Chris Evans embodies the spirit of Captain America as the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces us to the super soldier from Brooklyn.
A brief prologue in Norway introduces us to Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) and his quest for the Tesseract. Shortly thereafter, we go stateside to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in New York. Rogers is a sickly young man but he’s not one to give up. It does not matter how many times the army turns him down because he’ll try again. Not even best friend James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is able to talk him out of this.
Rogers’ life changes when Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) recruits him into the Strategic Scientific Reserve’s super soldier program. Dr. Erskine runs this together with Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and British agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). While Phillips has his doubts initially, Rogers grows on him. While the experiment with vita-rays is a success, Dr. Erskine loses his life due to a H.Y.D.R.A. spy (Richard Armitage). It’s here when we can truly start to see the effects of the serum on Rogers because’s his abilities have changed in a manner of minutes.
But Rogers still isn’t allowed to be shipped off to war just yet. Nope, he’s asked to serve on a different mission: the war bonds campaign. This tour takes him to Italy and this is where Steve Rogers truly becomes Captain America. Aided by Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and Carter, Rogers takes it upon himself to rescue Bucky. Not only does he free Bucky but he frees the other Allied forces before confronting Schmitt, who reveals himself to be Red Skull.
Before we know it, Cap and Bucky take out the other H.Y.D.R.A. bases with the help of Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier. Many of these men would make up the Howling Commandos. While Cap and the team are able to locate Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), Bucky falls to his supposed death. Cap goes after Red Skull in order to save the world. The two duke it out on the plane before the Tesseract takes Red Skull into a warmhole and subsequently falls into the ocean. As for Cap, he has to crash land the plane only to be frozen as a man out of time some seventy years later.
Captain America marks a redemption of sorts for Evans, who previously starred in Fantastic Four. For all intents and purposes, he is the character. He’s the one who you want leading the charge in the fight. We see his leadership in his performance.
Musically speaking, Alan Silvestri’s score perfectly complements the film. The soundtrack is of course highlighted by Alan Menken and David Zippel’s contribution, “Star-Spangled Man.” With Marvel having been purchased by Disney just a few short years before, it is nice to see them make great use of the Disney legend so quickly.
But from a direction standpoint, Joe Johnston is the right man for the job. He’s no stranger to the 1940s time period either. After all, he served as the visual effects art director for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s mostly because of this that we get the early throwaway reference to that film. Moreover, the film requires someone who can direct not only an action film but the period film, too.
Captain America: The First Avenger is the movie that we need it to be in order to introduce Steve Rogers as the leader we need.
DIRECTOR: Joe Johnston
SCREENWRITERS: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
CAST: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Bruno Ricci, JJ Feild, Kenneth Choi, Richard Armitage, and Stanley Tucci