With Captain America: The First Avenger Marvel’s buildup to the Avengers and possibly one of the most ambitious movie projects ever comes to an end. After a rebooted Hulk movie, two Iron Man movies and most recently Thor all characters have been introduced to a wide audience and we will see them team up next year in what is now one of the most anticipated movies already together with DC’s The Dark Knight Rises. If your a movie studio and you want to put out a superhero movie, 2012 isn’t the wisest year to do so. But first things first as The First Avenger is the last pre-Avengers movie to be released by Marvel.
Like X-Men: First Class Captain America is a period piece. Unlike most of Marvels other movies this one takes place in the same time the original comics were set: World War 2. In this time a young and scrawny Steve Rogers wants to sign up for the army and fight Hitler’s forces in Europe. But he gets turned down due to his long list of bodily defects like Asthma. But there’s a defected former Nazi doctor who gives him the opportunity to enlist in the army and a way to become a super strong soldier. As brainwashed as Steve is he grabs this chance with both hands firmly and becomes the first super soldier for the United States. Because the good doctor apparently never took notes and dies due to an assassination Steve is, for now at least, the only one and gets to do what super soldiers are made to do: sell War Bonds in a variety show.
Of course eventually Cap does go to war to battle The Red Skull and his Hydra organization. A department of the Nazi’s in charge of creating new weapons, weapons fueled by the power of the Norwegian Gods. This is where Captain America becomes more interesting as it is clearly linked to the other movies like Thor which was about a Norwegian God.
One of the strongests point of Captain America was the fact that it doesn’t create an updated version. You can let a boy be bitten in the decade of your choosing but Captain America is such a product of his time it would just feel silly to put him in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. The movie creates the era convincingly and special effects create a realistic skinny Chris Evans. CGI- was used to make his body smaller and it almost never shows. Only the scene which is featured in the trailer where he’s in the car with Peggy Carter and it looks like they’re never on the same set; a minor annoyance.
Surprisingly Captain America is not as much filled with action as one would expect from a movie like this. This being an origin story takes the time to set up the character of Steve before he turns into the super soldier and even then his character isn’t thrown into the action. In an extended scene he’s used as a tool to sell War Bonds; a very fun scene where he wears a costume identical to the one he’s wearing in the comics. It’s jokes like this that give the geeks something worth their money.
The villain is played by Hugo Weaving who at this point has become an expert in playing villains. He was the anti-hero V in V for Vendetta but is mostly known for his character of Agent Smith in the Matrix Trilogy. He overacts through the whole movie and is never given a proper backstory, but then again few Nazi’s in these kinds of movies have.
The lack of action will probably put some people off but I liked this story. It was funny and the character of Steve Rogers was well developed. I liked this movie more than Thor earlier this year which felt kind of small scale as that Norwegian God never got quite further on earth than a small backlot pretending to be a desert town. Captain America goes on fighting Nazi’s in Europe. He could have just as well been an Inglourious Basterd. Now there’s a movie concept.