Captain America: The First Avenger wears its pulpy heart on its sleeve, along with
his trusty red, white and blue shield. Cue the everyman hero, the feisty dame and the
black of heart and red of skull villain. Then hold tight for a ripping adventure straight
out of the serials of yesteryear.
Steve Rodgers (Chris Evans) is a kid with a big heart but scrawny frame who
desperately wants to join his buddies on the frontlines of World War II. He’s deemed
unfit for service but is selected for a top-secret research project. Rodgers ends up
being the first and last super soldier, setting his sight on bringing down Hitler’s evil
scientist Johann Shmidt (Hugo Weaving).
This all could have been so cornball but thankfully director Joe Johnston plays it
straight and has a heck of a lot of fun doing so. His knack for capturing the look and
sensibilities of a period (see Rocketeer and October Sky) shines through.
Plus he couldn’t have dropped the ball as badly as this 1990 effort. (where Cap is
played by JD Salinger’s son!)
Now Chris Evans is no stranger to the current comic book movie explosion, having
featured in no less than six (!) other adaptations. He was bar far the best thing in
The Fantastic Four movies as the wise cracking Human Torch and look out for
his hilarious ego driven cameo in Scott Pilgrim. In donning the red white and blue
uniform, Evans managed to beat other Cap hopefuls such as Sam Worthington,
Channing Tatum, Ryan Phillippe and even True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard.
Joining Evans is the likes of Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones (who gets some of the
best one-liners), Brit newcomer Hayley Atwell and the ever-reliable Hugo Weaving
as Cap’s nemesis The Red Skull. The makeup team nails the look and Hugo brings
just the right touch of menace.
For the Comic book fans there’s plenty to lap up, the old costumes, the inclusion
of Cap’s rag tag band of soldiers; the howling commandos, the obligatory cameo
of Marvel man Stan Lee, and the brilliant updating of Cap’s original teen sidekick
Bucky to the modern Winter Solider version. And these fans are willing to pay
admission alone just for the post credit Avengers trailer.
For those not up to date with superhero supergroups, Captain America is helping set
up Marvel’s blockbuster team up movie The Avengers, which releases next year. In
a take on the ‘Ultimates’ storylines (with Samuel L Jackson reprising his Nick Fury
character), The Cap leads a team with the likes of Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk
and Thor amongst others. Pretty much like crack for comic geeks with Joss ‘Buffy’
Whedon at the helm.
Save yourself a few bucks and don’t see this in 3-D, there’s no real bonus here. And
as good as Cap is, in my book it’s already been trumped by the best comic book
movie this year: X-Men First Class. Saying that, in the glut of no-story bloated
blockbusters that have been served up this year, it comes a close second.
With a cracking cast and such a cracking boy’s own adventure story, Captain
America: The First Avenger delivers the whole package to the fans and newcomers
And whoever mashed up songs from Team America: World Police to this trailer
should be given an Oscar. Brilliant. (language may offend!)
Plus for those who want to delve into some of cap’s best adventures, here’s a taste!