The summer of superhero movies continued this weekend with the blockbuster release of Captain America: The First Avenger. Perhaps a chancy move, opening the weekend after Harry Potter, the latest superhero film rose to the top of the box office. Showing in over 3,000 theaters on Friday, Captain America made an impressive $25.8 million for the day as Deathly Hollows Part 2 dropped 84% in ticket sales.
“I wanted this [movie] to stand apart from the rest of the very crowded summer,” said Director Joe Johnston in a HitFix interview. “And I think it does. Fans will find much more than they usually [do] in this kind of film.”
Weighing in at extremely skinny, with a height of short, and a stamina of nothing, Steve Rogers has been rejected from the WWII draft five times. Determined to do his part for America, he returns to the registration station a final time where he meets Dr. Abraham Erskine. Seeing through the imperfections to Steve’s heart and potential, the Doctor gives him the chance to join up. After days of grueling training and tests, Steve wins the begrudging respect of the authorities and his peers. Finally, Dr. Erskine reveals his plan and deems Steve worthy of becoming Captain America, the super-soldier. The war wages on as the newly minted Captain comes to terms with his new powers. When word reaches him that Bucky, a lifelong friend, has been captured, Steve sets out to destroy the evil Red Skull regime and truly become Captain America.
“The nature of this character, who he is, is different. He is very earnest and upfront…” said Johnston of the Steve Rogers/Captain America character. “There is nothing cynical about him….I think that audiences are ready for something like this….I think we’re ready for a guy who just wants to do the right thing.”
Appearing first on comic book covers in March of 1941, just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain America became a manifestation of patriotism and bravery in a time of war. When the war ended, the Captain was tucked away until the 1960s when his story was successfully revived. During this era, the hero sought “…the meaning of freedom in a time where patriotism may not be quite the same thing as unquestioning loyalty to political leaders,” reads superherostuff.com.
Captain America’s motivations have changed once more with the times in this new film version. Though he still proudly wears the American flag, the relationships he builds with people and doing the right thing by them is closest to his heart. Played by Chris Evans, Captain America is able to capture the values young and old comic fans need to survive in today’s world: perseverance, loyalty, dedication, and confidence.
“This was a normal guy who lived for the majority of his life as a normal guy – struggling, fighting, always getting the short end of the stick,” said Chris Evans in a Flicks and Bits interview. “In spite of all these negative elements in his day to day life, he’s managed to become a good man; he manages to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.”
Captain America: The First Avenger not only concludes the pre-Avenger films, but grossed the highest opening weekend amount compared to the other 2011 superhero films, barely beating out fellow avenger Thor. The long awaited The Avengers film is set to release in May of next year. Check out this short featurette revealing the final cast.