would perform terribly, but the supporting cast was one of the best I've seen in a while and in a superhero movie to boot! The character of Howard Stark is interesting and really helps to build the contiguous reality of the Avengers and I'm really happy for that, since continuity is going to be a big deal for the avengers going forwards. I must say Dominic Cooper was a solid choice for the role, but for some weird reason he reminds me of Leonardo DiCaprio. Hugo Weaving is a terrific choice as the red skull (I am not spoiling anything, if you didn't know, you're just willfully ignorant at this point) as he has proved himself to be an excellent villain before in some other film I just can't seem to recall...........

So anyhow, the basic breakdown is this: good atmosphere, believable acting, solid action, and actually pretty good plot. Initially I wasn't sure how they were going to tie it all in with the other Avengers threads, but now it all meshes rather nicely.

Important notes: The 3D is pretty good, so it's worth the extra $3 or so in my opinion and you DEFINITELY want to stay after the credits and I mean ALL the way after the credits. It seems like they might have done the same thing that they did with the Hulk where they put the teaser right at the end, but they have a little something extra after the credits and it is AMAZING! Won't say another word about it.

So go see it, it's great and check it out in 3D, they did a lot better than they did in Thor in my opinion and being in 3D was supposed to be a big part of the ad campaign for Thor, go figure.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surprised by how much I liked it.

Author: kdnor2011 from United States
26 January 2012

It seems Marvel saved the best for last, at least in my opinion. Captain America is my personal favorite of the five pre-Avengers movies. And I think the main reason for that is that I actually really liked the plot of this movie. The other four film's plots were fine, but this one really interested me. Maybe I just love people beating the crap out of Nazi's? Also, I really liked the characters, especially Steve Rogers. He seems kind of like me. Unlike Thor and Tony Stark, this guy isn't a douchbag half the time. He's very likable and you really root for him. And his love interest is good as well, she's a tough female lead in a the time of World War II. But my favorite was Phillips, he was just so stereotypical war colonel that it was funny. And the film has a very good sense of humor without going over the top with it. The villain was cool, and Hugo Weaving was perfect. The acting, special effects, action scenes, and production value, all done well, it looked like the 40s. And I like the way it tied into Thor and Iron Man.

So what didn't I like, well near the middle we have that misunderstanding between Rogers and Carter, that's cliché enough, but then it's like they just forget about it as soon as it starts. Also there are some parts where it slows down, and I mean really slows down to where I just turned away and browsed the internet. And a lot of Captain America's team is forgettable, I thought that was his brother, but Wikipedia said it was his friend? So yeah, if you disagree that's fine, but this is my personal favorite of the pre-Avengers movies. And I'm very happy that Captain America is supposed to be the main focus of the Avengers. Or was that just a rumor?

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Good!

Author: LinkGoku from United States
22 January 2012

I've never read any of Captain America's comics nor have been a fan of the character.

That being said I really enjoyed this movie.

Chris Evans did good as Captain America, and Hugo Weaving was a fantastic Red Skull. It was cool seeing Tommy Lee Jones, as well as being introduced to Howard Stark played by Dominic Cooper. Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones also are great in their roles.

Though this is kinda slow in the beginning, but it picks up well. The action wasn't anything We haven't already seen, but I love the feel of it, it really feels like its taking place in WWII.

The only thing I didn't like about it was the female love interest, because She was unneeded. However the actress is pretty good.

Joe Johnston, congrats! You made in My opinion, the best superhero movie of 2011! (closely followed by X-men First Class)

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