Review by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2011
DIRECTOR: Joe Johnston
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Shelly Johnson
WRITERS: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
MUSIC: Alan Silvestri
Before we were on the road to “Infinity War”, we were simply on the road to “The Avengers” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” was the last piece of the puzzle on that road. Chris Evans confidently takes on the role of Steve Rogers, the man who would become Captain America. The movie is also a period piece reminding us that Captain America is a man out of time.
For those who don’t know about Captain America, Rogers is a frail young man with several ailments that keep him from enlisting in order to fight in WWII. One day, a scientist named Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) sees Rogers’ courage and signs him up for the Super Soldier program. After being transformed into the nearly indestructible Captain America, Erskine is killed and Cap is the only Super Soldier that is created.
The movie may be exciting, but it is a flawed piece mostly due to the fact that they have to rush Captain America’s World War II storyline in order to get him into the ice for “The Avengers”. This was also the main problem I had with the movie back in 2011 as I wanted to see more interactions between Cap and his archenemy, Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).
Once again, the villain is shortchanged as Red Skull is really nothing more than a Nazi that Cap has to stop. There is not enough of a personal connection between the two beyond the fact that they both took part in an experiment that changed them forever. I wished there had been more of a personal stake between the two iconic characters.
In addition to the rushed storyline and the weak villain, the movie also contains some pretty shaky special-effects. Unlike other MCU films, the effects make it look like the film was shot on the cheap instead of with the $140 million budget it was reported to have. They’re not the worst effects ever, but they just look noticeably weaker than those found in other MCU films.
While the film does rush to its conclusion, the movie is still pretty action packed and ultimately fun despite its flaws. We get to know who Rogers really is and how he is a true leader. We are introduced to other elements from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as the fact that one of Rogers’ allies is Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), the father of Iron Man.
Despite some questionable special-effects, director Joe Johnston does do a good job at setting up a tone that is reminiscent of WWII films of its day. It was also good to see that Marvel didn’t just ignore Cap’s true origins and it does lead to some further conflicts when he returns in both “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War”.
“The First Avenger” is a flawed, imperfect film. Still, while it may not be as strong as other MCU entries, I still had a good time with the movie thanks to a confident performance by Evans and some genuinely fun moments.