Captain America: the First Avenger (2011) - The Beginning of Marvel's 'Avengers'

Friday, November 4, 2011

As was the case with nearly every other blockbuster from this past 2011 season (and what a season it was!), I am getting in on seeing Captain America late – very late. I giggled my way through two of the other popular superhero flicks that appeared nationwide on theater screens, but I think self-consciously lingering in my mind, this was always the one that I most looked forward too. The only question remaining to be answered now was – was the movie worth the wait… and the hype?   

Captain America First Avenger

Although he's a sickly young man with asthmatic tendencies who no one is willing to give a chance, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is nothing if not determined. America is embroiled in the beginnings of WWII and Steve is ready and willing to fight for his country – for all that he believes in. Recruiters give him no opportunity because he is physically unfit for military service. His peers poke fun at him and yet, Steve continues to fight his way to the front of the line only to continuously be rejected time after time. His one friend is about to ship out and it makes Steve all the more melancholy but then his fortitude and genuine patriotism is finally noticed by famed scientist Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) who approves him for a special unit of soldiers with a new kind of skill-set. His superior, Army Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) sees little or no promise in Steve but the doctor is persistent in wanting Steve for a risky procedure and, following one after another instance of Steve’s proven loyalties the plans are set in motion.

When the opportunity to be a part of the risky research operation arises, Steve readily agrees to be a part of Dr. Erskine’s project – and that of the young inventor, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). Steve’s only thought is finally being able to protect his country to his best, and apart form his understandable human reaction he is unfazed by the potential dangers of the procedure. Injected into the body is a powerful serum that can bring out the very nature of a human being – if one is good beforehand, the potion will only enhance those qualities in that person. The experiment turns out to be a success and Steve is transformed into a super solider with abilities not previously available to him – or any one human body. Following the procedure, the scientific doctor dies at the hands of a Nazi secret agent pitting Steve against enemies greater than he could have ever imagined.

Review after review of this movie was glowing – and I am pleased to say that I whole-heartedly concur with those thoughts. Captain America is not only a great film on its own two feet but also a really well set-up platform to bridge the gap into next summer’s highly anticipated Avengers movie. I had some really high hopes for this movie and I think I was somewhat disappointed in certain aspects of the movie. The movie gets a little caught up in assembling its premise and as a result, the opening twenty to forty minutes are less engaging and lasts longer than necessary before the excitement really becomes catching. If I thought Thor moved far too quickly, Captain America takes it own time setting a low-key pace. Nevertheless this is one movie I think I’ll appreciate the pacing for a second time through. Fortunately, the high points of the script are really well-written. Like previously stated, the production just doesn’t “grab” viewers in the beginning (something that should be important to writers since the opening of a movie has the ability to decide its fate) and in fact, could be thought sappy but the humor is clever without being goofy (thank goodness!) and then, there are the characters.

FILM REVIEW | Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) - The Captain Returns in High-Action Sequel

Captain America First Avenger Peggy and Steve Kiss

Captain America becomes a kind of heroic “symbol” for the American people, a person who can inspire them – bring hope to their otherwise dreary world. Steve however detests what his life becomes. His hero is one that, as a viewer we have no qualms about supporting and rooting for. He feels deeply for anyone who is in need of “saving,” he mourns loss more than any other hero I’ve met on-screen. Rarely is there such a hero. Sure we come to love the masculine heroes in countless movies but how many of them do we end up yelling at because they have a momentary lapse in judgment or treat their female counterpart with disrespect? I’d wager there are a good many such guys. Steve is no such hero. He is compassionate with a genuine aspiration to protect his fellow Americans – all without thought to his own safety, and always is he willing to accept the consequences of his actions. This character is aptly portrayed in the capable hands of Chris and joining him is some fantastic talent which also includes Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, J.J. Field and in a brief appearance, Natalie Dormer.

Now that I’ve sufficiently gushed about Captain America as a character, let’s look at the rest of the film. Apart from its one or two mishaps, Captain America is the best superhero flick I’ve seen. It isn’t just a silly movie that has some cool (albeit totally unbelievable) special effects, instead it actually has a message and heart. The fact that one man stands up for his country and his beliefs is admirable – and he does all of this without asking anyone to put their lives on the line.  Believe it or not, the movie actually has some realistic parallels and certainly implements principles that can be mirrored in real life. I will admit to being annoyed about THAT ending though. Not so much for its unpredictability, but more for its silliness (the whole 70-year sleep bit was kind of “out there”), but… I do recognize filmmakers challenge in getting Steve to the place he needed to be in at his triumphant return next summer – and their idea was clever.

A sequel with the titular character is also in-the-works, which will be interesting to read developments of in the next two years (production hasn’t even begun yet). If you like this genre or enjoy stories upholding heroes with character, you cannot go wrong with Captain America. If it doesn’t make you think about patriotism and conquering fears then, the message hasn’t resonated with you. 

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase Captain America: Civil War on DVD and Bluray or own/rent digitally on Amazon Video.

