Thursday, January 8, 2015

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)


“Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”

            So many superhero movies deal with a guy who either becomes a hero reluctantly or is a cocky bad ass or already comes fully loaded with super powers from his home planet. They all want to get rid of the bad guys so they do not destroy the world. They usually have to save the world they have no other choice. Captain America: The First Avenger tells a different story and one, I believe, to be far superior then all the other stories.
            World War II has just begun for the United States. The country’s citizens have become patriotic like never before. All the men who are willing and able to fight, sign up at recruiting stations to defend their country. One man willing to fight is Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) but unfortunately he is not able. Steve is a very small guy with asthma. He is so desperate to join the war that he has gone to several recruiting stations each time falsifying where he is from. His friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), a big healthy guy, signed up and was made a sergeant. To celebrate, Bucky brings Steve along with him to the Stark Expo in Queens. Located the Expo is a recruiting station. Steve gives this one a try. He is seen in the waiting room by a scientist named Dr. Abraham Erskin (Stanley Tucci).
            While waiting to be examined, Steve becomes anxious after seeing a sign in the room stating that if any of his documentation is found to be false he will be arrested. An MP comes into the room followed by Dr. Erskin. The doctor promises him he is not in trouble and will allow him to sign up for the Army. Steve is placed in a special regiment that works for the Strategic Scientific Reserve. The first day of training the regiment is introduced to Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and a female officer named Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell). Steve is the only man in the group that has respect for Agent Carter and she takes notice. What Steve lacks in physicality he makes up for with his intelligence, his respect, and his kindness. During a running exercise, the person in charge tells the men that if they can get a flag down from a pole they will get a ride back to camp in the car with Agent Carter and Col. Phillips. All the men try in vain to climb the pole but they never get to it. Steve goes up to the pole, takes a piece out from the bottom making the whole thing fall, and takes the flag.

