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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

aka Captain America: The First Avenger

"When patriots become heroes"

Directed By: 
Details: 124 mins · English, French · PG-13 (USA)

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Patriotic

Should any readers know me, they know that my standards when it comes to all things superhero-related are much higher than the average moviegoer's. Virtually everything must correspond to the source material, or else I find it hard to treat the film in the manner that I personally believe that the superhero myth should be treated: critically and with respect. To change fundamental aspects of the already well-established storyline is tantamount to disrespect of not just the character, but the creators as well. Granted, it increases in popularity, but it does so in such a way that, for lack of more eloquent phrasing, it just isn't the same. However, 'Captain America: The First Avenger', does the star-spangled superhuman justice.

The majority of the film is set in 1942, where Steve Rogers, a diminutive man with a sense of patriotism many times larger than his person, tries and fails multiple times to enlist in the Army and join the war effort. But, due to health problems and his frail b...(more)

Should any readers know me, they know that my standards when it comes to all things superhero-related are much higher than the average moviegoer's. Virtually everything must correspond to the source material, or else I find it hard to treat the film in the manner that I personally believe that the superhero myth should be treated: critically and with respect. To change fundamental aspects of the already well-established storyline is tantamount to disrespect of not just the character, but the creators as well. Granted, it increases in popularity, but it does so in such a way that, for lack of more eloquent phrasing, it just isn't the same. However, 'Captain America: The First Avenger', does the star-spangled superhuman justice.

The majority of the film is set in 1942, where Steve Rogers, a diminutive man with a sense of patriotism many times larger than his person, tries and fails multiple times to enlist in the Army and join the war effort. But, due to health problems and his frail build, he is rejected. Instead, he is found by Dr. Abraham Erskine, a scientist in charge of the Super-Soldier program, and given a serum that enhances his entire body and mind, amplifying his musculature as well as his indomitable will and patriotism. The plot of 'Captain America' deals with the Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving) and his attempts at world domination using the mystical Tesseract, which will be further explained in Joss Whedon's upcoming 'Avengers'.

What I thought was the best aspect of this film was the pacing of it. The beginning scene consists of S.H.I.E.L.D agents (a division of the US Government that deals with meta- and super-human affairs) finding a downed aircraft somewhere in the Canadian ice. This scene is perfect to begin the film with because it is so subtle in its revelation of the plot; you as the viewer know what is going on and why this find is so important, but no unnecessary details are given. Samuel L. Jackson's much-anticipated character Colonel Nick Fury is mentioned only as “the Colonel”, and all the viewer sees of Captain America is a portion of his shield before the scene shifts to 1942 in a completely different time and place. This transition is repeated at the end of the film, when Rogers wakes up in what looks like a hospital room in the 1940s, but later discovers that he is in the year 2011. The final scene shows Rogers' face as he stares, bewildered, at the New York City he grew up in but no longer recognized, setting the scene for 2012s 'The Avengers' as well as giving the audience one last piece of character development before the credits roll. To me, 'Captain America: The First Avenger' could not have been better paced.

The performances by the major cast were much better than what I expected. After seeing Chris Evans in the ill-received 'Fantastic Four' movies, I was at once skeptical. But as Evans delivered his first line, I was immediately swayed. His deep voice complements Steve Rogers' impressive frame without being too overbearing (Christian Bale, I hope you're reading this), but is mellow enough to emphasize his patriotism, zeal, and compassion. Samuel L. Jackson, despite having only about two hours of screen time in every Marvel film to date combined, was phenomenal. Hayley Atwell, who plays Rogers' love interest Peggy Carter, adds a touch of quirky romanticism to her character that I think strengthens her beyond her role in the original comic books.

However, the actor whom I really felt stole the show was Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips, Fury's predecessor. Jones fits the role perfectly. Joe Johnston, the film's director, described the character as "the one you've seen in a thousand movies: the gruff, skeptical officer overseeing a team of talented, slightly sarcastic, specially talented soldiers". Given Jones' already impressive history of playing this type of character ('The Hunted', 'U.S. Marshals, and 'The Fugitive' just to name a few), it was easy to see his expertise at work.

Overall, 'Captain America: The First Avenger' is the most accurate, entertaining, and true-to-source superhero film made to date, and this isn't just me saying this. Roger Ebert, a well-known and respected film critic, said "I enjoyed the movie. I appreciated the 1940s period settings and costumes, which were a break with the usual generic cityscapes. I admired the way that director Joe Johnston propelled the narrative. I got a sense of a broad story, rather than the impression of a series of sensational set pieces. If Marvel is wise, it will take this and Iron Man as its templates". Such a review from Ebert alone is enough to give the film worldwide acclaim, and it has. Worldwide, 'Captain America: The First Avenger' has grossed a total of $339,719,952, beating out 'Thor', 'X-Men: First Class', and 'Green Lantern', solidifying its place in not just my book of well-made films, but a lot of other people's as well. (less)

