The lonely and anonymous life that most superheroes lead tugs at the heart strings of men and women alike - think Batman, Superman and Spiderman, amongst others. Marvel Comics, on the other hand, has given us 2 men that do not want to hide who they are.
One is Iron Man, who declares his identity to a startled world at a press conference
, and the other is Captain America, who does not feel the need to hide who he is, at least in the beginning.
And that is where the movie begins - at the beginning. Actually, it starts with the recent discovery of what looks like a large spacecraft in the middle of the Arctic, and then moves back in time to 1942. This is the year when the Second World War is at its peak, and the Nazis seem indestructible. This is also the year that the USA becomes more actively involved in what was so far a European war.
There are more than enough willing young men ready to be recruited by Uncle Sam, and amongst them is a feisty, stubborn young man (Chris Evans, or at least, his head on a cadaverous body) who has been rejected by the Army 4 times. He is too short, and thin - almost malnourished. His name is Steve Rogers, and his passion and patriotism is noted by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci).
The good doctor is the creator of the Super Soldier serum, and he wants to experiment on the thin Rogers, despite a lot of opposition from Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). The doctor tells the enthusiastic Steve all about his first subject, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), and cautions the former against changing for the worse.
The serum apparently enhances the dominant qualities of a person, and because the doctor believes that Steve is a good person, he is convinced that his choice of subject is justified.
And so Captain America comes into existence, beginning his career as a promoter of war bonds, complete with a costume and shield. Will he able to save the world from Red Skull / Johann Schmidt's evil intentions? Only time, and patience, will tell. At 124 minutes, Captain America drags at places, and you wonder why nobody gets to the point immediately.
The story, however, is, like all superhero stories, a case of good versus evil (no grey characters). It meanders here and there before getting to the destruction of Red Skull, but watching it in 3D is absolutely worth it. Most of the action sequences were shot in real 3D, and are very effective. In contrast, the dialogue-heavy sequences - which were not
shot in 3D but were treated in post-production - look slightly flat.
Chris Evans is sincere. Apparently, it took him some time to agree to this role, but once he was convinced, he signed a 6-film deal. With his all-American looks, who better to play Captain America?
Hayley Atwell is decent, and Stanley Tucci speaking in a German accent is delightful. Hugo Weaving seemed deadlier as the antagonist in The Matrix
, but there is something about his accent that lends to the menace in this movie. Tommy Lee Jones plays the stereotypical grouchy army man, and he seems to love it.
Dominic Cooper plays Howard Stark, the father of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man
. He deserves more screen time for his spunk and irreverence. Stark seems to be the only one without problems, and is like a beam of sunshine in an otherwise oh-so-serious movie.
The franchise begins well, and one can only hope that the next 5 movies get better. As a period movie, Captain America: The First Avenger may not appeal to all age groups, and is definitely not the answer to a Harry Potter
, or even a Batman
, but it is worth a watch, for its lack of pretentiousness, if nothing else.