In many ways Captain America is the most difficult Avenger to bring to the big screen. The intrinsic flag waving American patriotism doesn’t necessarily travel well to overseas markets. Fortunately, Chris Evans is on hand to save the day.
Evans is perfect casting for the potentially alienating hero as he has never been more likable. It is a bit disconcerting hearing the full sized Evan’s voice coming from the scrawny Steve Rogers at the beginning of the movie but he does grow into the voice. And the scrawny Rogers remains at the core of who Captain America is once Rogers undergoes an experimental procedure to turn him into a super-soldier.
More than any other Marvel film of the last few years, Captain America is firmly grounded in comic books rather than a crossover to reality. This is seen in the wonder of the 1943 World Fair as well as in the raygun wielding Nazi stormtroopers. The comic book feel is probably most visible in the proportions of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter, though she is not actually as padded as you might think.
It takes a while for Cap’ to finally take off and start fighting Nazis but the film is still enjoyable up to that point. The characters are displayed well and the humour is always spot on. Stanley Tucci is fantastic as the German scientist who develops the Super-Soldier Serum and Tommy Lee Jones is also great as the Army Colonel. The Colonel is only around for a bit of comic relief at some points but Jones gives him enough strength that he never feels out of place.
Eventually Captain America is sent off on some missions to hunt down Red Skull (Weaving) and his extra evil Nazi soldiers. Weaving demonstrates once again why he is always great casting as a villain, portraying Red Skull with a modicum of believability rather than as the caricature he could have been.
Unfortunately it has taken so long to get to the action that it is now rushed through. No action sequence stands out in particular as Captain America’s battles play out in what is essentially a drawn out montage. The pacing is so fast that some really significant moments are breezed past with barely a pause for breath.
This rushed feel continues right up to the climax. The action is fairly well put together, and exciting, but with so much to get through you never really get a chance to appreciate it.
Captain America makes a good First Avenger and this film does stand well amongst the other Marvel movies, it’s just not the best of them. Connecting Captain America to the modern day Avengers (to be seen in cinemas next summer) is a little clunky at times, but this film should keep fans of the series eager for more.