Captain America, The First Avenger

The summer of the superhero is still in full swing and this week we Captain America takes the lead in Captain America, The First Avenger.  Instead of skyscrapers and technology, Captain America fights evil during World War II.  As a product of science, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) becomes the first of an army of ‘super-soldier’ designed by the United States Army to fight the Nazis.  When the scientist instrumental in transforming Rogers into Captain America is murdered by an agent of the mysterious Hydra, Captain America turns the war into a personal battle. He finds help along the way in a loyal band of misfit soldiers. Captain America takes on Red Skull, the leader of Hydra, in a battle not just for America but to save the world.

Inherent in superhero movies is character recognition.  While the name may be recognizable the story may not.  Captain America starts off on the wrong foot because it fails to provide enough backstory in order to understand his world.  Steve Rogers receives a unexplained serum that bulks him up while his archenemy is searching for a glowy magical cube with untold powers.  Neither are explained to the point where you can buy into their effectiveness. On a similar note, the German accent by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), the creator of the power producing serum, and other prominent members of the cast are so unbelievably bad that they are almost offensive.  Finally, the WTF moment goes to the Robocop costumes worn by the Hydra anonymous henchmen.  Blue lights and a ridiculous masks made their wardrobe choices the biggest disaster on screen.  Instead of shaking at the enemy, all you can do is laugh with pity.

There are a few bright stars under the Captain America banner.  In a movie full of big special effects and over-dramatic moments, Tommy Lee Jones comedic relief is a breath of fresh air.  As Col. Chester Phillips, Jones well-defined face provides honest and funny commentary.  Col. Chester Phillips is not much of a stretch for Jones but he does help to move the film along.  Col. Phillips and Captain America get a little help from Howard Stark.  Not a stranger to comic book lore, Stark is the father of Tony Stark, Iron Man, and was portrayed by John Slattery in Iron Man 2.  This time Dominic Cooper takes the Howard Hughes-esk role with ease.  Although not a major character he plays the ‘Q’, creating Captain America’s famous shield, as well as other goodies, and giving the film some semblance of style.  I do need to add that this is an action movie and that their is strong action sequences.  An aerial battle at the climax of the film and a montage of Captain America kicking ass has some redeeming value.A review of Captain America can not be complete without a view words about the man himself.  Our first image of the man who would be Captain America is not quite what you would expect.  The actor who plays Captain America, Chris Evans, is photoshopped to the point of an anorexic model to portray pre-serum Steve Rogers.  While necessary for the story of Captain America, the image has a grotesque effect.  Scrawny, frail and disturbing are the words to describe his body type which makes his transition into an unphotoshopped Captain America more drastic.  Chris Evans must have spent months constantly at the gym because he looked like a body builder.  After all he is playing a super hero.

Marvel can not be more direct in its desire to make an Avengers movie. From the opening to the closing credits this film was produced solely on Captain America’s place in the Avengers.  If the name doesn’t give it away, its story will.  The upcoming Avengers movie was so important to Marvel that they time travel Captain America 70 years so he could hang with his superhero friends.  Note: that was not a spoiler, that bit of information is reveled in the beginning of this film.

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