At two hours and four minutes, for an origin story, Captain America: The First Avenger sure takes its time to get going. It felt like Smallville’s 10 years of Clark Kent’s origin story to becoming Superman before we finally get to see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) done the red, white, and blue as Captain America.
But we needed to get the set-up before we could get the action. It is 1942 and all scrawny Steve Rogers wants to do is enlist in the army to serve his country during WWII, not to beat up Nazis but really to stand up to bullies. It is because of that honor, his pure heart and bravery that makes Steve the perfect candidate of a secret government experiment to make an army of super soldiers with Steve being the first guinea pig.
Steve is under the watchful eye of the experiment’s brain child, Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci), Colonel Chester Philips (Tommy Lee Jones, who brings in the comic-relief) and British Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
The experiment turns the small and skinny Steve into taller and a very buff Steve Rogers. But soon after his transformation, the experiment comes under attack and Steve is the first and last super soldier.
Soon Steve is turned more into a publicity machine to sell war bonds in the guise as Captain America complete with a wool looking suite (I am assuming an homage to the original Captain America suit from the comics) complete with a shield.
However, after his best friend, James “Bucky” Barnes goes MIA do we finally get to see Captain America in action. When Steve goes to rescue Bucky and 400 other prisoners, that Steve discovers weapons of mass destruction that is being designed by the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who initially was working to the Nazis but soon split off into his own faction, HYDRA.
Anyways, I don’t want to reveal the entire plot but as I was watching this, I couldn’t help but think that Captain America: The First Avenger was a very cheesy and corny version of the great HBO mini-series on World War II, Band of Brothers. Heck, they even put Neal McDonough (who played Buck Compton in the mini-series) in the film as one of Cap’s men.
Of course we all know that every super hero needs his Lois Lane. And Peggy Carter here is Lois Lane’s to Captain America’s Superman. While their relationship in the film is sweet, I felt there was no chemistry between Atwell and Evans.
Speaking of Evans, I thought he was pretty good as Captain America. I like him better as Steve Rogers than I did as the Human Torch of Fantastic Four fame. Evans performance is actually a restrained one and I mean it in a good way. Evans is mostly known for playing cocksure and boastful characters but I like the quite nature that he brought to Steve Rogers.
But one thing that bothered me and I seem to do this every time I watch a sci-fi or action movie and that I seem to compare it to Star Wars and this movie is no exception. For some reason, the henchmen of Red Skull reminded me so much of the Empire’s TIE fighter pilots that it actually bothered me. There is a sequence on motorcycles that remind me so much of the speeder bike chase scene in Endor complete with Whilhelm scream.
Anyways, the special effects were fine if not overly complicated and I liked Captain America’s new suit. Also, don’t bother seeing this in 3-D, there were only two cool shots that I enjoyed and that was when Cap’s shield was being tossed at you.
Overall, I think everyone in Captain America filled their purpose in a comic book origin movie well.
Make sure you stay until after the credits are over to see the trailer for next summer’s The Avengers. It actually looks good and I am excited to see it.