Captain America: The First Avenger - Theatrical Review

Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger – Theatrical Review

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 super soldier 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.

Captain America has all the requisite elements that comprise a great movie.  A leading man born to play the titular role ably supported by a more than capable cast, rousing action scenes, a pretty and feisty love interest, kindly and curmudgeonly father figures, evil villains, heart felt moments, and a nice dash of comedy.  Yet when all those elements are blended together they are done so in a work like manner that is more mechanical than magical.

Perhaps that lack of cinematic spark is due to a cludgy framing device which catapaults the Cap from World War II into the present day because it also takes away any story tension.  And the back end of the framing device is really clunky.  As soon as we see the giant Hydra bomber we know how the outcome of the climatic battle between Hugo Weaving’s mad Red Skull and Captain America will play out.  Knowing that the good guy is going to prevail can be overcome by a worthy showdown.  Knowing how that showdown is going to play out really drains the climax of any tension.

Chris Evans is wonderful as Captain America.  His portrayal as Steve Rogers, the proverbial 98 pound weakling, seamlessly done via CGI magic, carrying a heart and spirit the size of King Kong is quite engaging.  Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, and Hayley Atwell all have wonderful individual moments.  But they all seem to be operating separately from each other and due to editing, directing, and music choices; their performances are undermined and never achieve any synergy to create an end result that is greater than the sum of the individual components.

Captain America himself is a sedate super powered hero when compared against his brethren, most of whom have much more kinetic powers.  Oddly the Captain America costume is very striking visually in contrast to his powers of the character which are not.  Seeing his shield thrown around is interesting the first few times but grows old quickly.  Similarly seeing the super strength of the Cap being demonstrated by throwing villains around with ease also loses its luster rapidly.  That is something we have seen since the early days of TV.

Captain America feels like an assembled product, put together in a plodding and methodical manner.  There is no spark of spontaneity.  No aura of artistry.  It is a collection of individual emotional beats that are not conducted to come together to create an unified symphony.

A real shame because those elements, even though they are done well, remain disparate.  Still it is quite worthy of a theatrical trek to see it on the big screen.  Go see it for the moments.  They are very, very good.



Lou is the site dinosaur - and like many kids in recent generations grew up loving dinosaurs - born and raised during the Golden Age of TV. He saw a puppet show about space and spaceships and robots and rayguns named Fireball XL-5 and his geek/nerdom was cemented. A steady diet of Lost In Space, Star Trek - his alltime fav series, and movies like Doctor Doo-Little, 2001, Planet of The Apes, Star Wars, Alien(s), LOTR etc have led to where he is now. Here at EyeCrave Net sharing his passion for cool and, unashamedly proud to do so in these oft cyncial times, honestly told touching stories.

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