CONTENT: the film is rated PG13 but it just barely earns that. There is the token “violence” and some characters do not make it until films close. Many characters are killed by a weapon that “evaporates” them into thin air, others are shot. There are a couple of “tense” scenes and explosions. Steve concludes that “fondue” refers to s a sexual connotation and there is a smattering of profanity, including h*ll.


  1. I love this movie so much!! Have seen it three times!! Twice in theaters! :D haha I wrote a review about it too!!

    God bless!

  2. I REALLY want to see this! For some reason, I was so excited to see that you wrote a review of it. :D haha, maybe my subconscious mind that since you saw it, I was one step closer to seeing it....yeah....Go ahead, judge me :D

  3. I had heard it was good but I wasn't to excited about watching it. Then we got half way through and I couldn't wait to finish it :) It is a great movie and I just loved the sets...that time period was so pretty. Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

  4. I loved this movie, but I have only seen it once. I want to write a review about it again, but I will need to watch it again first.

  5. Raquel - I never did get to this one in theaters, but I was anxiously awaiting the DVD release. I've actually not been to see anything at theaters since the summertime - so it's about time I review something "new." =)

    I believe I did see your review of this movie - glad to know so many people liked it because it is good.

    Trinka - enjoy! I don't think you'll "regret" seeing this one. ;D

    Sierra - glad you liked it! The length of the movie was a bit longer and with a slow start, the viewer notices that, but overall, the movie's message is really inspiring.

    The time period is gorgeous - all of the costumes and sets were great.

    Livia - I look forward to your thoughts on this movie. I will probably watch it again in the near future too. =)

    Glad to know so many of you liked "Captain America."

  6. this sounds so good! i was disappointed with thor, too, because it moved so quickly, but it sounds like this one moves slower {too slow?}, and i think the extra time to set up the story will be worth it. i'm excited to see it!

  7. I'm still waiting to see you aren't alone =D

  8. Annie - I watched Thor and really did think it was "fun" but not a particularly intelligent movie. Still... I'll enjoy seeing it again.

    Captain America does move a bit too slow at times, but overall, I think it's much better than its predecessors. There is heart to Steve's story and that is what counts. =) Plus, The Avengers looks AWESOME! If you do happen to see this one, I'd love to know your thoughts...

    Hey, on an unrelated note - how do you use italics and bold fonts in the comment form? I have been playing around at trying to figure it out, and saw that you must know how - I am hoping it isn't TOO complicated. =D

    Ella - well, I am glad! ;D

    Sometimes after reading all the reviews and knowing that "everyone" else has seen it makes it seem like I am the last one yet to see the blockbusters. I only go to a few movies (compared to average America) at the theater, so I must relay on being patient and await the DVD release - I've really gotten quite good at it. =D

  9. I enjoyed this movie, too, but I admit to liking Thor better. . . I posted a few thoughts, albeit scattered, in my book blog.

    Anyways, the two have me totally hyped for The Avengers next year!
    Great review!

    ~Jess, from Random Moments

  10. Jess - I liked "Thor" quite a lot, but... I thought this movie was "stronger." Marvel's Avengers has me super excited for next summer. I am hoping I'll get to see it on the big screen, but who knows. =)

    I checked out your blog - it looks like one I'll enjoy following! Thanks bunches for stopping in here. I hope you'll visit again sometime. =)

  11. This was definitely a good year for Marvel films! Glad you liked this one too! :)

  12. Me, too, Ruth! Marvel probably made a fortune this year - if "Avengers" doesn't do much the same, it will be shocking. ;D

    So glad you stopped in, Ruth - I've missed you here. =)

  13. Loved it -- the hero is such a sweetie. My only problem with it is bringing him forward in time -- who cares about the "Avengers"? I wanted more WWII comic book dramas!!

    It was so fun seeing Natalie Dormer (again) and Richard Armitage on screen!

  14. I know, isn't this hero just awesome!? (But, oh, dear! Did I kind of gush about him as I did Gary from "Early Edition"? LOL!) Steve truly had no thought about his well-being apart form his natural human instincts.

    Seeing Natalie and Richard was fun despite their limited roles. =)

    WHAT!? You aren't excited about "Avengers"?? Seriously! I think it looks awesome. Next year is shaping up to be a fantastic year movie-wise what with the fairy-tales and... "Avengers."

  15. Okay, so, I saw it!!!!!!!! And it was just as awesome as I was hoping! :) Well, except for the ending...they could have done MUCH better. Seriously, they could've at least let him have the dance!!!! was great...and I think my first "action -like" movie :) Oh...wait...I saw Spider Man :P

  16. AWESOME, Trinka! I am so glad you enjoyed this movie - you make me want to see it again. =)

    The ending... yes, it could use a little "polishing," but apart from this summer's big-screen movie The Avengers which will unite Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk and Captain America, chances are great that a "Captain America 2" will be made which means... in all likelihood, Steve will get that dance. ;D


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