As we continue our journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (The Marvel Cinematic ‘Civil War’), we now turn to Captain America : The First Avenger, the 5th film in the series.
Directing is Joe Johnston (most notable work prior was Jurassic Park III) and the script by the combination of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
The casting of Cap went to Chris Evans, who had previously been in the role of the Human Torch in the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies, who plays the All American wartime hero fighting ‘Hydra’ – an extreme group of the Nazi party as they attempt to harness the power of an artefact known as the ‘Tesseract’.
Much in the spirit of Batman Begins, Man of Steel and Iron Man, this is the film that shows the full emergence of the character through to his comic book hero levels. We start in 1942 with Steve Rogers, a short, weak individual who has failed to enlist into the US Army a number of times due to his health, size and strength.
As a side note, the way in which they use CGI to show the pretty well built Evans as the slight version of Rogers, is impressive.
Rogers is approached by Dr Abraham Erskine, to join a programme to build a new breed of ‘Super Soldier’ as part of the fight against the Nazi’s using Erskine’s scientific developments. Rogers enlists and through this becomes the legendary hero of Captain America.
Through the film we see Rogers take on the mantle of this hero and take on Red Skull, a Nazi officer known as Johann Schmidt, obsessed with the power of the Tesseract, and deformed by a prior attempt to replicate Zola’s work.
Whilst once again setting up a key member of the MCU, what this film does is deliver a highly engaging and enjoyable comic book hero story. Its told through the lens of a nostalgic patriotic war movie and has a feel throughout of a prior era of movies. Evans plays the role perfectly in both the noble ‘weakling’ and the powerful, hero post the transformation.
He is supported by a strong cast with Hayley Attwell as Agent Peggy Carter, Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips, and Stanley Tucci as Dr Erskine. Additionally Sebastian Stan plays James ‘Bucky’ Barnes.
On the side of Hydra, Hugo Weaving plays Schmidt and Toby Jones (I should declare as this point that Toby Jones is one of my favourite british actors) plays Dr Arnim Zola, attempting to develop weapons based on the power of the tesseract.
Its a rip roaring comic book hero film and is thoroughly enjoyable.