Captain America Review

America, F#*k yeah!
Being British I never really got Captain America. To me he seemed like a generic super hero, with the most generic powers imaginable, and the whole stars and stripes motif just seemed crass and jingoistic. He seemed to be a relic of a bygone age, when asinine patriotism was an apt response to the looming threat of Nazism. I understood why he used to be popular, but his modern day popularity perplexed me somewhat.

I was thoroughly relived then when I found out that Captain America: The First Avenger wouldn't deal with Cap' in the modern day, (Marvel are saving that for The Avengers movie), instead we get an origin story chronicling his journey through WWII. A very wise move.

The film starts with the as of yet powerless Steve Rodgers (Chris Evans) who wants nothing more than to enlist and start fighting Nazis, not because he wants glory or bloodshed, but because he just doesn't like bullies. His motivation is believable. Through the use of some impressive CGI the SFX team have reduced Chris Evans to about five feet tall and made him look skinny and feeble. You can tell just by looking at him that Steve's encountered his fair share of bullies. 

Unfortunately Steve's size and various other ailments make him unfit for military service, much to his chagrin. However, whilst Rodgers is small in stature he's definitely not lacking in heart (something the movie never tires of telling you over and over again). While at the movies Steve gets into a fight with a man heckling an enlistment video. Although the man is twice his size Steve fights a brave fight, one of the movie's many reminders that this weakling has got it where it counts.  
That tiny body with Chris Evan's husky macho
voice takes a bit of getting used to.
If this were any other time period Steve Rodgers wouldn't work. He'd be too corny, too unbelievable, too nauseatingly well intentioned. Everything he does is for the benefit of someone else, or in the name of justice and honor etc. However, this is World War II; Nazism, the holocaust, air-raids and the like are all going on in the backdrop of this film, making Steve that little bit more believable. When you're fighting the Nazis -the byword for the ultimate human evil - wearing an American flag outfit suddenly becomes appropriate

Speaking of the Nazis, whilst they are technically the main threat in the film there's little in the way of actual historical Nazis and with that barely any mention of Hitler at all. I'm not sure if I'm pleased or disappointed by that. In one sense I'm glad an over the top super hero movie played it safe and didn't risk insulting any of the real soldiers who fought in WWII. But then again instead of fighting genuine members of the S.S Cap' must instead fight "Hydra" agents. Hydra are a top secret Nazi science division who go rogue, effectively separating them from the real bad guys.
Nazis love rubix cubes, fact.
Think about it - segregating squares to different
areas based on their colour...Need I say more?
Hydra are lead by the deranged and enigmatic Red Skull played by Hugo Weaving with varying degrees of German accent . Red Skull was formerly an officer by the name of Johann Schmidt who injects himself with an incomplete super-soldier syrum, that leaves him with enhanced strength and speed, but also makes his face look like a ...well, a red skull. Which looks totally evil by the way. 
The experiment had unforeseen side
effects. His right nipple became invisible.
To combat Red Skull and Hydra the U.S enlists the help of defected Nazi scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), stern military Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) as well as Hayley Atwell in the Bond girl role, and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (yes, Iron Man's dad) who functions as the Q to Cap's James Bond. Together they make their own super soldier program and put some of America's toughest recruits through their paces to see which one of them will have the honor of being the U.S's first super soldier...oh, and Steve is there. See where this is going? 

I went into this movie with low expectations and left feeling very pleasantly surprised. The whole film has a nostalgic tone that suits it perfectly. It feels  like a WWII era comic with modern day special effects, and in the context of Captain America that's a winning combination. Whilst in my opinion it's not quite as good as X-men: First Class, some people are definitely going to prefer it's more epic tone and  it's definitely a close runner up for best superhero movie of the summer in my book.

So...everyone's accounted for... about time for The Avengers.