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October 11, 2017

Captain America: First Avenger (2011) --- "Scientific Enhancements Turn A Scrawny Guy Into An American Icon."

Plot Summary
It is 1941 and the world is in the throes of war. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to do his part and join America's armed forces, but the military rejects him because of his small stature. Finally, Steve gets his chance when he is accepted into an experimental program that turns him into a supersoldier called Captain America. Joining forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain America leads the fight against the Nazi-backed HYDRA organization. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Director Joe Johnson (The Rocketeer) has demonstrated before that he is capable of portraying the old times perfectly and he does so once again. Captain America: The First Avenger is a pretty decent film and displays the retro style of the 40’s with great costumes (Anna B. Sheppard) and amazing production design (Rick Heinrichs). Some of the action scenes are a bit anti-climatic at times because a lot of them are montages but the CGI effects were great - The pre-serum 98lb weakling Steve is not only an amazing CGI feat but perfectly hooks the audience.  The film ends with true patriotic heroism, as it excellently captures the USA’s patriotic spirit during WW2 and the brutality of the war. This was both welcoming and very much needed because it grounded the film with realism. Obviously, at times the film felt more like a 2hr military recruitment ad from the 1940’s but that is to be expected when the film is called Captain America: The First Avenger. There is an area of concern that I have for this film, two characters feel underdeveloped.
     First, I enjoyed the first time Steve Roger (Chris EvansFantastic Four, Snowpiercer) used his powers because the circumstances demanded it but after that they never actually show Roger’s training or learning hand-to-hand combat. In origin films, what always works is the hero learning how to use their new powers and coming to grips with their new reality. It’s almost like as soon as he gets his powers he automatically knows how to fight. In addition, it would have been nice to see more back story or at least explain why he has such a high ethical and moral code. Nevertheless, Chris Evans is very convincing as the patriotic hero, Captain America, and his costume fits in with the time period. Throughout the film, Steve carries a sense of vulnerability and this makes him very relatable as it adds heart to the film.
     Second, Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings, V for Vendetta) is a great actor because he always manages to give his characters a quality personality. Unfortunately here he is playing a cheesy and un-menacing villain with a very vaguely hinted at background story. His intentions are a little cliché, I mean "world domination" that's it nothing else in between. His followers are faceless drones with the brains and aim of a Star Wars Stormtrooper, despite having advanced weaponry. However, I was waiting for Weaving to say “Mr. Anderson” and I have heard that his look as the Red Skull is straight out of the comic books. The rest of the cast is great and it was nice to see a couple faces from some of the other Avenger films or at least in one case the father of an Avenger. Howard Stark (Dominic CooperDracula Untold, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) plays an important role in the film and audiences get to see where his son, Tony Stark (Robert Downey JrIron Man, Sherlock Holms), gets his charm. Tommy Lee Jones (Space Cowboys, Coal Miner’s Daughter) as the gruff but lovable, Colonel Chester Philips stole his scenes and added comic relief to the film.

     Overall, Captain America: The First Avenger is a very good and entertaining film. This was probably one of the toughest Marvel/Avengers characters to bring to life and the producers did a great job at keeping his story simple but with heart. The pace is nice, the cast is perfect, and even though it has its flaws I don’t believe this is a film that can be overlooked. Of course, The First Avenger is a film with an old fashion style but it does get a bit messy in terms of the action sequence. All in all, there is something for everyone in this film and the ending, as with any Marvel film, declares there is more to come and it will be worth the wait.

***Marvel Cinematic Universe (In order of how you should watch them)***
Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Untitled Avengers film (2019)
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel (2019)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)

“Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
- Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci)

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4 of 5 stars

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Movies Similar 
Ant-Man (2015)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Avengers (2012)
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers 3: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers 4: Untitled film (2019)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)
Hulk (2003)
Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (2019)
Thor (2011)
Thor: Dark World (2013)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Cast & Crew
Directed by Joe Johnston
Writing Credits:
      (Screenplay) Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
      (Comic Books) Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Produced by 
     Victoria Alonso          ---     co-producer
     Mitchell Bell               ---     associate producer (as Mitch Bell)
     Stephen Broussard    ---     co-producer
     Louis D'Esposito        ---     executive producer
     Kevin Feige                 ---     producer
     Alan Fine                     ---     executive producer
     Nigel Gostelow           ---     executive producer
     Joe Johnston              ---     executive producer
     Stan Lee                       ---     executive producer
     David Maisel               ---     executive producer
     Richard Whelan         ---     associate producer
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography by Shelly Johnson
Film Editing by Robert Dalva and Jeffrey Ford
Production Design by Rick Heinrichs
Chris Evans                 ---      Captain America / Steve Rogers
Hayley Atwell             ---      Peggy Carter
Sebastian Stan            ---      James Buchanan 'Bucky' Barnes
Tommy Lee Jones     ---      Colonel Chester Phillips
Hugo Weaving            ---      Johann Schmidt / Red Skull
Dominic Cooper        ---      Howard Stark
Richard Armitage     ---      Heinz Kruger
Stanley Tucci              ---      Dr. Abraham Erskine
Samuel L. Jackson   ---      Nick Fury
Toby Jones                   ---      Dr. Arnim Zola
Neal McDonough      ---      Timothy 'Dum Dum' Dugan
Derek Luke                  ---      Gabe Jones
Kenneth Choi              ---      Jim Morita
JJ Feild                         ---      James Montgomery Falsworth
Bruno Ricci                 ---      Jacques Dernier
Lex Shrapnel               ---      Gilmore Hodge
Michael Brandon      ---      Senator Brandt
Martin Sherman        ---      Brandt's Aide
Natalie Dormer          ---      Pvt. Lorraine
Marek Oravec             ---      Jan
David Bradley            ---      Tower Keeper
Leander Deeny           ---      Barman
Sam Hoare                   ---      Nervous Recruit
Simon Kunz                 ---      4F Doctor
Kieran O'Connor       ---      Loud Jerk
Jenna Coleman          ---      Connie
Sophie Colquhoun    ---      Bonnie
James Payton             ---      'Adolph Hitler' 

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