Three years after we were given our first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Ironman, we would get to see a new fan favorite on screen. John Johnston helmed the film, Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 with the beloved Human Torch/Chris Evans as our Steve Rogers. This movie plays a pivotal role in the development of Steve Rogers that we see carrying on until today. We also see some characters that were just names in previous movies as well as the friendship between Bucky and Steve.
There are plenty of characters in this film, but the standouts are those played by Chris Evans of course, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci and the legendary Tommy Lee Jones. We can’t forget the great Toby Jones. He is one of the 2 villains, but his performance is only enhanced with that of Hugo Weaving’s. The other five interact with each other, and all together, in a way that is almost seamless. This carries on throughout the movies, well, at least for Bucky and Steve. Anyways, let’s get into the movie. If you’ve seen this wonderful film, let the following refresh your memory.
In the first act of the movie we see a smaller built Steve Rogers, trying everything he can to get into the Army to serve in World War II. Due to several, and I mean several issues, he is unable to join. This devastates him and causes him to try repeatedly. To make matters even worse, he sees that his best-friend, James Buchanan Barnes, has enlisted and is getting shipped off. When he tries enlisting again, he runs into a bearded Stanley Tucci who offers him a deal of a lifetime. Once accepted, Steve Rogers is officially enlisted and all his dreams come true. Part of this deal was turning Rogers into a bulked out super solider with tons of enhanced abilities, and the other half was that he was to remain a good man.
Involved in this procedure is none other than our favorite genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist’s father, Howard Stark. Let me remind you that this is a very young Howard Stark. Once we see him in action, you notice that the parallels between him and his son are uncanny. Even similar in a physical manner, it’s pretty cool to see. Also introduced is our villain, Red Skull. I found his character somewhat underwhelming, but his intentions were evil and Hugo Weaving played quite the menace. The second act of the movie is compiled with a montage of great action sequences that goes even more smoothly with the score by Alan Silvestri. Come the third act, it fluctuates between good and bad. We get a pretty emotional driven Cap on a mission to avenge his best friend. This ends up in a face-off between Cap and Red Skull. Red Skull gets taken down by the Tesseract and Cap sacrifices himself while on the radio with Peggy. Rest in peace, right? Psych, of course he comes back from the ice to save the world a few more times. Then we see Steve wake up in a room modeled to look like the 40’s and of course he breaks out, where he ends up meeting Nick Fury. I must say, his last line will tug on your heart’s strings.
One thing this movie does very well is establish the relationship between Bucky and Steve. We see the friendship through his whole trilogy and how much they mean to each other. Their friendship began before they had any idea Steve would be turning into a super soldier, and it lasted all the way up until Bucky’s supposed death. Seeing their friendship blossom, and end, was quite heartbreaking. They don’t give you any clue as to Bucky surviving, making the following film even more exciting. Steve’s love life takes on quite the development as well. He goes from a man that has never held a full conversation with a girl, to having Peggy Carter herself. I also think the director and the cinematographer, and everyone else, came together to make a solid second act. The way editing is used to compliment the cinematography and vice versa, showcases the montage of Cap leading those crusades on Hydra bases.
Now, the part that I really wanted to emphasize. Let’s talk about Cap’s bone structure. Kidding, let’s talk about his heart. If there is one excellent quality about Captain America, it’s his heart and his desire to always do the right thing. Nothing will stop him from doing this, be it a grenade, or splitting up the Avengers. He started off as this really, really tiny man. And a big shout out to the effects team for putting Chris Evans’ face on someone else, it worked really well. I wonder what they could’ve done with a mustache. Anyways, he’s small, but he is confident. A great example is in the theater when there is a draft ad in the previews, and some belligerent man won’t stop yelling. Like the man he is, Steve confronts him, which ends up in an alley way beat down. I use the words beat down loosely, because Steve never goes down. Yes, he gets beat up until Bucky comes, but he could do it all day. All he wants to do is fight for his country, and more importantly, fight the bullies. This mentality of his carries on to this day. Even after the serum is injected into him, nothing changes except his physical features.
Being that bullying is still an ongoing thing today, this movie can appeal to the smaller crowd. He’s a superhero with so much more depth, and that’s why he’s loved by so many, including me! This film speaks volumes and i’m sure it will be a fan favorite for years to come. Overall, the film is a spectacular addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We get to see Captain America before he’s Captain America, and we get to see the reason he is the way he is, in every aspect. A beautiful development for one of the MCU’s most important characters.
– JB Baker