With The Winter Soldier in theatres I thought it might be nice to look back at the first Captain America film. I will review/dicuss The Winter Soldier later on in the week after more people have seen so I can go into detail. Yes, there will be spoilers for both the movie and the graphic novel.
Captain America: The First Avenger is my favorite of the movies from Marvel Studios, and one of my favorite of all the Marvel films. Yes, I liked it even more than The Avengers, don’t shoot me.
Captain America and Spider-Man were my favorite Marvel characters when I was a kid way back in the 1970s. Why Cap? I don’t really know. I am somewhat patriotic, but I am definately not jingoistic… and neither is Cap. I guess that’s what I get for growing up in the 70s.
I really like Cap’s shield, in fact, I think it’s one of the coolest superhero accessories. I had the Mego action figure as a child; I even had Captain America Underoos. Thankfully there are no pictures.
I like Captain America partly because of the “man out of time” aspect. Here was a guy who fought in World War II, and then woke up decades later in a brand new world. I like the fact that Cap has a long history as a character. He is one of the few Marvel characters that has been around almost as long as some of the ones from DC.
One of the best things, for me at least, about The First Avenger was the inclusion of Tony Stark’s father, Howard. It gives Captain America and Iron Man a connection, albeit a tenuous one. And, as we learned in Iron Man 2, Nick Fury also knew Howard. It seems that everyone knew him better than Tony. I can relate to that, but that’s another story for another time.
I really liked the fact that so much of The First Avenger took place during World War II. Marvel could have set the story in the present and shown bits and pieces of Cap’s origin story in flashbacks. It was a smart move to save Cap’s first modern day adventure for The Avengers.
If I did have a complaint about The First Avenger it would be that I thought Bucky’s death seemed a bit random. It all happened rather quickly as well. The arguement could be made that the way it happened was in keeping with the vagaries of war, and to make it overly melodramatic wouldn’t be in keeping with the overall tone of the film.
I thought Chris Evans did a great job as both Steve Rogers and Captain America. Rogers just wanted to do his part for his country during a difficult time, and after the transformation took place he wanted to be a good soldier. As Captain America he became a symbol, but he wanted to be far more than that. The scenes where Cap was traveling around promoting war bonds could have decended into camp, but Evans played them with sincerity, and it was the wise choice.
Marvel almost always does an excellent job with casting, even with the supporting characters. I also think that they make the female characters interesting, and far more than damsels in distress, which they could have easily done considering that the bulk of the The First Avenger was set in the 1940s.
Haley Atwell was perfect as Agent Peggy Carter. I loved the part where punched the jerk who was making inappropriate comments toward her. There has been talk of a possible Agent Carter television series, and I would like to see it happen. I would also like to see Marvel bring Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel to the big screen. Alas, that is another story for another time.