Ever since Iron Man hit our screens in 2008, Marvel has been delivering new films centred around The Avengers. The Avengers are a team made up of several amazing super heroes that come together to form a team to take out menaces that, by themselves, they would not be able to handle. With this in mind we have Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and now Captain America. Others are coming out of the woodwork and have been featured in these films, all ready for the 2012 epic superhero fight fest of The Avengers movie helmed by the amazing Joss Whedon. 2012 is going to be one hell of a year, but unfortunately for us we are stuck in 2011 and with the release of Captain America, Marvel is hoping to set up enough of the origin storylines so that they can go that little bit further with the action.
So in Captain America: The First Avenger, the title hero who is a scrawny little asthmatic guy called Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) tries franticly to join the US Army to fight Nazis. However, he is, time after time, rejected. His stubbornness gets the attention of scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) who puts him forward in the US Army’s super soldier program run by Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). Being a man who understands the power of strength (as he has never had it) he is selected and given the super solder serum. He emerges a new hero and goes on to fight the Nazi science division HYDRA and their tyrannical leader Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) AKA Red Skull.
…I am starting to lose faith in all that is holy in the comic universe.
Now up to this point I have enjoyed the Marvel universe that has been created, but now I am starting to lose faith in all that is holy in the comic universe. Where Iron Man and Thor identified the technological advances as future technology (therefore slightly believable) this film throws us into a world where a Nazi cult have disruptor weapons, helicopter rockets and advancements we don’t have even now. The story of the film revolves around an energy source that is seen at the very end of the Thor film credits and will undoubtedly be featured in the upcoming Avengers. This is harnessed by Red Skull and used as a power source to power his guns and build weapons. Whatever these large weapons do is never explained and that’s where a large weakness emerged in the film. They really did try to fit in nods to the previous hero films, but this became incredibly tedious and made the film feel as if it were a side story and had nothing to go on by itself. Tony Stark’s father, the world expo, Odin, Nick Fury and the serum from The Incredible Hulk are all thrown in there leaving the audience feeling as if this is more of a spot the hints than an actual movie.
The fight scenes are incredibly overdone and when you’ve seen one villain dispatched by a flying shield you hope there maybe more, but we are treated to a grindhouse-esque montage of explosions and destruction.
…it feels more like a bad TV series baddie and his countless expendable army…
I think my main beef with the film would be the portrayal of Nazis as villains. To portray a Nazi in film means you do not have to explain that they’re evil. They just are. However HYDRA and Red Skull portray a boring paramilitary organisation that could easily fit into modern day fashion. The film lacks authenticity of design of the WW2 period and so instead of fearing and witnessing the horror of war and what the Nazis were capable of, it feels more like a bad TV series baddie and his countless expendable army. Being a fan of the Hellboy series, I expected an obvious edge to the Nazi villains maybe in the shape of steam punk and armour, but nothing as bad as the futuristic computer game soldiers that are present in this film.
Overall the film was a disappointment. A bad storyline, weak characters (a member of Captain America’s team dies and I felt nothing) and putting in enough footage so the audience can put two and two together and say “that relates to Iron Man!” makes it even dumber.
There were some funny moments…
The film could have been great, but it just made me want to watch Iron Man when I got home, which I did to get the film out of my head. I was even tempted to look at the original Captain America film from the 90s. As hammy as it was I enjoyed it more.
There were some funny moments (mainly from a USO show song and Tommy Lee Jones) but it’s not enough to save it. If you are a fan of the previous Marvel films of the last two years go along and make up your own mind, but be warned there isn’t even a secret scene at the end of the film – the audience booed at this.
Images courtesy of Marvel