As a movie, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) is an okay action movie, World War II period piece, and Nazi pulp film, albeit it’s in the Marvel Universe, which contains advanced technology, Gods, and other comic book themes.
My wife liked Captain America; this was her first exposure to the character. Chris Evans helped, I guess. I got over Chris Evans being the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch real quick.
My main gripe is that Evans’ Captain America is not an Enneagram Personality Type 3 (which is also the personality of the U.S.). This is the second time he injected a different personality into his role. The first time he played Human Torch as an Enneagram Type 8, whereas Johnny Storm is an Enneagram Type 9 in the comic books.
So, hate to break a NEWSFLASH to the studio and to Evans, but Captain America is kinda like Superman (also a Three) and has always been introduced as such. Now granted, retroactive continuity over the years has asserted that Steve Rogers (Cap) was not a stereotypical Enneagram Type 3 when he was a young 90-pound weakling. The Super Soldier Serum truly enhanced/changed him. But Evans seems to have just added confidence to his version of Cap, as opposed to truly changing his core personality.
My other gripe was the The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is pretty much a stock villain. The definite Captain America writer- the late Mark Gruenwald- gave depth, motivation, and sympathy for this devil. As much as Weaving played Johan Schmidt as a hated character, there is more to Schmidt than just being power hungry.
Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillip (no, I am not making his name up) is your standard “General Ross” (from Hulk) performance.
Peggy Carter- Cap’s love interest- Hayley Atwell is your generic strong woman in a romance character.
This is a standard Hollywood production. If I sound too negative, let me write about the positives:
Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) dad plays a major role in this movie. The 2012 Avengers movie has been set up very well. The Red Skull is after the Cosmic Cube in Cap, which is shown in Thor. Maybe Loki and The Red Skull will team up. Bucky was in the movie, although he didn’t play a Robin-pastiche. The Howling Commandos fight with Cap in WWII, sans Nick Fury. Dum Dum is great.
The special effects and action sequences are outstanding. For what this movie sets out to be, it succeeds. It’s pretty much a retro pulp action movie.
If you were expecting a “man out of time” film with Captain America being thawed out of ice in 2011, you will be disappointed. You can’t blame me for thinking that because that’s how the movie started. Instead, 96% of the movie a WWII flashback.
If you were expecting a deep tale where Cap is mulling over the rights of the People vs Government, and debates the concepts of liberty vs patriotism, I assure you none of that is present here.
Captain America is a wholesome retro action flick, loaded with cliches. One of the reasons why Marvel took so long to come out with a Cap movie was because Generation X and Generation Y don’t really have an ounce of blind patriotism or loyalty in their blood. A guy in flag spandex and no machine gun doesn’t sound marketable. You would think with the U.S. involved in two major wars post 9/11 that Marvel would have already pushed Captain America before, but it’s apparently a touchy concept- which is a shame. As a flashback movie against the ultimate evil, there is no offending Islamic fanatics or bleeding heart politically correct liberals with this movie. Marvel chose to play it safe. The movie isn’t jingoistic; in fact Steve Rogers acts like a pacifist.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 79% and the fans give it a 79%, and I am right around there, maybe 74%. I loved Thor. Cap was OK. The movie itself was well directed and produced. As someone who has every Captain America comic, I believe the writers chose to base the character from the Ultimate Marvel Universe instead of the Golden, Silver, or Modern Age Cap. I didn’t see homages to the fantastic 1980′s Gruenwald run or the critically acclaimed Mark Waid run from what is now a couple of decades ago.
This isn’t even Golden Age Cap, who really hated Nazis.
In short, I am cocky enough to say that I could have put out a better script that would have made Cap into the ultimate American symbol. Cap is a living legend- Uncle Sam come to “life”. More realistically, I am 100% sure a comic book writer could have done it better than the guys they hired.
Again, I know I sound like I’m ripping this movie to shreds, but it is enjoyable for what it is, and frustrating to me (as a BIG Captain America fan) for what it’s not.
If you have no frame of reference with Cap (or perhaps just a casual experience), you’ll walk away saying “That was pretty good. Not as good as Iron Man, of course, but it was a good diversion.”
I remember Cap as leader of the Avengers, a man out of time (the elder statesman who doesn’t understand today’s culture), a hero who is larger than life, a mentor, Marvel’s version of Batman, a man with so much unlimited willpower that he repaired his broken shield by thinking about it, a man who would rather quit than be used by the federal government, a hero who stood up against a skewed Tony Stark in Civil War, to perhaps his most emotional appearance- his death in Earth-X. I didn’t feel any of that in this movie.
I concede I was looking for things that weren’t there. This is the minority report, okay? Cap is a good movie for kids- the violence isn’t that bad, cursing is kept to the minimum, and no sex.
Marvel has another hit on their hands.