CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

| August 2, 2011 | Comments (0)

Now, which one am I? Oh Yeh - Captain America

DIR: Joe Johnston • WRI: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely • PRO: Kevin Feige, Amir Madani • DOP: Shelly Johnson • ED: Robert Dalva, Jeffrey Ford • DES: Rick Heinrichs • CAST: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan

Imagine if every major blockbuster was written, produced and directed solely with the intention of setting up their sequel. These hugely publicised, $150 million movies that are so pre-occupied laying the ground work for the next instalment that they don’t have enough time to properly tell their own story. Well, you need imagine this scenario no longer, as Marvel has made it a reality thanks to its setting up next year’s behemoth The Avengers, and using Iron Man 2, Thor and now Captain America (just look at its full title!) as little more than expensive prequels to the main event.

It all starts off strongly enough, wearing its Indiana Jones influence proudly on its sleeve. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is the asthmatic weakling who wants to serve his country, and his unwavering courage catches the eye of Stanley Tucci’s scientist, who quickly pumps him full of magic steroids and turns him into Captain America, and then hands him off to Tommy Lee Jones’ grumpy, scene stealing Colonel and Hayley Atwell’s icy, beautiful love interest to help kill some Nazis.

Meanwhile, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) is on the hunt for an ancient device which will help fuel his new world-destroying weapon. So evil even the Nazis want nothing to do with him, Schmidt was the first test subject of the magic steroids, which turned him into Red Skull, a character with no skin, no nose and no real reason for destroying the world other than ‘Because I feel like it.’

The first hour of the movie zips by as each of their stories unfold in interesting, organic ways, but once the cogs of the plot are all in place, the final hour is just one long rush to the finale. The real issue is that we all know where Captain will end up (stay past the end credits to see the trailer for The Avengers, just in case you’d forgotten about that movie), and the movie is lacking that one scene where Red Skull shows off his new world-destroying weapon by testing it on a famous landmark, so it’s hard to gauge exactly what’s at stake.

On the plus side, the perfectly re-created ’40s setting is brilliant, the acting is universally great, the final action set piece is fantastically realised and properly gripping, and the emotional gut punch at the end is a fitting pay-off for the central love story. But the movie still feels like Samuel L Jackson should be narrating ‘Previously on The Avengers…’ instead of feeling like a satisfying whole on its own. Here’s hoping once they get the team together for Summer 2012, they disband for a while and get another chance to perform their own solo projects with a bit more room to breathe.

Rory Cashin

Rated PG (see IFCO website for details)
Captain America: The First Avenger is released on 29th July 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger – Official Website

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Category: Cinema Reviews, Reviews

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