Captain America: The First Avenger Thoughts/Review

So, I realized two nights later as I lay in a hotel bed trying to get to sleep, that we completely and utterly forgot to record our reactions to Captain America the way we wanted to. I blame the excitement of it and our exhaustion. So many lines, so much walking, more crazy days to look forward to…it’s a wonder nobody goes insane during Comic Con.

To get us excited for the movie, we caught the SyFy network marathoning all the delightfully awful Captain America movies, which we watched snippets of before heading to the theatre, and that alone was great loads of fun. There’s nothing like watching bad movies with friends who get it, is there? And there’s no better way to realize how far Marvel has come when it comes to their superhero movies. Seriously, once you’ve watched Steve Rogers steal a dude’s car and leave him stranded in the middle of the Yukon, you’ll take anything Marvel throws at you.

Chris Evans is Steve Rogers, period.

As a whole, Captain America: The First Avenger did it absolutely right. The feel of the movie, the story line, the casting, the acting, the humor — everything had its place and it all worked. This was exactly the movie Marvel needed to make to introduce Steve to the movie universe, and they did such a great job at giving us landmarks, saying this may take place in the 1940s but it’s still part of our ongoing universe. It didn’t even need the modern bookends, though I can’t deny the end of the movie gave me serious chills.

I’m going to divide my thoughts into sections, because I have tiny bullet point notes on things I wanted to comment on. There was nothing I found outright bad about the film, but there were a few things I was more neutral or unimpressed by. Thankfully, the good far outweighs the neutral.

Read on after the jump for more, and there are major spoilers included.

The Good

<3Chris Evans: Yeah, yeah, I know you’re all so surprised. Yes, I have a huge bias when it comes to Chris and yes, I would have his babies in a heartbeat. But regardless of how I feel about him, Chris Evans was amazing. He was everything Steve needed to be, and he did it effortlessly. Seeing tiny Steve go from vulnerable to indignant to stubborn and standing up for what was right in a single scene was amazing, and that was with Chris being covered in CGI.

Steve Rogers: He gets a separate bullet point because there were so, so many ways this could have gone wrong. Marvel did an amazing thing in this movie — well, a couple of amazing things. First, despite the USO/propaganda montages, this didn’t feel like an AMERICA FUCK YEAH film. Second, this film was about Steve Rogers’s journey. Nothing else. (To the film’s detriment at times, I felt, but that’s for later bullet points.) Steve is not just some big dumb patriot. He has so many layers, he’s such an unquestionably good person, and I love that seeing him be that person felt organic.

Supporting Characters: For the characters that did get some screen time, they were terrific. Erskine was everything I hoped he would be, and the chat he had with Steve about the Nazis invading Germany first was absolutely lovely. Colonel Phillips was fantastic comic relief without going overboard. Howard Stark was everything I imagined him to be, and I’m pretty sure admiring Steve Rogers is in the Stark DNA. The Red Skull…god, you can’t get any better than Hugo Weaving, can you?

Bucky, Bucky, Bucky. I love you, Bucky. You make me happy. You’re ridiculous and awesome and your bromance with Steve is my new favorite thing in the history of the world.

Peggy Carter made me delirious with happiness – yes, she’s this strong, hard working woman who begins to fall for Steve, but she never let that interfere with who she is or what she does. I love that Peggy didn’t take Steve into enemy lines because she had a crush on him, but because she knew he was doing what was right. That makes all the difference in the world. I love that she was angry at him, but never crazy about it. I love that she and Steve seemed to have the most adorable, awkward courtship in the history of man. (Most of it probably on Steve’s side and OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT THEY INCLUDED THAT. Of course Tiny Steve would know nothing about women, and of course that would carry over even after he became the perfect man.)

I want to cosplay this. I think I'd make an awesome Cap.

The Costume: I freaking LOVED IT. I loved that they included the original costume (and how ridiculous it really is) and the tiny wings, I love that Steve came up with a new one that was functional and, most importantly, way too hot for its own good. I saw concept art of it and the boots on that thing single-handedly brought back my love for all things buckled and laced up on boots. So awesome.

Cinematography & etc: Holy crap, this was a beautiful movie. And I’m not talking about the people in it. It’s been days and days and I still can’t get over how beautifully lit the Stark Expo scenes were – especially during Bucky and Steve’s conversation. This wasn’t just a movie that took place in the 1940s, it felt like it actually was in the 1940s.

The Neutral

Feel: For a long time, I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me about the movie when I left it. It’s a good movie, it does Captain America justice, and it’s a perfect addition to the Marvel movie universe, but something felt off for me. I think, overall, the movie didn’t have time to develop a real feel to it, and I’m not sure how to describe it.

