Captain America: The First Avenger. The final Marvel film leading up to the Avengers, Captain America has a lot riding on it. So far, the trend has been pretty solid. Iron Man and Thor were both generally loved, while Hulk and Iron Man 2 at least were enjoyable. So, could Captain America put the final touch on an amazing setup to next summer’s The Avengers?
Now, don’t get me wrong… The film has some major flaws which stop it from being amazing, but it’s a decent movie and has a lot of potential for further endeavors into the Captain’s world.
Here’s what worked. Chris Evans was fantastic. I’ve heard some concerns since he’s played superheroes before (Fantastic Four, Push) that he would be exactly the same. But he’s done a complete 180 and sells this character of Steve Rogers 100%. He is charming and naive but also loyal and courageous, truly embodying everything that Captain America stands for. Where Tony Stark (Iron Man) is usually out for his own good, Captain is consistently selfless.
The romance story in this movie also felt more meaningful than the Tony Stark/Pepper and Thor/Jane Foster romances. I believed this one, which makes the ending of the movie even more tragic for our lead character.
There were very few wasted actors, as most of these big names got at least a decent amount of screen time and some key moments. Tommy Lee Jones plays the hardass commanding officer who starts to warm up to Captain, as he watches the transformation into a hero. Stanley Tucci is one of my favorite characters, the German scientist who helps create the super-soldier serum.
The only real character that I felt was wasted was the Captain’s best friend Bucky. After you see the movie, you’ll understand why. Their story together ended abruptly and wasted an opportunity for some real emotion to emerge.
The effects were decent but a lot of action scenes felt created especially for 3D, so watching in 2D was a little distracting at times. The Red Skull looked nice and I was really impressed by the work to make Chris Evans look tiny before the super solider serum (compared to the atrocious work in the recent Harry Potter film, these effects looked fantastic).
I was actually happy that the director chose to keep the look and feel of HYDRA, though it would have been easy to make these troops look more… realistic. The film versions look just like their comic book counterparts, having this strange steampunk cult look to them.
What didn’t work…
The entire movie had this propaganda feel to it and on more than a few occasions, it gave us montages to show us what was happening. These montages tended to skip past important events and were even distracting to watch. We didn’t get a lot of big fight scenes, so skipping them entirely was somewhat disappointing.
Also, the ending to the movie felt like it lacked punch. You wait for the Captain and Red Skull to fight and the result is short and anticlimactic. Felt like there wasn’t much payoff.
In general, this was a solid movie. The strengths far outweighed the weaknesses, but I felt like the movie could have gone further and pushed itself, where now it feels like it took the safe route. Overall, very entertaining.
And if you’re interested even a tiny bit in the upcoming Avengers film, stay after the credits.