It looks like the box office is going to be good for new movie Captain America: The FirstAvenger. This new movie release is the best superhero movie released this year but superhero movies this year haven’t been all that good. Star Chris Evans has a great superhero physique and the story is somewhat like a newer “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The new Harry Potter release is going to be Captain America: The First Avenger’s biggest competition until “The Avengers” opens in 2012.
Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, a guy who enlists in a top secret experiment after he’s passed over by the military. He’s a featherweight boxer from Brooklyn. Stanley Tucci plays Dr. Abraham Erskine who is the doctor who turns Evans into a muscle-bund soldier. When Rogers is all ready to fight, the government decides he’d be better off hawking war bonds in music revues. But then the intrepid Rogers crosses the enemies lines to rescue his buddy Bucky Barmes, played by Sebastian Stan, and his platoon as well. At that point Colonel Phillips, played by Tommy Lee Jones, makes him a regular soldier and then a fighter in the battle against HYDRA. HYDRA is a group of Nazis run by Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving.
Director Joe Johnston’s last two movies, “Hidalgo” and “The Wolfman,” were box office flops, according to movie reviews. Fans have been wondering if Johnston will be able to do a good job of bringing Marvel’s last big superhero to life on the big screen. And with Captain America, he did. He’s back to the same heights as he was with “Rocketeer” – conjuring up Americana without going overboard. He makes Cap a real everyman. Cap is the regular guy who has to learn to live with is superpowers and the film has that same “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” attitude. Evans, with the help of Johnston, plays his qualities straight creating a real guy who is a hero, rather than a hero with human qualities.
What makes “Captain America” very special is the romance in the plot. The romance is part of the plot – not a side note. Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, a British agent. She does a good job of holding her own against the rest of the cast in this mainly male film. The low-key way in which the romance starts and builds to the obvious conclusion adds a special dimension to this movie picture. However, because the director needs to get the movie out of its WWII time period to the present, certain aspects of the movie suffer and the romance may be hit the hardest.
The one big problem that “Captain America” suffers from is this rush to change time periods. The beginning of the movie is better than most of its type but you soon feel that push that signals the advent of another franchise. Because “Captain America” is the immediate predecessor to “The Avengers” means that there will be no more Captain America movies set in the 1940s. This is disappointing.
Johnston doesn’t show the chops that Spielberg does but he’s quite good at four-quadrant entertainment. However, it should be noted that the technology used to make Steve Rogers look like a weakling (ala Benjamin Button), tends to make Evan’s head look like a painted balloon stuck on a stick figure. That said, Captain America is sure to hold your attention and that’s a lot better than you’ll find in most of the other Marvel movies. It’s one of this year’s bestaction movies – but mostly because the others are so bad.