And here we reach the final stepping stone on the way to "The Avengers." "Captain America: The First Avenger" was many's most anticipated installment in the series. However, I know there was quite an outcry when the idea to cast Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. This is understandable after his performance in "Fantastic 4," which many didn't care for (myself not included). For those of us who did enjoy the "Fantastic 4" movies, it was seen as slightly stupid that he should play two superheros. At least that was until the news that "Fantastic 4" was getting a reboot sometime in the future. Anyhow, this film, like "Iron Man" and "Thor" met major skepticism upon the release of trailers and other images. I was also skeptical, mostly because I never thought Captain America was that great of a superhero, but at this point I knew that we had finally reached the point just before "The Avengers" and I had to see it. I'm very glad I did. It wasn't as good as some of the other entries in the series, but it definitely held it's own ground. I feel as if this movie's biggest issue was similar to "The Incredible Hulk"'s, and that was that the movie drug on a little bit. It had a great storyline and premise, I'm not denying that, it was just handled and panned out a little slow. No big deal, however, it's all star cast and fun visuals made it a fun flick to set up for the movie we've all been waiting a long time for.
Joe Johnston directs many movies that I enjoy, "The Wolfman," "Jurassic Park III," "Jumanji," and "The Pagemaster" to name a few. I was excited to hear he would be on this board, and I was glad to see my excitement panned out. While the movie is not exactly a fast paced thriller, it does deliver a great story with some awesome visuals, which I feel makes up for the few slow parts throughout the movie. What I really enjoyed was how they made the movie actually feel like a World War II era movie, which was fun considering it did take place during the World War II era, so the filters or whatever they used worked out fantastically. I also enjoyed how Red Skull looked. The potential for him to come out looking cheesy as hell was great, but I feel as if the visual effects did well enough to make it work out great for the movie. Which is good, considering Red Skull is Captain America's main villain and if the series is gonna play out as a multiple part saga, and judging from the release date already given for the sequel in 2014, it is, they're gonna have to find a working look for Red Skull. Which was done. At any rate, the movie meets the acceptable standards.
Our movie starts out with some feds searching out a zone in the arctic. What they find hidden here appears to be something big, as one of these agents, clearly working for S.H.I.E.L.D. calls in for the director, then we see a shield embedded in ice. Flashback 70 years, to World War II. We find ourselves watching the life of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and how he tries to get enlisted into the war like his pal Bucky (Sebastian Barn) has. However his small stature and laundry list of illnesses make him unfit. Until one day while attending the Stark Expo, held by the one and only Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), a doctor named Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) sees his heart and sees what's inside of him, and grants him his enlistment. As he struggles against all odds to be the soldier he's always wanted to be, he is seen by not only Erskine, but Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). Phillips is leery about Erskine's choice for their "program," but he cannot deny that the kid has heart. Soon Rogers finds himself undergoing an experiment to make him into the perfect soldier. The procedure works, but at a cost. A Nazi spy had infiltrated the laboratory and seen the process underway. After stealing a sample of the super soldier serum, he shoots down Dr. Erskine, and runs away, Agent Carter hot on his tale. Erskine, with his last dying breath, reminds Rogers that he must always listen to what's in his heart, and to what is right. Soon Rogers is on the chase, chasing down the man who killed Erskine. Upon catching him, the man tells him that he has no idea what he's gotten into, other than he needed to fear Hydra. After this, he bites a cyanide cap in his tooth and dies. Rogers soon finds out that Hydra is a division headed by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), nick named the Red Skull. He, by forcing Erskine's hand, was injected with an early draft of the super soldier serum, and the results were catastrophic. No he has realized that he cannot further his career under the Fuhrer's command. He's a madman with plans of world domination, who will stop at nothing and kill anyone to achieve his goals. Now Captain Rogers, and a handful of men, including his pall Bucky, must go on the biggest mission of their careers to stop Schmidt before the world lies in ruins.
I absolutely loved the casting choices for this movie. While sketchy on Chris Evans playing Captain America, a role much different than that of the Human Torch from the Fantastic Four, he delivered fantastically. He was patriotic, unwavering in his belief in what was right and what wasn't, commanding, and basically everything that you needed to be in order to play Captain America, and he definitely made many a non-believer eat their words. Hayley Atwell was gorgeous, and it's clear why they cast her as Rogers' love interest, Agent Carter. She did a splendid job. Tommy Lee Jones has long been a favorite actor of mine, and hearing he got lined up for a role in "Captain America: The First Avenger" is part of the reason I knew I needed to see it. He didn't disappoint me, and played a great smart-ass army colonel. Finally, we have my favorite performance of the movie, Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt. I think of all the villains that have hit the screens for all the movies leading up to "The Avengers," Hugo Weaving played the most twisted and diabolical of all of them. All Red Skull wanted was to conquer, and Weaving portrayed that perfectly, making him seem like a force to be reckoned with. Someone I know I wouldn't wanna fuck around with that's for sure. So all around, I feel as if the acting in this movie was one of the best things about it!
At any rate, like many a movies that Marvel has been putting out, "Captain America: The First Avenger" met many a criticism, but held it's head high, and like those before it, it proved many people wrong in their beliefs, myself being one of them this time around. So if you harbored any ill fortune at the sight of trailers of this movie, I do not blame you. I do, however, suggest you find a way to watch it immediately. If the others tricked you and turned out good, why should this be any different? I highly recommend watching this before you treat yourself to "The Avengers" for the third or fourth time, or however many times you've already been to see it. It's definitely an important step in the direction of that movie, and I very much look forward to the sequel in 2014!