Welcome back to the next installment of MCU Marathon, and we kick things off with film introduction to Captain America.
1.) I am always a sucker when it comes to WWII America, and this movie completely embraces that timeline. Not only do the costume and environmental designs look like they are from the forties, but the tone as well. To put it simply, it is completely American. It is SO American, the movie might as well have this song.
Although, I get the feeling that Captain America would not approve some of the things that are mentioned in the song, but I digress. The best way that encapsulates the tone and timeline is in the Star Spangled Man sequence. Not only is it a huge tribute to the Captain America comics, but shows what WWII America was like.
I love them embracing this, and the movie is better all for it.
2.) While Chris Evans as Captain America was a surprise for many people (especially since he was known for playing the Human Torch in Fantastic Four), the side actors deserve more of the attention. Due to the side actors’ excellent performances, their characters end up having more intrigue to them than I thought. Stanley Tucci as Dr. Abraham Erskine has a such a good and morale heart and has good reason to pick Steve Rogers for the Super Soldier Program despite looking like an adult with anorexia. Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark shows where Tony Stark got some of his ego. Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes is such an important character that he would appear in the other Captain America films. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter is just as important, but she is so good and interesting that she ends up getting her own TV series.
My favorite side actor of all the bunch is Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips, because any of his lines are pure dialogue gold.
Other people who deserve attention but does not get enough screen time are the Howling Commandos. All these casts and characters (even the slightly over-the-top Red Skull played by Hugo Weaving) deserve credit for this movie.
3.) One thing that reinforces the American tone is the music. I love this music so much from the Star Spangled Man to the Captain America March. It can go from patriotic to inspirational, especially when Captain America fights any HYDRA soldiers and the Red Skull.
How can you not love this? It is a shame that this type of music was not used in later Captain America films, but at least this is fine music nonetheless.
1.) As much as I like Captain America, he is such a one-note character. He wants to fight the Nazis, because he feels like he is needed to fight them as much as the American soldiers. After he finally got what he wanted, he got less interesting as a result since all he has to do is take down HYDRA. Thankfully, Captain America does get better as his films progress, but on his first try, he could have been a little better than an average Boy Scout.
2.) As I mentioned before, I like many of the side characters, but it is unfortunate that the movie barely spends time with them. With Captain America being such an average Boy Scout, the characters slightly stand out over him. I like to see more of the Howling Commandos, but they stick to the sidelines while Cap does all the work. To be fair, certain characters like Peggy, Bucky, and Colonel Phillips stick around as much as Cap, but I slightly prefer them more than Cap. That might be a good sign for great characters, but not that great of a sign when the main character is not as interesting as the side characters.
3.) There are certain writing issues that are problematic. For starters, there are plenty jumps from scene to scene without any development (look at the lead-up to the climax as a good example). Character growth and emotional moments are slightly weak (look at Captain America as an example). There are plenty of clichéd characters (I am looking at you, Red Skull). Captain America seemed to master using his shield despite the small amount of screen time we seen him using it (to be fair, it is implied that time has passed for the character, so he might have mastered it over that time). Finally, how Captain America ends up frozen on ice is kind of stupid.
See what I mean? It felt like the writers were obligated to have that scene, so he can finally join the Avengers in modern times. Maybe they should have wrote the plane being damaged enough that Captain America can no longer fly it. It is certainly better than crashing it for convenient reasons.
In many ways, having a Captain America movie should not have worked, because the character himself is not really that interesting. He is a highly patriotic soldier who believes in truth, justice, and the American way (wait…that sounds like another character that should not have worked…and it did not), or as everyone else knows him: a Boy Scout. Yet somehow, they managed to make it work. Despite having a one-note character, the movie completely embraces the timeline and its characters, and has fun with it. This is just as good as the first Iron Man, but it has its own quirks that makes it stand out on its own. Thankfully, his films would get better over time, and while it is not perfect, Captain America: The First Avenger is certainly fitting for its time.
On the next movie review of the MCU Marathon, we look at the culmination of the past MCU movies.