When we watch films such as Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Superman The Movie or even Casablanca over and over, some of us get nostalgic longings for simpler times and find ourselves saying “they don’t make them like that anymore.”
In the case of Marvel Studio’s new film Captain America: The First Avenger they do still make them like that.
The film follows the story of sickly Steve Rogers from Brooklyn, who is enlisted into a top-secret government project to turn a man into a weapon in an effort to help win the war.
However, no sooner is Steve unleashed as Captain America he finds himself up against the head of Adolf Hitler’s science and occult division Hydra, and it’s deformed leader, The Red Skull, who plans to use a mysterious object to help power his scientifically advanced war machines.
The acting in this film was above average for a comic book movie. Chris Evans fully embodies and brings real empathy and emotion to the role of Steven Rogers. Watching his character arc as he goes from a 90lb weakling, to the ideal of physical perfection, all the while remaining that man he always has been. It’s utterly believable.
Hugo Weaving brings real menace and evil to his role as The Red Skull and the make up used to portray Hydra’s top agent is stunning. You can actually tell it’s still the actor under the latex which does not hamper the conveyance of emotion at all.
Directed by Joe Johnston, the movie shines in no small part to the delivery of some of his best work since his 1991 directorial offering, The Rocketeer (another WWII inspired, super hero movie). His belief in less CGI and more practical effects help the movie seem almost believable.
Composer Alan Silvestri gives us a rousing musical score which is all heart and drama, mixed with the excitement of a good, old, action movie soundtrack, and is the best work he has done since Back To The Future and Predator.
On a related note the musical number which can be heard during Captain America’s propaganda work of selling war bonds, was written by Alan Menken and is a catchy song, which falls in line with his work on Disney films in the ’90s.
The wonderful blend of old-fashioned stunt work and subtle computer effects really give believability to the time period.
As a general complaint, most audiences have felt that existing Marvel movies over the past four years have felt like extended trailers for next year’s Avengers movie, which will combine the character of not only Captain America but also Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk, but there is no such feeling here.
Captain America sits perfectly as a stand alone movie, and can be viewed without prior knowledge of anything related to the Marvel cinematic universe.
And not to spoil anything, but don’t forget to stay for the end credits because as with all Marvel films, there is a teaser for the next big film which not only teases, but excites.