            Col. Phillips does not believe Steve is the right guy for Dr. Erskin’s Super Soldier experiment because he is a scrawny kid. Dr. Erskin believes in Steve and wants him for the experiment. After Steve has been officially chosen, Dr. Erskin sits down with him. He sees the small guy just wants to stop the bad guys because they are bullies. He is a good man with a good a heart which is exactly why he was chosen.
            Agent Carter brings Steve to what looks like an antique store in Brooklyn. Behind a bookcase is a secret lab where Steve will be turned into a super soldier. Dr. Erskin created the formula and millionaire scientist Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) designed the technology for the metamorphosis. The changing process is intense. Agent Carter at one point yells for Howard to stop but Steve tells them he can take it. When the process is complete Steve emerges taller and stronger. As soon as the process is over Steve’s new strength is put to the test. A Nazi saboteur managed their way into the lab. He blows a part of it up and shoots his way out of the lab. Steve gives chase to the man throughout the streets of Brooklyn. He catches up to the man but does not manage to bring him in. The man breaks a capsule in his mouth filled with poison and as he dies he says “Hail Hydra.”
            In Germany there is a man named Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). He is part of a Nazi scientific unit called Hydra. Before Dr. Erskin came to the United States he had worked for the German government where he had been experimenting on the Super Soldier serum. The serum was not ready when Schmidt took it and it left him deformed in a certain way. It also exacerbated his greed for power.
            Instead of fighting in the War Steve is sent around the War Bonds circuit as part of a show as a character called Captain America. The tour makes its way to Europe to the camp where Bucky’s unit is stationed. The men mercilessly make fun of him. Steve tells Agent Carter he feels terrible he still wants to fight in the War like he had wanted to. He hears that Bucky and most of the unit have been captured behind enemy lines and are considered to be dead. Steve wants to go in and save his friend and the rest of the unit. Col. Phillips will not hear it so Steve takes the matter into his own hands along with some help from Agent Carter and Howard Stark.
            Steve is dropped behind enemy lines. He finds Hydra’s compound and rescues Bucky and the rest of the men from the unity. The men fight back using weapons Hydra has made. Steve and Bucky come face to face with Schmidt. Schmidt shows Steve what happened to him when he took the first Super Soldier serum. It turned his whole face and skull red. Schmidt, aka Red Skull, manages to get away before the compound is destroyed.
            Back at camp Steve is ready to be punished for his actions but is instead put in charge of gathering a group of men to take down Hydra and Red Skull.
            In the end, Steve makes the ultimate sacrifice as a soldier in order to save his country.
            I loved every single person in this cast. It was wonderfully cast every actor was perfection in their role. Not enough praise can go to Chris Evans as Captain America. I completely believed him as the character. He does not have the macho look of the other superheroes, he looked like a real down to earth guy from the 1940s. Evans did what an actor should do in movies he played the character so well that you cannot imagine anyone else in the role. Sebastian Stan I had only ever seen as The Mad Hatter from Once Upon a Time before this. I loved him as Bucky. I liked his friendship with Steve. He was kind of the macho, big best friend to the small guy but they were definitely like brothers. I liked how Bucky did not make a big deal out of Steve’s change. Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark was great. He is not conventionally handsome which I think adds to the character because Howard is a playboy yet you can still believe he is a brilliant scientist and he does care about people.  Neal McDonnough is getting a mention because I love him in whatever he is in. His character was a bit silly looking yet a total badass. Tommy Lee Jones was Tommy Lee Jones he was a curmudgeon old military colonel and of course he was great. Hugo Weaving as Red Skull was one of the better bad guys and better actors as a bad guy in a Marvel movie. He had the perfect look and demeanor for a bad guy especially a nasty German Nazi one. Natalie Dormier is getting a mention even though she had like a combined paragraph of lines. Her character was pretty much just used as a device to flirt with Steve because he has become a hero and also to show that Agent Carter really likes Steve.
            Speaking of Agent Carter… Hayley Atwell and Agent Carter are getting their own paragraph. At the time of this writing, the miniseries Agent Carter has just premiered. Before the miniseries I had never seen Captain America! Shame on me, I know, especially because I have brothers who are obsessed with Marvel and any kind of superhero movie. I had seen Agent Carter posts on Tumblr and that piqued my interest in seeing the show. She looked like a badass character I would adore. Well, I am now totally obsessed with the character of Agent Peggy Carter and am even more so after watching the movie. Holy crap the woman is incredible! Her first scene in the movie is utter perfection for a female character. Right away we are shown this woman is plenty capable of handling herself with men. (Also, look at the GIF under the third paragraph. There is A MAN, A SOLDIER, walking behind her fumbling with a box of clipboards and she is as cool as ice and all tough business). You can see she quietly proves herself capable without shoving it in men’s faces. Her scenes with Steve were beautiful. Their relationship was not love at first sight which is outrageously refreshing. From the first time she is introduced to Steve you can see she feels protective of him. She likes him because he is the only male who respects her and her work and does not treat her like she should not be where she is. If Agent Carter did fall in love with Steve it is because she respected him for respecting her and she admired his courage, determination, and kindness. As she told Col. Phillips she helped Steve cross over enemy territory because she believed in him. She believed in Steve when no one else fully did besides Dr. Erskin and that is important for both characters. Her jealousy in the one scene was not shown as a weakness or meant to be annoying. It only made her look tougher when she emptied a gun shooting at Steve’s shield (and possibly also made Steve like her bit a more). Not once did Agent Carter become a weak annoying girl even at the end when she was talking to Steve for the last time. If you have yet to watch the show Agent Carter WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!! GO WATCH IT NOW!! STOP READING THIS REVIEW AND GO!! Agent Carter is the perfect role model. She is intelligent, witty, and dangerous yet just the right amount of emotional, feminine, and strong. Marvel, the writers of the movie and show, and the directors of the movie and show did an absolutely fantastic job of portraying Agent Carter. She is how every female character should be written.
      Hayley Atwell deserves nothing but praise and adoration for playing Agent Carter. She had the perfect look for a 1940s woman and played the character beautifully. Like Chris Evans playing Steve Rogers, Atwell plays the character so well you cannot imagine anyone else but her in the role. Absolute perfection in every single way. I would also just like to throw out there that I now have a huge girl crush on Atwell and Agent Carter. I adore Atwell as an actress. I love watching her handle her character because you can see that she enjoys playing Peggy and that brings more out of the character. It has been such a long time since a great kickass female character like Peggy Carter has been seen in the movies or on TV. She reminds me a lot of Sydney Bristow from Alias that was also shown on ABC. Sydney Bristow and Jennifer Garner are my ultimate heroes and I have desperately missed a character and actress like her on TV. Agent Carter and Hayley Atwell are filling in that void ten times over. Atwell said she would be down for making an Agent Carter movie.... I'm waiting Marvel. 


            Captain American: The First Avenger is such a wonderful movie. I hate the fact that it took me so long to finally watch it but I cannot even describe how much I love it. The story of Captain America, to me, is refreshing and different from all the other superheroes. Steve Rogers was a guy who wanted to fight for his country and protect what he believed in. He is a regular guy who was given a gift and with that gift, combined with his kindness and sincerity, became the ultimate good guy. There are so many amazing scenes and fabulous characters and actors. The costumes were gorgeous for every character and the scenery, either real or CGI, was very good. I absolutely loved everything about Captain America: The First Avenger. I cannot wait to watch it again.