Captain America beats his foes red, white and blue

Captain America beats his foes red, white and blue

Worth It
Aug 11, 2011
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So, case the Marvel brand of comics has been slowly building up its arsenal of great comic-book-inspired films leading up to their big 2012 release, The Avengers. This summer we have two more entries. Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. I caught the latter recently and wasn’t disappointed.

The film begins in the Arctic (current day), where a crew of scientists unearth a downed aircraft wedged beneath the ice. To their amazement, inside they find the lost shield of Captain America *gasp*! From there we go back in time to WWII, where Nazi officer, Schmidt (played by Agent Smith with a German accent), destroys a Norwegian church in order to steal a supposed “magical” tesseract that contains untold power. Of course, the fiendish Schmidt intends to harness its energy and finish what Hitler was too stupid to complete. Meanwhile, back in the good ol’ US of A, a puny but ambitious Steve Rogers is desperately trying to get into the army. He is so passionate about the cause, so determined to commit his life to the effort that he continually falsifies his applications in order to get another chance to be enlisted. Unfortunately, he is too small, weak and sickly and is continually rejected. But one fateful day a military scientist overhears Rogers passionately waxing about his desire to serve his country and decides this kid would be perfect for his “Super Soldier” program. Cue music, camera pans through retro-science facility, a nervous Steve Rogers enters the pod and is injected with an experimental serum that will enhance his body to super-human proportions. The pod opens moments later to reveal a super-ripped Chris Evans, greased up and ready to kick some Nazi-butt.

That’s essentially how this comic-film begins. Then it kicks into high gear and never let’s up. Captain America: The First Avenger is a tonne of fun without sacrificing solid characters, interesting plot lines and even some emotional punch. The script is the solid foundation on which Joe Johnston directs an exciting and engaging film. Steve Rogers as a character is extremely likeable. He’s generous, humble and self-sacrificing. Seeing him go from a tiny bag of bones to a massively pumped super-hero is something most of can relate to. It’s what we all want, right? Everyone would love to take their one weakest attribute and have it turned upside down so that we can show the world what we’re really capable of. And so, with Steve Rogers as the central character, the audience is instantly engaged, emotionally committed.

Like all great summer blockbusters, this film has action-sequences coming out the whazoo. But what makes it an excellent comic-film, not just a fun summer smash, is that it takes the time to develop the central figures. We actually care about Steve Rogers and his love interest, Peggy Carter. We actually loathe the demented Schmidt as he spirals into madness in his pursuit of world-domination. And we actually hang on, scene by scene waiting to see what happens next. In some ways it is formulaic, but it does it so well that you get caught up in the excitement and never mind just how route it is being.

If you’re a comic-nerd who loves the whole Avenger’s brand, then I’m sure you’ll be thrilled with this instalment by Marvel. And if you’re an average joe, I’m sure you’ll be just as enthused and satisfied with Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s full of heart, amazing action and good ol’ patriotism, to boot.

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Craig the Critic

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