Captain America is the latest in the big superhero franchises to make it to the big screen, and I can safely say it’s up there with the best of them. The Sentinel of Liberty himself is well played by Chris Evans who formerly played the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies. Thankfully, this movie is as far from the FF hokum as it can be.
This, like many others, is the origin story telling the tale of how skinny little Steve Rogers became the super soldier fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Set during World War II we see a scrawny little Steve Rogers trying (and failing) to get into the army for the fifth time. Brilliantly, Evans head has been CG attached to a weedy little body, and although a little bit strange looking at first it quickly settles into being the norm. In fact, the CG is so well executed when you see him later in the movie in his real life muscled form it at first looks stranger than the weedy version.
Of course, a super hero movie is nothing without a suitable arch nemesis, and this is well played by Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull. He’s a traditional movie bad guy with a cheesy German accent that slips more often than not, but it really doesn’t matter. This is a film that knows that Nazi Germany has been done to death and veers away from any real political stuff and stays firmly in the realm of comic book fantasy.
The first hour or so is all about Rodgers becoming Cap and as such some people may find it a little slow, but I found it to be very effective in defining the character and helping to understand what it is that makes Captain America more than an average soldier. It’s not about the super strength and agility, but the man bearing those gifts. Saying that, when the action kicks in it’s fast and entertaining and Cap and the Howling Commando’s set out to foil the Red Skull’s plans at every corner. It’s almost video game like in the henchmen are all in standard masked uniforms and serve only to be thumped around, but it doesn’t detract from the entertainment value at all.
There’s a reasonable supporting cast too with Tommy Lee Jones as an army general, Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, the man responsible for Cap becoming the super soldier, a largely forgettable love interest from Hayley Atwell who seems throughout the whole film to be doing a Kate Beckinsale impression, and lots of recognisable faces too in the Cap’s Skull-bashing team too.
I saw this in 3D and I can say for sure that it’s really not worth the extra expense. The film isn’t truly 3D having been ‘upgraded’ in post production and apart from Cap’s shield whizzing about and a few scenes with reasonable depth there’s nothing worth seeing here. In this case, 2D is fine.
An important note for the fans of the Marvel movies who are looking forward to The Avengers. Be sure to stick around after the credits for a teaser. Cap is littered with hints and references to the other franchises such as the primary technical whiz on the allies side being Howard Stark, Iron Man’s father and the object the Red Skull is after having made a tiny post credits appearance in Thor.
Regardless of ties to next years big summer event, Captain America is in itself a great movie. It’s tongue and cheek with good humour throughout, an easy to follow story, a firmly believable hero, over the top Nazi bad guys and knows fine well it’s a popcorn comic book flick without falling flat like Fantastic Four and later Spider-Man movie’s did. There’s nice touches for comic fans, but even if you aren’t you’ll still enjoy this.