Captain America: The First Avenger 3D
Out Now On-Demand
Action-adventure adaptation of the Marvel comic series, set in 1942, directed by Joe Johnson (The Rocketeer, The Wolfman).
After being deemed unfit for military service in WWII, a scrawny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans from Fantastic Four) volunteers for a top secret science project that turns him into Captain America, a super-soldier dedicated to defending justice and democracy against the Nazis.
The Captain's strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability and healing are at the highest limits of natural human potential. The WWII confrontations lead to the ultimate foe in Red Skull (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix), Hitler's treacherous head of advanced weaponry, whose own plan for world domination involves a magical object known as The Tesseract.
Action, Adaptation, Adventure, War, Superhero
Rating: M contains violence
Like with Fox’s X-Men: First Class, there’s a buzz from seeing a superhero flick play out in a period setting. Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger reaches back to the early ‘40s, pitting the Captain against the Nazis. It’s all very Indiana Jones and director Joe Johnston reaches back to his days working on both Jones and 1991’s The Rocketeer to envisage bright, vivid retro-futurist design.
There are tie-ins to other Marvel properties, naturally. The Cosmic Cube links to Thor, while Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark (a Downey Jr-ish Dominic Cooper), has plenty to do as an inventor/designer on the payroll of the US government. The film’s climax is, unfortunately a bit of a whimper, saving any loose ends for The Avengers film next year, where all established heroes will finally get to fight alongside each other.
It’s the unique moments in Captain America that leave an impression. A highlight is a sequence where the Captain, with nothing better to do, is suited up and sent around the country performing a song-and-dance routine in a stage show. It’s a meta-moment; kids are shown reading Captain America comic books as the man becomes a propaganda figurehead for the war effort.
It would have been ideal to have more moments like these in what is otherwise a fairly standard origin tale. Nonetheless, flawless effects – including making a pre-captain Chris Evans look like a twig – plus top performances from the likes of Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving and Tommy Lee Jones, ensure an old-fashioned quality to this appealing matinee-style adventure.
Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)
Christchurch Press (Margaret Agnew)
New York Times
NZ Herald (Russell Baillie)
Total Film (UK)
Good old fashioned fun
After The Wolfman I was delighted to see Joe Johnston back on form with an entertaining romp which abandoned this incessant need to make comic book movies either dark or ironic, and instead went back to the roots of what it is to be a comic book hero. It was like a good old fashioned adventure in the style of Indiana Jones or Superman with a little Inglorious Basterds, it flaunted it's fun with an innocent charm, it felt like a movie of traditions, and Chris Evans was perfectly cast as this hero, the every man, the little guy with a big heart. When I first saw the trailer I wasn't quite sure he could pull it off, the CGI of the little Steve Rogers jarred with his bold, commanding voice and I thought, alongside Hugo Weaving as Red Skull, it was going to be another campy comic book caper in the model of The Spirit. However, I was surprised, from the moment you first see Rogers, you can relate with him, he is just a guy, a guy you can root for, and Evans pulled it off marvelously. With that initial hurdle over I was willing to follow it wherever Johnston was willing to take it, and with a tight script and some fine performances all round (even Weaving's character manages to avoid the camp factor somehow), it was entertaining fun from start to finish.
Of course there were a few flaws to the movie, mostly down to it's obvious setting up of The Avengers movie, it felt less so like an origins story and more like a prequel. It felt like it was the precursor to the real thing coming next year, and that it was holding back a little. And as well as being a little to derivative of previous movies, it also sagged a little in the middle after an awesome introduction, falling back on montages of Rogers in action rather than trying to expand the story a little more. But still, these were not major issues as for the most part it was just what one could hope for in a blockbuster, it was a pure comic book movie, an underdog movie which upheld the little guy, a movie which praised bravery and was full of heart and patriotism, and most importantly, it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Fun 40s set for brainless entertainment
Good, old-fashioned fun superhero movie that makes you wanna have a slice of (american) apple pie afterwards. Recommended but 3D totally unnecessary. Stay til after the credit for an extra vid clip & Avengers trailer
better than green lantern, but not as good as Thor