Captain America: The First Avenger

Posted: October 12, 2017 in Movies
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Captain America: The First Avenger is a cracking cineamtic debut for one of Marvel comics most beloved and enduring characters. Who better to usher him in than Joe Johnston! Johnston has directed some great movies over the course of his career with family friendly fun in the form of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, summer blockbusters with Jumanji and Jurassic Park 3 to smaller, more character focused dramas like October Sky. As a director he has a wide pallet and he brings a bit of everything to Captain America and makes it work.

The movie follows Steve Rogers, a young Brooklyn guy who wants to enlist in the second world war and stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves. From the moment we meet Steve you see his heart is in the right place but the reality of his stature means he has to stay home while his buddy and others are cleared to join the fight. That is until a chance encounter at the World’s Fair ends with Steve given the oppertunity to take part in a experimental procedure that transforms his body and Captain America is born. Meanwhile the evil Hydra, led by the deadly Red Skull, have begun to lay waste to Europe via the power of a mysterious stone that grants them technological advantages that could see the whole world in ruin. It is up to Captain America and his allies to take down the Red Skull and Hydra!

Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers is brilliant. As an actor this guy has a wide range and he gets to show it here. With a less talented actor in the role the film could have failed and come off as nothing more than a cheese fest but thanks to Evans that isn’t the case. Hugo Weaving as Red Skull is very good. Tommy Lee Jones puts in great support as super dry Colonel Chester Phillips. Sebastian Stan begins to cement his role in the MCU, his character Bucky had to hit home due to the role he would go on to play and Stan achives that. Last but not least Hayley Atwell almost steals the damn movie in what is a winning role as Agent Peggy Carter. Carter aids Steve throughout the film and her no nonsense and kick ass attitude is backed up by a ton of charisma. Johnston and co. put together one great cast here and it’s a pleasure to see them all do great work together.

The special effects work on display – practical and CGI – is some of the greatest work I’ve seen but not in the obvious areas. Somehow the CGI used to blend actor Chris Evan’s head onto a smaller actors body (if that is what they did!) looks seamless! It’s mindblowing stuff. Major credit needs to go to the film’s set and art dirction which makes the movie feel and look as if it could have come out of Hollywood during the golden age of movies, evoking the look and feel of America circa 1940/50’s. All of the little and at times not so little historical touches really hit home for me because I love that era of cinema and history.

When it comes to the action Johnston and his team are top notch. Each action sequence in the film is well shot and easy to follow. There is no frantic cutting or manic editing that leaves you feeling confused as to what the hell is going on. Likewise the set pieces range from one on one showdowns to all out assaults on land and in the air with each sequence looking as if it was effortless to capture. That’s the sign of a talented director and great action. It should look effortless but the reality is that capturing that feel is anything but!

Here’s the thing with Captain America: The First Avenger, I feel like it’s criminally underrated. In 2017 the MCU is big and filled with good to great movies. As time goes on it’s going to get bigger but I hope this one doesn’t fall off the radar because, for me at least, I think this is one of the purest comic book movies ever made. Much in the same way as Donner did with Superman I feel like Johnston has directed from the heart, respected the source and delivered a boss comic book movie that now arguably seems small in comparison to say Winter Soldier or Civil War yet in other ways stands above both.



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