Out of the many comic book superheroes, men seem to have a partiality to Captain America. After viewing the newest comic book to action movie flick: Captain America: The First Avenger, the reasoning seems obvious.
Steve Rogers isn’t just a normal guy… he’s a pitifully scrawny, bullied and girlfriend-less guy. Set in 1940’s New York City, all Steve wants to do is fight for his country, but because of his small size he doesn’t seem to stand a chance against anyone, much less the Nazi army. His “good guy” attitude is ignored by his tough military leader (Tommy Lee Jones) but is quickly recognized by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci), and the kindhearted German doctor chooses Steve for his “super soldier” experiment. Somehow, the well-known action star Chris Evans plays a believable Steve Rogers (though the scrawny build and weak chin doesn’t hide Evans deep voice) but emerges from the trial with six pack abs, muscular arms and incredible “Captain America” strength.
Meanwhile, Nazi Germany is at work producing another enemy that even Hitler has deemed insane, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). Intent of finding a mystical source than can power his many destructive weapons, Schmidt transforms himself into Red Skull, a ruthless killer and dictator that presides over all of Europe. After hearing that his best friend’s (Sebastian Stan) regiment has been captured, Steve (now Captain America) works to destroy the factories and save his friend.
Needless to say, the casting for Captain America was phenomenal. Evans’ is the perfect superhero. Smaller roles are executed perfectly, especially through Tucci’s soft German accent and Jones’ barking orders. It’s Hayley Atwell’s timeless beauty that captivates all of America, but she especially catches Captain America’s eye as his strong-willed love interest. Even smaller roles are explored and add a sense of continuity throughout the film. The plot somehow inserts humor, adrenaline and romance into all the right places, without overbearing one storyline over another.
Taking on an ambitious story line and rewriting a part of American history seems simple enough for the Marvel corporation, seeing as they’ve done the same thing in their earlier summer blockbuster, X-Men: First Class. However, quite unlike other Marvel movies, Captain America honors this chapter in America’s history by recreating the 1940’s with soft lighting and retro-inspired filming techniques. Detailed sets, meticulous costuming and amazing effects create the Captain America world into something beautiful and nostalgic. It doesn’t feel as if audiences are watching an old movie, but rather seeing the 1940’s as we imagine. It isn’t until Red Skull’s destructive technology is introduced that the movie takes a turn to science fiction (and at times even feels a bit like watching Star Wars). Marvel also took the time to weave many other Marvel storylines into Captain America, most likely gearing up for next summer’s highly anticipated movie, The Avengers.
Audiences can’t help but adore Captain America. It isn’t just his all-American good looks and kind personality, but his scrawny to strong transformation inspires many. In a time when America is in turmoil, we need a super hero more than ever. Captain America successfully fills that much-needed role.