Newest Review: ... after being turned down by the US Army, is approached by a mysterious scientist with an offer to make he can't refuse. Becoming the f... more
I thought he'd be taller.
Captain America - The First Avenger (DVD)
Member Name: paulie1975
Captain America - The First Avenger (DVD)
Advantages: Well presented, great origin story
Disadvantages: The film tails off when the action begins
As Marvel builds to the climax next year when the Avengers movie is released, this film introduces another of the big set pieces main characters, Captain America, perhaps better known here as a kids tv show, this character doesn't have the ability to fly of Iron Man, the indestructible hammer of Thor or the ability to turn green but he is the All American hero who grows stronger the nicer he is.
I had grave doubts when my other half bought this film, the trailer looked dull, I had no interest in the concept and it just seemed like one of the weaker links in the character chain but I actually quite enjoyed this film, it is fluff and won't win any awards, but my take on it was that it is nicely presented, is tongue in cheek for the most part and doesn't take itself as seriously as perhaps some reviewers seem to think.
The film is really two parts, the first part being infinitely better than the second but thankfully the first part builds the momentum and goodwill to keep you watching to the very last shot.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a tiny man, weak, sickly, but he has a big heart, he won't back out of a fight and will always stand up for what he believes in, when the Second World War begins, he tries everything he can to enlist, but his size and various illnesses put off recruiters, eventually after being overheard telling his best friend why serving the people of his country means the world to him, he is tapped up by a scientist, Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) who is running secret experiments, Rogers takes part in army training camps with other willing recruits, run by the tetchy and not overly nice Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and the much nicer Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
Following months of gruelling tests, Erskine is keen to give the most complete soldier a serum to turn him into a one man fighting unit, super strong, super fast, but powered by spirit, the serum turns good people into better people and bad people into worse ones. Rogers proves to have a huge heart and desire to protect his colleagues and is placed in the experiment.
Erskine assisted by Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), father of Iron Man Tony Stark, gives Rogers the serum and the legend that is Captain America comes alive. Can Captain America stop the evil Nazi research department HYDRA and its leader Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) before this equally superhuman being takes over the world?
He's Captain America and without quoting the Team America motto from their film, you have a pretty good idea that our all-american hero will give it a damned good try:
I really enjoyed the cast, Steve Evans suits the heroic mould, as the weakling Rogers he is feisty and keen to improve, this role as the weak guy is probably the best role i've seen him play, I appreciate his body is CGI effecting but his manners are much better than his usual cocky persona which generally annoys me, he puts a lot of himself into the part and still maintains some of the personality when he becomes the hard as nails, Captain America, following the transformation his character is less vocal and more action orientated, he deals with the action well but the character becomes much less interesting because of this.
Hugo Weaving is fine as the villain, all bulging eyes and quietly unnerving german accent, he can play villains in his sleep and does so comfortably here, his transformation into the Red Skull isn't overly interesting and he is one of the less interesting characters in the film.
Hayley Atwell is smart, feisty and funny as Agent Carter, she epitomises the era and isn't afraid to get stuck in or give her opinion, she is a good foil to Rogers and the triangle between Rogers, Carter and Stark is interesting and raises a lot of questions for me for the Avengers film.
Tommy Lee Jones gets some good lines as the grouchy colonel, he plays to type and doesn't have too much to do but does it well while Dominic Cooper has fun creating Tony Stark's dad, a mad yet charming inventor who clearly has his son's eye for the ladies and for gadgets, I liked his character and enjoyed the whole concept of developing ideas that can be brought to life as conflict between Rogers and Stark in the Avengers film.
The film cost us £5.99 and i'm happy with that, the first half was excellent and I like when the back story is given real serious thought, you do root for Rogers and the era is well recreated with nice touches such as the Stark Expo which is a forerunner to the expo in Iron Man 2.
I thought the first half of the film was 5 times better than the second half, once Rogers has his powers of superhuman strength and speed it becomes a serious of ok, but not hugely exciting fights and set pieces leading to the obvious climax. I appreciate we need to see what this hero could do but would have just liked a bit more time on the former rather than the gung-ho fighting.
I felt the era was handled well, the film almost develops the style of the early Second World War concepts of media manipulation in the way it is shot, it is very nationalistic but then the title would suggest it should be, it never deals with this in anything other than subtle, amusing ways though and if it does feel as though you have the American dream shoved in your face at any point there is generally an amusing line to show the creators understand this.
For Marvel fans there are numerous links to the future Avengers film and the final scene pre-credits and post credits only support this further, check out the nurse in the final scene who may have some connections to the past and the future of Rogers, although this isn't immediately obvious during the scene.
Overall this was fun, the first half was really well developed, the second half less so, i'm giving it 4 out of 5 because I liked the presentation and the idea and the fact it was created with tongue firmly in cheek and doesn't take itself half as seriously as it appears, there are some great lines in the film, some really good characters and the visual style worked really well. It tails off to a disappointing but necessary climax, but then all of the Avengers prequels have really, these are origin stories designed to build towards a (hopefully) awesome big screen climax in the summer of 2012. A good effort.
Abraham Erskine: Do you want to kill Nazis?
Steve Rogers: I don't want to kill anybody. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from.
Abraham Erskine: [about his choice] Why someone weak? Because a weak man knows the value of strength, the value of power...
Johann Schmidt: Arrogance is not a uniquely American trait, but you do it better than most.
Summary: I thought he'd be taller.