HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Agent 505: Death Trap in Beirut
Lured
Jem and the Holograms
Burning of Red Lotus Monastery, The
Bag Boy Lover Boy
Sleepless Night
Willy McBean and His Magic Machine
Robbery
Tag
Never Back Down
Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars
Kriminal
It Comes at Night
Strangled
Mojin - The Lost Legend
Poison Ivy
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Union Station
My Brother Talks to Horses
Storks
Big Sick, The
Phantom Creeps, The
Houseboat
White Dress for Mariale, A
Wall, The
Deadline at Dawn
Batman vs Two-Face
56, rue Pigalle
Mermaid, The
Fear No Evil
   
 
Newest Articles
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
Plans for Nigel: The Crunch... and Other Stories on DVD
   
 
  Captain America: The First Avenger Fighting the good fightBuy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, J.J. Feild, Bruno Ricci, Michael Brandon, Richard Armitage
Genre: Action, War, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 4 votes)
Review: At the height of the Second World War, plucky patriot Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) attempts to enlist in the army alongside his best friend 'Bucky' Barnes (Sebastian Stan), but proves too puny to pass the physical exams. Recognising Steve's innate heroism, brilliant scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) recruits him for the top secret Project Rebirth being prepared in war-torn Britain where his courage, wit and selfless decency impress beautiful English agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and grouchy Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). Working with flamboyant billionaire inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Erskine's experimental super-serum transforms scrawny Steve into the muscular superhero, Captain America, whose exploits inspire his countrymen and infuriate the Nazi regime, including the covert Hydra organisation fronted by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving - with an impeccable German accent) a.k.a. the hideously deformed madman, the Red Skull.

Created by Joe Simon and the legendary Jack Kirby in 1941, Marvel Comics' star-spangled superhero previously had a checkered career on the silver screen. Aside from a supporting role in the tacky Turkish oddity 3 Dev Adam (1973), there were two terrible TV movies starring Reb Brown in 1979 as well as the infamous Cannon-produced Captain America (1990) directed by Albert Pyun with Matt Salinger in the title role, which was never released in American theatres. Little wonder many felt the character was too kitsch to translate for the cinema or else too ideologically outmoded to engage a modern audience. But what the earlier films lacked was charm and sincerity, qualities Captain America: The First Avenger delivers in spades as well as an admirable intention to engage our emotions besides dazzle us with superhero action.

With Marvel now forging close ties between all their film franchises, this follows the trend set by Iron Man (2008), Thor (2011) and The Incredible Hulk (2008) and lays groundwork for the forthcoming Avengers movie, which curtails a few promising plot strands even though the film can stand on its own merits. The screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (the duo behind the Narnia films) is beautifully crafted with many subtle touches (note Steve's use of a trashcan lid in one early scene) alongside more overt flourishes (e.g. the "World of Tomorrow" exhibit where Howard Stark exhibits his latest inventions), but crucially takes time to establish engaging characters so that when the breakneck sci-fi thrills and outlandish action erupt onscreen we have a backbone of human drama to make us care. Markus and McFeely also add an interesting satirical layer to the Captain America mythos, as Steve is initially used not as a superhuman commando but a tacky, moral-boosting campaign figure encouraging Americans to buy war bonds. Amusing parodies of propaganda from the period include red, white and blue chorus girls, tie-in movies and, yes, comic books, until our hero is mocked by real servicemen. He wins their respect by rescuing a platoon trapped behind enemy lines, who include his old pal Bucky, and then assembles a winningly multiracial strike force to take the fight to the Red Skull.

Having already been the best thing in the otherwise lacklustre Fantastic Four (2005), Chris Evans delivers a charismatic and surprisingly affecting performance as a valiant but humble hero who defines what real American patriotism is all about. When asked whether he wants to kill Nazis, Steve replies he does not want to kill anyone but hates bullies. No matter where they come from. While Evans is outstanding, the film remains an ensemble piece with Atwell cast an agreeably gutsy and resourceful heroine. Instead of the usually tepid English Rose stereotype that usually occurs when a British actress is cast in these sort of roles, Atwell enters the film punching out a sexist soldier and holds her own from thereon. Tommy Lee Jones is perfectly cast as the growling military man, Sebastian Stan and Dominic Cooper find grace notes amidst the action, and the film finds room for snappy character work from Toby Jones as a conflicted Nazi scientist (look out for a well-scripted scene between him and Tommy Lee Jones), Michael Brandon as an oily senator and the ever-villainous Richard Armitage.

Opening with a nod to The Thing from Another World (1951) and including a climactic scene unmistakably inspired by the intro to A Matter of Life and Death (1946), director Joe Johnston one-ups his similarly retro The Rocketeer (1990), staging a number of rousing, feel-good scenes with gusto and foresaking comic book camp for gripping wartime heroics with added oomph.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1754 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: