Movie Review - Captain America: The First Avenger

The film's tag line asks us to "Discover the Origin of the First Avenger" and discover we do. Set across two distinct time periods, Marvel Studio's latest blockbuster, Captain America: The First Avenger, takes us back in time to Europe and the United States in the 1940's. It is here that we meet our eponymous hero Steve Roger's, a 5 foot tall weakling who so desperately wants to join the fight against Nazi's and bullies across the world.

Director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, Jurassic Park 3, October Sky) takes the helm in this last Marvel film before next years release of The Avengers, and what a blockbuster that is shaping up to be! Continue on after the jump for my review and a few sneak peak videos.

Steve Roger's is a weak and sickly young man who has been bullied his entire life and yet never ran away from a fight. Although frail and feeble, his heart and spirit are as big as any mans. This is the overriding theme throughout the film. Although he eventually gains incredible powers through Dr Erkine's (Stanley Tucci) "Super Soldier" program, he is still the same big hearted kid from Brooklyn, although now he has the ability to take the fight to those bullies. It was good to see that Cap wasn't portrayed as a "Nazi killer" but was instead shown to be a beacon of hope and a soldier of justice. A strong performance by Chris Evans, who is no stranger to super hero flicks, made the character all the more endearing and a worthy leader of the Avenger's moving forward. He is the mild mannered, well grounded centrepiece that will give direction to the cocky Tony Stark/Iron Man, out of control Hulk and the pompous God of Thunder, Thor.

The initial scenes show Steve Rogers as a waif who is unable to get enlisted into the US Army. Reportedly, this role was performed by Evans and had his body mass and height digitally altered frame by frame, no body doubles were used. In hindsight, this is a noticeably conscious decision as Evan's body language remains consistent throughout. For a dreamboat action star, Evans provides a solid performance as the Hydra bashing Cap and also as a confused man out of time in present day New York City. Chris Evans created a hero that every person should aspire to be. A strong and passionate leader who fights for the liberties and justice of his fellow man. His love interest, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), is a strong willed classic beauty with a mean right hook. One of my favourite actors, Hugo Weaving (and he's Aussie!), plays the maniacal and power hungry Johann Schmidt. As a high level player in Hitler's army he strived for power through research into the occult. This left him horribly deformed yet super powered, ruling the clandestine "Hydra" as The Red Skull. Weaving is an angry and honestly scary guy, with or without the Red Skull prosthetics. A number of other fantastic performances by the likes of Tommy Lee Jones (Colonel Phillips), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes) and of course Stanley Tucci make for a solid ensemble cast that teetered on the verge of being a little to busy although just managed to prioritise the screen time to the main players. Even our beloved Generalissimo, Stan "The Man" Lee gets his head in there for his mandatory cameo.

The action throughout is a big punch in the face. Cap wields his shield like a deadly frisbee, knocking Hydra soldiers for six as he goes. There were plenty of explosions, fisticuffs and cool vehicles to keep the action pundits happy. Of note is the Red Skull's personal vehicle. It is without a doubt the coolest car since the Bat-Mobile! The action is great and can be judged solely on this fact however the film shines as a very solid last step on the yellow brick road leading to Joss Whedon's "The Avengers". Speaking of which, be sure to stay until after the credits for a taste of what's to come. Captain America: The First Avenger is a must watch for anyone who enjoyed Marvel Studio's previous films, Thor and Iron Man. A thoroughly enjoyable film. The only downside is the 12 month wait to see him back on the big screen.

Captain America: The First Avenger hits Australian cinemas on Thursday July 28, 2011.


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