CHRIS EVANS HUGO WEAVING TOMMY LEE JONES HAYLEY ATWELL TOBY JONES STANLEY TUCCI
The last standalone Marvel film before the grand debut of The Avengers is relatively tame compared to all the others. Set back in the 1940’s during WWII, Captain America The First Avenger is a muted pallet, retelling history as Marvel films seem to love doing. You won’t get all the blockbuster special effects or wild and crazy stunts like you saw in disappointing summer films like The Green Lantern or Thor. Director Joe Johnston (October Sky, Jurassic Park III) takes a more classic, simple approach that grounds this film in a more welcome theatrical approach; no mumbo jumbo outer space crap like Transformers.
Scrawny New Yorker Steve Rogers (Evans) wants nothing more than to serve his country and fight against what he calls a big bully. His tiny frame and asthma keep getting him turned away until German scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Tucci) changes him into a hero the world needs. They begin calling him Captain America because of his costume and military service ads. However, he is the one person that can now stand up to Germany’s biggest threat, Red Skull (Weaving).
In a world where comic book films rule the cinemas, I am sure it’s often difficult for producers and studio heads to hear less is more. However, that’s a concept that Johnston seems to have taken from the more successful comic book adaptations like X-Men and Batman Begins. When the origin concepts or supernatural powers seem over the head of a non-comic book reader, or the idea of putting what’s seen in the comic book on screen isn’t going to please anyone but a ten year old, it’s time to return to simplicity. Evans may not have been the right choice for this role, but he certainly looks the part. They have surrounded him by a true supportive cast that, more times than not, are the real show.
When we first see Steve Rogers, according to director Johnston, they used a digitally shrinking effect to alter Evan’s muscular appearance, thus making him look scrawny. However I am not sure I buy that entirely, because certain scenes it looks like a giant head slapped on a kids body. One of the better uses of 3D is seen in a scene where Atwell’s character is firing a gun in the street at a speeding car. The rest of the 3D, like most 3D films, is not very impressive. Johnson, along with his screenwriters, work persistently to drive home the vintage feel of the film, a tasteful look we rarely see pulled off well in these kinds of films. There isn’t anything we haven’t seen before or that hasn't been done better, but in today’s rapidly degrading comic book film world, anything subdued deserves a little credit.
Final Thought – Less proves to be more for director Johnston.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody