Captain America: The First Avenger is the last solo movie in the MCU’s phase one slate. With outstanding sequels, Winter soldier and Civil War, does the Cap origin story hold up against them or does it feel like a man out of time?
Whenever the first Captain America movie came out, I have to say that I wasn’t that excited for it. It came across very patriotic to America and a big war heavy. Although I am happy to say that after I watched it the first time, those worries were put to rest. Now, over half a decade later, I went back and watched it again, and I have to say; this movie is just great! It’s fun, entertaining and in the best possible way, an easy watch.
The casting of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers was spot on, he nails the smaller framed man perfectly, even if its not his body. You feel the struggle he faces and his passion to overcome it. It could very easily come across as cheesy, but the way Chris plays it, and the way it’s written, makes it feel natural, and honest. His relationship with Bucky and Agent Carter didn’t feel forced and you felt that this guy, who had been fighting to belong his whole life, deserved these kind and genuine people in his life.
The Red Skull was also another great part of the film. This came out at a time where we, as the audience, weren’t tired of seeing a villain who’s power set was the same as the hero. So having Captain America and the Red Skull have similar origin stories, was nice and helps drive home the differences between the two. It showed that the evil Red Skull felt, was mirrored by the goodness within Cap. It is crazy to think that a Red Skull faced Nazi didn’t feel stupid or out of place in a movie like this. While I did like the fact that his demise was left open for a possible return, looking back at it now, I kind of feel that they should have killed him off rather than using the tesseract to send him away.
The story at its core was fairly simply. Stop the bad Nazi from taking over the world, but having a movie set in the 1940s, there wasn’t really any other direction to take it. Captain America was created out of a necessity to stop war so having him fight it was kind of his purpose. The story was easy to follow and characters likable. The humor by Tommy Lee Jones was great, and helps break up the war time feeling. This type of humor is something I do miss from current MCU movies. His lines felt like a conversation, not a space for a punchline like many do today.
While there was a lot to love about this movie, it isn’t perfect and I have to say that the CGI in the movie really isn’t excusable. When Bucky is falling to his death, the CGI is so bad, its laughable. This is a scene that is meant to tug on the heart strings, but it ends up feeling like a 60s era TV show. Some of the action set pieces weren’t great either, when Tommy Lee Jones, Cap and Agent Carter are racing the plane, it felt green screen and didn’t have the gravity I think the director wanted. This is obviously due to lower budgets, but Iron man came out years before this and his CGI felt a lot more natural.
VERDICT: MINOR SURGERY
While it is easy to say that this is the worst of the Captain America trilogy, I feel that would be a disservice to it. It’s a great movie with great character moments and world building. It was a movie I had never thought about re-watching before doing this review, but after watching again, I can say that I enjoyed it a lot more than some recent Marvel movies, cough cough Ragnarok.