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Captain America: The First Avenger

Updated on December 29, 2012

Captain America: The First Avenger

Director: Joe Johnston

Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Joe Simon, Jack Kirby

Cast: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Armitage, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, Stan Lee, Sebastian Stan

Synopsis: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action


1960's Cartoon Intro to Captain America

Origin of Captain America

Origin of Red Skull

Best Marvel Studios film since Iron Man

After several months of anticipation, Marvel Studios has finally revealed it's last solo superhero movie that leads up to up to the "Avengers." If anyone had told me that this film had a chance in hell of being remotely interesting, I would've laughed so freaking hard that I'd probably damn near wet myself. Seriously, I could have easily written an entire hub on why this film was going to fail not only among critics but among movie goers as well, but you want to know something funny? If I had done that, then I would've been completely wrong in my assessment. Not only did "Captain America: The First Avenger" prove me wrong, but it actually turned out to be arguably Marvel's best super hero film since "Iron Man."

At the risk of sounding conceited, I usually have a great gift to tell whether or not a superhero/cartoon/anime will adapt well into a live action format. Once I'm able to learn everything about the character's history, I'm able to deduce exactly what his/her appeal is, and who the fan base would be outside of comic book readers. Granted, I'm not always right in my assessments, but for the most part, I'm usually right in my predictions. For example, when I first heard that "Spider-Man 3" would be introducing Venom, I knew it was going to fail because Sam Raimi openly admitted before the film was even released that he never liked Venom at all as a character; which is never a good sign when you hear a director of any film admit they didn't like one of their own characters.

Then there was "X-Men 3" and "Batman & Robin", as I remember distinctly telling my brother that those films would not be well received among most fans BEFORE their initial releases. Why? Because from reading the plot synopsis of both movies, it was fairly obvious both films would try to cram too much crap into them. And, the directors of both films wanted to take the franchises in entirely different directions than what was previous established; something that any true movie fan will tell you is a big mistake when dealing with major film franchises, as you never want to stray too far away from what made it popular to begin with.

Anyway, I do apologize if I'm coming off as egotistical, but I'm merely trying to make a point here. Don't get me wrong, I do have a lot of respect for the character himself, and I understand his appeal quite perfectly. However, in today's conflicted society, where American ideals are perceived to be less than good among most countries, and the fact that we're currently a nation divided among itself, then it's easy to be skeptical on how well "Captain America: The First Avenger" would do in the box office. Plus, the silly flag uniform doesn't exactly help either. However, like "Spider-Man", I was glad to be proven wrong by this movie. Not only did it put away all doubts that I previously had, but it also reestablished a new found hope in Marvel Studios.

Since "Iron Man", I began to lose faith that Marvel Studios even knew how to tell a great story anymore. Sure, "Iron Man" was a great film, as the main focal point of the movie wasn't about being some elaborate setup for the "Avengers." Granted, there were references to the "Avengers", but the main focal point of the movie was about the journey of Tony Stark. About how he comes from being this introverted person that only cared about himself to eventually realizing there's more to life than his own selfish ambitions. "Iron Man" not only told a great character driven story, but it also carried a lot of great underlining themes in regards to war profiteering and terrorism that still reign true to this day. That's why I loved the first "Iron Man" movie so much, as it didn't over emphasize the concept of it being some sort of elaborate prequel to the "Avengers." Sure, the references were there, but it never took away from the main story of establishing who the character was and what drives him, as the references were subtle. Whereas "Thor", half the damn movie felt like it was nothing more than a set up for the "Avengers"; which is fine, but the references should have been a helluva a lot more subtle. Hasn't Marvel Studios learned anything from "Iron Man?"

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect all movies to have psychologically complex stories (ala "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight"), nor do I expect them all to have powerful underlining themes like the first "Iron Man" film. However, I do expect them to have well developed characters that allows the audience to connect with them on some level, as it doesn't matter if the story isn't that great. Sometimes a well developed character, and their relationships can more than make up for it. Granted, I'll be the first to admit that "Captain America: The First Avenger" isn't exactly going to win any accolades for innovative story telling, but it does recapture what made the first "Iron Man" such a great film; emphasizing on who the character is first and foremost. That's where Marvel Studios messed up with films like "The Incredible Hulk", "Thor", and "Iron Man 2", as they focused so much on the novelty aspect of setting up sequels and leading to the "Avengers" that they forgot that it's really about focusing on the character. That's the biggest issue that I had with all the other Marvel Studio films thus far, and it seems with "Captain America: The First Avenger" they finally gone back to basics.

Yes, there's still small references to the eventual "Avengers" culmination, but it never overshadows the heart of what this movie truly is. A journey about one man that wants to serve his country so badly that he volunteers for a government program that inevitably forces him to lay his life on the line various times to serve his country.

What I really loved about this movie was the direction that Joe Johston and his writers took it. Instead of merely basing this film on aspects that most audiences were already familiar with pertaining to Captain America like patriotism, Joe Johnston takes kind of a Christopher Nolan approach to the character. Emphasizing the story on aspects of the character that were always there before, but most fans would often miss about Captain America; that behind all the symbolic patriotism that he represents, he's still just a man that wants to fight for his country. A man that has been bullied all his life, due to his diminutive thin stature, but genuinely wants to make a difference in the world. In the end, isn't that a great concept that we can all relate to on some level?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing this film to any of the "Batman" movies that Christopher Nolan has worked on, as that would be absurd. However, the approaches that Nolan and Johnston took to each perspective franchises is eerily similar in the fact that they emphasized on aspects of the character that most people never would've thought of when portraying each of these superheroes respectively. With "Batman", Nolan emphasized on the psychological aspects of the characters themselves, which led the movie series to delve into different aspects of the character that nobody ever thought putting into a movie before about "Batman." With "Captain America", it's sort of the same deal. Joe Johnston doesn't over emphasize the story on Captain America being some symbol for patriotic sentiment in the United States, but rather a man that wants to be a part of something bigger than himself to help others.

