Sunday, September 25, 2022

Adventure Superhero Film Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

This review was originally posted on the McMurray Internet Channel website on December 9, 2018.

The first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, chronologically, did an excellent job of maintaining an exciting story that never felt bogged down by the world-building elements. These elements, such as the Tesseract retrieved from Odin’s Vault and the shield made from vibranium, fit right into the story without feeling out of place.

The film follows Marvel’s oldest property for which they retained the film rights at the time. The film follows Steve Rogers, a sickly thin boy from Brooklyn in the 1940s. When the United States joins the Allies in World War II, Steve Rogers is a man, but his frail sickly body prevents him from being enlisted. He tries to enlist five times with five different addresses, but he is marked 4F – unfit to serve – at each examination. His childhood friend “Bucky” Barnes warns him to stop falsifying his information in trying to enlist, as it is a criminal offense that could result in prison time.

Steve ignores his friend’s advice and is caught during his next attempt to enlist. Thankfully, he was caught by a German scientist named Dr. Erskine who recognizes that Steve is a good man who wants to enlist, not for the satisfaction of killing, but to prevent the Nazis from bullying the world as he has been bullied his entire life. Steve becomes the second person to be given Erskine’s super soldier treatment after a Nazi soldier named Johann Schmidt was given the treatment prior to the point when Dr. Erskine fled to the United States. The treatment amplified what is inside people, turning Johann Schmidt into the villainous Red Skull and turning Steve Rogers into the virtuous Captain America.

Captain Rogers proves that he is more than a marketing tool when he saves his friend Bucky, and soldiers from other Allied units, from deep within enemy lines.

Red Skull has been building up Hydra within the shadows of the Nazis, an organization named after the Greek legend. The group is intent on taking over the world, including Nazi Germany, and imposing the Red Skull’s rule over all of humanity. To combat the Red Skull, Captain America forms an elite group named the Howling Commandos from a group of rescued soldiers, including his friend Bucky Barnes.

He also has help from Agent “Peggy” Carter, of the top-secret war agency the Strategic Scientific Reserve, or SSR, who develops feelings for Steve Rogers over the course of the film. Her character will later be further developed in her titular short film and television series, but Agent Carter already shows herself to be a fantastic asset to the SSR here, as she kills the driver of a car from many meters away.

The film is a fantastic adventure and a modern take on the adventure serials of the 1940s, much in the same vein as Raiders of the Lost Ark before it. It remains one of the best films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is well worth watching at least once, if not multiple times.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

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