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Campy Captain

These days, everyone can't help but rave for the Marvel films as they grow increasingly popular, spawning more and more films every year. And, as a huge fan of the comics, I can't help but get excited with each new addition. But, in looking at the films while removing much of my bias, it's undeniable that some of these flicks are truly terrible (I'm looking at you, Thor). And, while this piece isn't downright awful, Captain America sticks out as one of the weakest films of the lot, perhaps even more so than the most recent attempt at a Hulk movie.
As is to be expected, Captain America: the First Avenger (a falsehood in and of itself) follows Steve Rodgers in his rise to becoming the iconic legend, touching on his career as a captain in World War II as he battles the nefarious Red Skull. And this, in and of its own right, creates a huge flaw in the movie as a whole. The script tries to bite off more than it can chew, and it shows through the lack of focus, constant jumping through time ...(more)

These days, everyone can't help but rave for the Marvel films as they grow increasingly popular, spawning more and more films every year. And, as a huge fan of the comics, I can't help but get excited with each new addition. But, in looking at the films while removing much of my bias, it's undeniable that some of these flicks are truly terrible (I'm looking at you, Thor). And, while this piece isn't downright awful, Captain America sticks out as one of the weakest films of the lot, perhaps even more so than the most recent attempt at a Hulk movie.
As is to be expected, Captain America: the First Avenger (a falsehood in and of itself) follows Steve Rodgers in his rise to becoming the iconic legend, touching on his career as a captain in World War II as he battles the nefarious Red Skull. And this, in and of its own right, creates a huge flaw in the movie as a whole. The script tries to bite off more than it can chew, and it shows through the lack of focus, constant jumping through time via admittedly stylish montages, and essentially tries to capture the entire war in a two hour time frame. It leaves the story feeling like it frequently lacks focus beyond having our hero in nearly every scene. The focal conflict feels like it changes too often, and much of it becomes rushed in order to try and get the captain to his ultimate destination, ignoring the journey we are supposed to enjoy.
The characters here are some of the worst. At least the Thor films have Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth working hard to make something of the poor scripts they are handed in their stand-alone flicks. Here, there's a general serious lack of acting chops. Hayley Atwell takes on the role of Peggy Carter, a badass leader of the America armies often marveled because she is a woman with power in the army, which, in my mind, removes a lot of the strength in her character through how womanized she is by all the other figures (and how she ultimately is a poor excuse for a love interest). Hugo Weaving, who can be a rather good actor, stumbles here dramatically in trying to capture the villainy of the Red Skull. His accent is poor and hardly sounds German, his goals and motives muddled in symbolism, and his overall character bland and flat. And, being such a string and clever figure in the comics, this iteration feels rather cheap and disappointing. Even the design of his face feels off, as if he should be more frightening in visage. The only enjoyable person in the flick, really, is Tommy Lee Jones as a grumbly general that still seems to make me smile from time to time, despite the cliche of his character. The movie also tries to get us to like some incredibly minor figures in the army, but to no avail. Even with the occasional nod to a couple of minor yet popular comic characters, none of them have the time to do much of anything except show up in the aforementioned montages. And, lastly, Chris Evans... well, he;s admittedly a great actor here. He puts a lot of effort in his personification of the man in red, white, and blue, and comes off as genuine and sincere in his portrayal.
This doesn't mean he's given much to work with, though. Much of the story boils down to the question of what makes a good person, with every situation attempting to reflect it in some manner in order to bolster the super soldier as a fantastic human being all around. I mean, that's Captain America's character in a nutshell really; he's meant to be the epitome of what a man should be in general, especially during this time period. And, because of this, he comes off as almost flawless in who he is beyond a lack of confidence early on. This leaves the film in the awkward place of making us care for a figure with rather minor or forced flaws to work around. And, because the eventual destination is so damned important, it makes the rest of the movie feel like a chore to get over with in order to get to the prized golden egg that is The Avengers. So, symbolism is frequently shoved in our faces, especially at the start, as the movie tries to tell us what the ideal person is before showing Captain America become just that over time, despite the hardships and supposed failures he faces. It feels a bit lack luster and emotionless, especially with such a bland cast of characters.
It's an odd thing to say, but what Captain America: Winter Solider came to realize is how boring of a character Captain America can be and uses this fact to make the movie better. It chooses to no longer focus on the man behind the mask, instead embracing the Super Solider spy adventure it presents us, and it works swimmingly, learning from the mistakes it made here, especially in presenting some more likable people like Black Widow, Falcon, and Nick Fury to the crew. And, while there is still some prevalent symbolism present, it's implemented more subtly, allowing the movie to embrace it rather than to be a square peg hammered into a circular hole.
And I guess it's not entirely fair to pit these two rather different pieces against one another, but the comparison stands out in my mind, as it shows how to properly use a medium that wasn't entirely built off of complex characterization initially. For what it is, it isn't the worst film you could see; there's some great action scenes to crash through and fun moments to be had, but, ultimately, this feels like an excuse to get the good captain onto the field with the rest of the big boys. A necessary piece? Yeah, sure. But a good one? A well-crafted origin story that draws you and gets you hyped for what comes next? Not really, although I can't fault it for trying. (less)