Iron Man had this sense of excitement that permeated every single scene; the action scenes still get my blood racing, and there are sparks even when Pepper and Tony are simply talking. Thor was wondrous, and felt like I was getting a chance to play in someone’s sandbox. Captain America didn’t quite leave me with any real feeling to it. Maybe it was my exhaustion, maybe I’ll get it on more rewatches, I don’t know. But it wasn’t there the way it was for Iron Man and Thor.

Steve’s Merry Band of Badasses: Maybe I’m just not remembering, but did we get any names from any of the guys who made up the group Steve chose? There was a scene that made a big deal of Dum Dum Dugan, and I only knew who he was because I was aware of him as a character before I saw the movie. Also, his mustache. I feel like if they’d dedicated more than two minutes of movie time to establishing them as actual people, then I’d have been happy.

Bucky: Maybe it’s because I knew it was coming (and even if I didn’t, that train car scene was ominous enough to foreshadow it), but Bucky’s death didn’t hit me as hard as it should have. He’s Bucky freaking Barnes, Steve Rogers’s best friend, ultimate badass and future Captain America. He deserved a little more than hanging off a train and falling to his death in a mountain pass. (At the same time, I do like that his death wasn’t a huge production, no last words being coughed out and weeping from Steve.) At least Joe Johnston has said they’re always thinking/talking about Bucky, so hopefully we’ll get some great Winter Soldier action in future movies.

Hayley Atwell: I loved Peggy, obviously, but I didn’t think Hayley Atwell was the right choice to play her. If they’d gotten someone with a little more life to her I’d have bought it, but Hayley seemed to play her like she was made of cardboard. In a cast this great, she didn’t feel as good.

The Bad

IT ENDED. Seriously, Steve woke up in present time NYC and I nearly screamed I was so frustrated and wanted more. It was the perfect end point, but still. NEED MORE.

1300 words later, I guess all I really have to say is: Captain America was awesome. Need more of it in my life. When is The Avengers coming out again? It’s not soon enough.

About Chantaal

A Philosophy major who wants to be Rashida Jones when I grow up.
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4 Responses to Captain America: The First Avenger Thoughts/Review

  1. joy says:

    I wondered who the African American character was supposed to be. I forgot about Gabriel Jones, or whatever his name was, and thought it might be Nick Fury from the reimagined Marvel Universe in the Ultimates, which would have been cooler. The character sticks out, fo course, for being the only African American in the film, something Adam Serwer notes is odd because they had like, segregation in the military then and he wouldn’t have been in the film at all.

    I was annoyed at how they cartoonized WW2, and made the Red Skull a character so bad that they we don’t have to worry about Hitler anymore. Getting rid of the swastikas in favor of the Hydra symbol was also a bit of cowardice. And it was such a mash up of the canon that can only be forgiven if Hydra comes back in the Avenger’s film. But they’ve made no mention of it in any of the other films, so it would be a bit of a last minute ass pull.

    The one scene that made it worthwhile, is when the lead female character pulls out the photo of the original tiny Steve Trevor, the man she really fell in love with. One thing that’s missing in Peter Parker stories is that he shows no bravery before being given super human abilities. I can be brave too, if I can dodge bullets. So they got this one right…

    • Chantaal says:

      You’ve made some points I totally forgot to add, especially about the Red Skull. Hugo Weaving is fantastic in the role, but it was a little too over the top for the tone the movie had. Plus, all his scenes in the movie were expositiontastic.

      I loved that Peggy was already falling for tiny Steve, too. Everything they did about the way their relationship developed was perfect, which is what counts most, I think. The villains can be campy, the sidekicks can fall to the wayside, but honestly, as long as Steve Rogers is still that kid whose only dream was to help his country and save others, it’s fantastic. The movie was a total success in that regard.

  2. I agree with Joy in regards to the whole Red Skull Hydra bit. I thought Red Skull’s whole get up was pretty unconvincing, and I knew absolutely nothing of his motivations as a villain (all villains are villains for a reason, right?). I do think there was a bit of cowardice on Marvel’s part for side-stepping the Nazi issue.

    Overall though, the movie was a blast. I’m officially in love with Steve Rogers, almost as much as I am in love with Tony Stark (and I loved the depiction of Howard, by the way). The ending really left me hanging…what happened to Peggy!?

    • Chantaal says:

      Agreed! Part of me still wants to see Captain America punch out Hitler, I can’t deny it.

      I assume Peggy’s going to grow old and move on eventually. Which makes me cry a little and also feel a little weird, because I assume they’re going to make it so she’s Sharon Carter’s mother or grandmother. Starks, Carters, I guess Steve tends to keep it in the family.

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