Film Of The Week: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)


SYNOPSIS:
Meek U.S. Army soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) takes part in an experimental military program that infuses him with super-human powers, and uses his newfound strength to battle the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) in this comic-book adventure from director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, The Rocketeer). Tommy Lee Jones, Neal McDonough, and Stanley Tucci co-star in a film written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley (who previously collaborated on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).
REVIEW:

My review here for Captain America: The First Avenger may be a re-visit for most of you FCSyndicate readers out there who have already seen the movie. For me, as it stands, I'm still one more film short before finally catching up to Marvel's second phase in its second cinematic universe leading Thor: The Dark World and the April 4, 2014 release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So this was as pretty good an opportunity as any before than to see director Joe Johnston's theatrical contribution to the current film franchise.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a half-pint New York native from 1940's Brooklyn with dreams of serving his country, proven only by the five times he has been rejected for the draft due to his size, among other things. But one last night out on the town with his best friend, Bucky, changes everything when a chance meeting with a gifted doctor grants him the opportunity of a lifetime.

After having the good fortune of being selected for the U.S. military's supersoldier program, his newfound physical attributes and gifts are still not enough in the eyes of his superiors in helping America defeat the Third Reich. In the end, Rogers is left with no choice to put his best muscle forward as the hero he was destined to become, and the ultimate threat to an unknown evil far worse than Hitler, with technology more advanced than anyone could expect.

Politics, espionage, tragedy and grave danger awaits Rogers who finds himself in control of great power, and must use it to his greatest advantage in an epic battle between good and superior evil that will set off a chain of events that will truly change the world. But can he do it alone?

I'm pretty familiar with the comic book franchise, although I was never too heavy into comic books. So when it comes to continuity and consistency between graphic novels and films, I'm not the kind to weigh between the two. So I won't get into all the comparisons that some are privy to when discussing comic book movies. What I will say, is that I enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger as a nice and spectacular lead-in to last year's The Avengers and the other upcoming films. The story provides a nicely crammed origin story that gets the job done at its own pace, not rushing to get our hero in costume just to satisfy our cravings.

On its face, tons of dodgy green screen background CGI mire the film to an extent, taking away certain moments of authenticity. Not to mention, I didn't necessarily think Evans' head needed to be that big on such a small body, although in some scenes it does work-other times it just doesn't, and you can visually tell how weird it looks. But that's just me.

As far as the action goes, I got my fill from it. Captain America doesn't fly, so that leaves him a lot of hurdles to overcome on the battlefield, which is exciting when watching our hero dodging everything from bullets to flamethrowers and evaporating rifle blasts, and putting baddies away with hard-hitting hand to hand exchanges, in addition to using his trusty jingoistic one-of-a-kind shield as both a weapon and a means of self-defense.

Certain characters stood out, obviously, and of course I enjoyed their key roles from our actors, including Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, and even Hugo Weaving, who I would love to see return as Red Skull, even if he doesn't. And much credit to actress Hayley Atwell who made ComicCon headlines over the summer reprising her role for the Marvel One-Shot, Agent Carter, which could end up with its own TV series in the same vein of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. if it is in the cards.

Bottom line - Captain America: The First Avenger is just a little bit more grounded than some of the other Marvel movies, but delivers nevertheless, reviving a beloved comic book character with a story that promises much more ahead. So, if you haven't seen this movie, then see it and look forward to Captain America: The Winter Soldier when it releases on April 4, 2014.

Captain America: The First Avenger is now available where movies are sold.

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