Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
It’s only fair to start this Avengers party with the first avenger, the star spangled man with the plan, Captain America.
I will start by saying that revisiting this movie yielded surprising and positive results. As the film opens and Steve Rogers is introduced, I was engaged and fully prepared for the ride at hand. Not being alive during the period I can’t speak as an authority about it but I felt like the tone of the period was captured well and was reflected through the characters and the narrative style. That musical number was a great fit and provided a really interesting and inventive way of both introducing Captain America’s look and why he would choose to dress in similar fashion when facing real combat. Unfortunately, the feeling of being drawn into the movie didn’t last as long as I would’ve liked. Once the Hydra story line got going, the movie started to deflate for me. I know they are supposed to be a little more technologically advanced, and it is a made-up story, but some of the Hydra tech just looked out of place for the time. And that “hail Hydra” salute is probably the worst thing that could’ve happened to this movie. It’s just so cheesy.
As far as performances go, everyone steps up to the plate here and gives their best effort. I’ll admit that upon hearing his casting for the part, I was a little more than skeptical about Chris Evans playing Cap. However, especially after time and multiple viewing, Evans actually fits the look of the part really well and plays it even better. I still could’ve gone for someone that looks a little more mature, but he still gets it done. On the opposite side, Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull looks and sounds great while Hugo, as is his way, brings power and weight to the role. However, even Elrond can’t save himself from lacklustre lines and a sub-story that for some reason just doesn’t work. Then there’s Tommy Lee Jones. This guy has some impressive comedic acting chops. The timing he has and the delivery of just about every other line he says work well and deserve every laugh they get.
Approaching the end of the film, and fighting back disinterest, I was left with more questions than answers even as a comics reader. The characters that make up Cap’s squad never get recognition. Of course we meet Bucky early on but then there’s the Asian guy, the French guy, Antwone Fisher (…or the man of color is you haven’t seen that movie), and a guy that looks like he could be Dum-Dum Dugan (that’s a comics reference, kids) but its unclear because we never hear any of their names. I’m not saying they all needed a backstory and/or their own sub-plot, and sure I can just look up the cast list on IMDB to get the characters’ names, but it would’ve been nice within the movie to know who Captain America’s back up players were. And while the Red Skull make up looked great, it’s also unclear exactly how he came to look like that. Its mentioned that perhaps he may have possibly been negatively effected by a serum he could have stolen and taken. But that’s just too many unknowns. And (from the perspective of a casual watcher) what is that brightly colored box the Red Skull is after? And wait, what?!! Almost 70 years?? Captain America was frozen, right?? Again, just too many unknowns there.
I digress though, Captain America could’ve been a lot worse. For what it had to do, which was explain who Cap was and set up the Avengers, it got the job done like an average, unrecognized hockey player. There were things that worked and things that didn’t. And, personally, I just don’t like montages in movies like this, but I say again, with Joe Johnston at the helm, this one could’ve been way worse.
Now what’s with this pig business you say?? It’s all explained on our RAMARS!!! page.