Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger (3D)

Greatest American Hero

Director: Joe Johnston
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Joe Simon, Jack Kirby
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Stanley Tucci

SYNOPSIS: After being rejected from the armed forces, 90 lb. weakling Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret government project to create an army of super soldiers against the Nazi aggressors during World War II.

REVIEW: Joe Johnston, the director of The Rocketeer and, most recently, The Wolfman (2010) takes a script from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the screenplay writing team of The Chronicles of Narnia film series, and brings to life the origin tale of Captain America, the heart and honor of the Marvel Universe. Captain America: The First Avenger looks to shake off horrible television movies of the late 1970s with Reb Brown in the title role or an all-but-forgotten 1990 foreign made, direct-to-USA-video version that only the most die-hard fans would remember.

Chris Evans, the big-screen Johnny Storm of the Marvel Universe in the two most recent Fantastic Four films, faced questions as to whether he could wield the Star-Spangled shield. Would the movie-going public believe that Evans would be accepted for both the "Flame On!" hothead of Marvel's first family, and as the United States Government's first successful Super Soldier (some comics may debate the title of Steve Rogers being actually the first, but I digress)?

Comic book fans will have to make a decision. They will have to decide if they are willing to accept the revised origins of the Star Spangled Avenger. Sure, puny 90 lb Steve Rogers is still rejected from serving his country in World War II, but given an opportunity to volunteer for the top secret Super Soldier program. But the modern day return of the hero is marked by a Marvel Ultimates treatment. Is it sacrilege or smarter writing?

Joe Johnston, director knows his way around the graphically created Summer superhero fare, high stakes action flicks, and period pieces. With The Rocketeer, he handled all three. Now with Captain America: The First Avenger, he returns to the genre from where he received so much acclaim so many years ago.

Driven by the character as much as the action, Chris Evans’ Captain America, in my opinion, does the industry, the fans, and Summer movie-going proud. The women will love the fact that he shows more muscle and more skin than Ryan Reynolds did in this year’s earlier release, Green Lantern. With the bulk, blue eyes, and the Red, White and Blue, Evans brings a solemn responsibility and dedication to fighting for his country’s ideals, as well as his ideals. The effect of Steve Rogers as the pre-Super Soldier and his post-serum physiques really make the film!

And with any great superhero film, or any hero film for that matter, the villain is just as important as the hero. Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt, the ambitious scientist heading up Hitler’s Deep Science Division with his own aspirations for ultimate power and world domination, is picture perfect in tone and look. The make-up effects for this specific evil-doer is probably the best I have ever seen.

Also in the cast is the beautiful tough-as-nails British agent and sparking love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Childhood friend James ‘Bucky’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan), gritty Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), United States weapons contractor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Hydra weapons designer Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), and the Howling Commandos with derby wearing ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James Montgomery Falsworth (JJ Field) and Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci).

Johnston and writers Markus and McFeely weave an excellent origin tale, spanning Steve Rogers humble beginnings to his rebirth in the 21st Century. Comic fans will enjoy the Easter Eggs at the 1942 Worlds Fair and Exhibition – Toro!, Toro!, the use of Captain Rogers as a propaganda patriot in the period equivalent of the classic Captain America costume to drum up the buying of war bonds, and Rogers unwavering attitude to protect his friends, soldiers and country from the outstretched clutches of the Axis. The action is slick, hard and fast. The look is as classic as any ‘Rosey the Riveter’ or ‘Uncle Sam - I Want You’ poster.

Fans and newcomers should find Captain America: The First Avenger as good as Favreau’s original Iron Man, and better than Thor (sorry, Thunder God). Funny, fresh and faithful to several comic treatments, Steve Rogers fights for truth, justice and the American way of life, throwing his mighty shield, and proving that a hero can have a heart and honor.

Even though Jon Favreau added the Easter Egg scene after Iron Man's credits as a lark, the end credit closing scene has become a part of the Marvel Universe on film. Stay in your seats to see a closing scene with Steve Rogers, as well as a trailer for next Summer’s The Avengers.

WORTH: Friday Night Opening and BluRay


  1. I wasn't going to go see this "comic book" movie since I generally stay away from this type of film (and haven't we been flooded with them lately?), but I saw the movie based on your review. I enjoyed it a lot. We can all identify with the "little" guy and because of that, we want him to succeed. Good, fun, entertaining flick with heart and emotion.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed the review and the film.

    An article in Entertainment Weekly also discussed the flood of comic book movies, almost with distain. What we should all take away from any comic book movie converted to film is this... a comic book superhero is only as good as the story, the cast, and the director make it.