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Buen inicio del universo marvel. Me gusta que muestren escenas sin contexto al principio y que se explique después en la película. Me encanto la realecion Peggy-Steve y Bucky-Steve. Creo que mi escena favorita es la de Steve hablando con Peggy, ella prestandola toda la atención a el y ni mirando a Bucky. Fue mejor la primera mitad de la pelicula que la segunda. Me gustó toda la parte del Steve débil, el entrenamiento, la transformación y cuando recupera a los soldados secuestrados.
Bueno: PEGGY, BUCKY DE LOS 40´.
Malo: cap siendo solo una imágen para promocionar, villano, final

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Cast:

Small Steve Rogers / Captain America
Small Johann Schmidt / The Red Skull
Small Col. Chester Phillips
Small James 'Bucky' Barnes
Small Nick Fury
Small Sharon Carter
Small Howard Stark
Small Abraham Erskine
Small Gabe Jones
Small Dum Dum Dugan
Small Arnim Zola
Small Heinz Kruger
Small Private Lorraine
Small Montgomery Falsworth / Union Jack
Small Roeder
Small Jim Morita
Small SHIELD Agent
Small Autograph Seeker
No_movie_poster Gilmore Hodge
No_movie_poster SHIELD Lieutenant
Small Tower Keeper
No_movie_poster 4F Doctor
No_movie_poster Antique Store Owner
Small Senator Brand
Small Army Heckler
No_movie_poster HYDRA Lieutenant
No_movie_poster Newsreel Announcer
Small General
No_movie_poster Jacques Dernier

Crew:

No_movie_poster Alan Silvestri Original Music Composer
Small Joe Johnston Director
No_movie_poster Stephen McFeely Screenplay
Small Kevin Feige Producer
No_movie_poster Christopher Markus Writer
Small Jack Kirby Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Joe Simon Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Robert Dalva Editing
No_movie_poster Jeffrey Ford Editing

Taglines:

"When patriots become heroes"

Plot:

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a circular object with a red, white and blue motif.


In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt and his men invade Tønsberg, Norway, to steal a mysterious Tesseract possessing untold powers. Meanwhile, in New York City, Steve Rogers is rejected for World War II military duty because of various health and physical problems. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, Rogers again attempts to enlist. Overhearing Rogers' conversation with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited in the Scientific Strategic Reserve as part of a "super-soldier" experiment under Erskine, Col. Chester Phillips, and British agent Peggy Carter. Phillips is unconvinced by Erskine's claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure, but relents after seeing Rogers commit an act of self-sacrificing bravery. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Schmidt underwent an imperfect version of the procedure and suffered side-effects.


Back in Europe, Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola successfully harness the energies of the Tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola's inventions. Schmidt, having discovered Erskine's location, dispatches an assassin to kill him. In America, Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with "vita-rays". After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and more muscular, one of the attendees kills Erskine, revealing himself to be Schmidt's assassin, Heinz Kruger. Rogers pursues and captures Kruger, but the assassin commits suicide by cyanide capsule before he can be interrogated.


With Erskine dead and his super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as "Captain America" to promote war bonds, rather than allow scientists to study him and attempt to rediscover the formula. In 1943, while on tour in Italy performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes' unit was lost in a battle against Schmidt's forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt's HYDRA organization, freeing Barnes and the other captured soldiers. Rogers confronts Schmidt, who reveals his face to be a mask, removing it to display the red, skull-like face that earned him the sobriquet "the Red Skull." Schmidt escapes and Rogers returns to base with the freed soldiers.


Rogers recruits Barnes, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier to attack the other known HYDRA bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, in particular a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, near-indestructible metal. Rogers and his team successfully sabotage various HYDRA operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola. Zola is captured, but Barnes falls from the train to his apparent death. Using information extracted from Zola, the final HYDRA stronghold is located and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using weapons of mass destruction on American cities. Rogers clambers aboard Schmidt's aircraft as it takes off. During the subsequent fight, the Tesseract's container is damaged. Schmidt physically handles the Tesseract, causing him to dissolve in a bright light. The Tesseract falls to the floor, burning through the plane and falling to Earth. Seeing no way to land the plane without the risk of detonating its weapons, Rogers crashes it in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the Tesseract from the ocean floor, but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft.


Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing from an anachronistic radio broadcast that something is wrong, he flees outside into what is revealed to be present-day Times Square in New York City, where S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury tells him he has been "asleep" for nearly 70 years.


In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers, proposing a mission with worldwide ramifications.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2011-07-22 : United States of America

theatrical : 2011-08-12 : India

DVD : 2011-10-25