Plus, I was highly impressed with the special effects of this movie, as it was simply amazing how Marvel Studios made Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) go from being a vertically challenged thin man in stature, to a muscle bound super soldier so seamlessly that you won't believe your eyes on how realistic it looks.

As for the actors of this movie, I thought everyone played their parts rather well. Hugo Weaving was perfectly cast as the menacing Red Skull, but I would've liked to have seen more of his character, as he's rarely in most of the film. Another great casting choice comes from Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the tough as nails Colonel Chester Phillips, that comes off tough, stern and offers a subtle bits of humor when necessary. However, the performance that impressed me the most was Chris Evans. Given the nature of his character, it would've been very easy for almost any actor to ham up this role with a lot of cheesy acting. However, Chris not only nails the heart of who Captain America is on a personal level, but he also makes him highly sympathetic for audiences to relate to his character.

Indeed, it seems like Marvel Studios has finally decided to go back to basics with "Captain America: The First Avenger", by remembering to make the focus of the story about the character first and foremost. Now, we can only hope that Marvel models their future solo superhero movies the same way, but only time will tell. In the end, I'd give this film a solid three and a half out of four. Truly a must see film for any superhero fan to see in 2-D only, as 3-D is barely noticeable.

Emory University's Controversial Analysis of Captain America

Captain America: Super Soldier Game Trailer

The Star Spangled Banner Scene

Death Of Captain America

Bucky Barnes...the new Captain America. No matter what happens in the Marvel Universe, there will always be a Captain America to lead the way

Captain America and the Avengers...


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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Bruce. I appreciate you linking my hub to yours again, as that's very nice of you. Yeah, I think this is probably one of the best superhero movies out there if you ask me. I just hope that the sequel to this turns out to be just as good. If not, then better possibly. Anyway, thanks for stopping again Bruce, as it's always a pleasure to see you. :)

    • Cogerson profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia

      I actually got to the movie theater for this movie...and both my wife and I really enjoyed the movie. I thought I had already posted here...but it looks like a missed this excellent review. But now the review can be used for people checking out the movie on DVD....which is why I just added your hub to my Top Films of 2011 hub..hope it brings some extra traffic.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      lol. Well I guess that means Matthew Vaughn and Michael Bay have something in common then, don't they? lol. It doesn't surprise me that he's agreeing to do another sequel to "X-Men First Class", as money does talk these days. Hell, if you throw enough money at anyone in Hollywood, they'll do just about anything; in spite of what they originally said. Of course, this is also one of the reasons why I like to make inside jokes about Michael Bay and George Lucas with my brother sometimes, but that's another story. lol.

      As for everything else you just said, I couldn't have said it better myself. :)

    • Nickalooch profile image


      8 years ago from Columbia, MD

      Matthew Vaughn the director of X-Men First Class even said that he believes the superhero craze will fall shortly. Makes me laugh considering he also is in line to make sequels for First Class.

      Studios won't step away from this money train that is super-hero movies. It appeals to a very very very big audience. Kids that have no idea of the backstory from the comics can enjoy them. Teenagers can enjoy them because they are mostly just explosions, cool action sequences and such. Adults can also enjoy them because it appeals to the little kid in them, and more then likely the fact that they were in love with these characters when they were young.

      While I love seeing the treatment these Marvel characters are getting, I'm also nervous that Marvel may drive them into the ground at some point as we've said before.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      Aw I'm sorry to hear that Beth. Well, that is one problem that I hate about this newest superhero craze, as it does seem like Hollywood in general is flooding the theaters with them. If anything, I kind of fear that superhero movies could end up like westerns, where it'll eventually get to a point of over kill, and they'll die out completely. Maybe not to the point where you'll never see another superhero film again, but they'll become increasingly rare; just like westerns are now. Of course, I could be wrong on this, but I'm merely speculating. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by Beth, as I always feel great knowing that I have a great friend like you supporting me. LU xoxoxo :)

    • Beth100 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      You never fail -- another great review! I didn't stay for the whole show, but I wasn't that thrilled with it. I've seen better.... perhaps just tired of the Marvel Comic characters coming to life on a monthly basis.

      Nonetheless, you provided enough of a tease for us to want to watch it (well, "we" with the exception of "me") lol

      LU xox

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      That's good. I'm glad to hear you liked the movie. :)

    • funmontrealgirl profile image


      8 years ago from Montreal

      Soooo good. Saw it in 3d last night.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago


      Eh, I guess we'll have to simply agree to disagree then. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all the other Marvel films outside of "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Iron Man" were pieces of crap. No, I was just merely saying they were mediocre at best.

      If you want to know more in detail why I felt thor and "incredible hulk" weren't that great, then you're more than welcome to read my two reviews on them, as i go into a lot more detail:

      Sorry, I would write out my thoughts here, but I'm feeling too lazy today. sorry. lol.

      Also, here's part 1 one of a hub piece that I wrote about some of the upcoming superhero films coming up if you want to read it, as it explains partially why I feel Captain America wouldn't translate well into a movie; which as we both now know that i was wrong on, but you can read it anyway if you like.

      However, i guess it's great to see we can both agree on "Iron man 2", "captain america the first avenger" and "iron man" though. lol. anyway, thanks again for stopping by to share your thoughts with us. :)

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago


      I'm sorry to hear that then. Well hopefully, you won't have to wait too long then. Anyway, I hope you like the movies when you see them, and be sure to let me know what you think once you do okay. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us. :)


      Thanks Jaowmeens. I'm glad you liked the review, and the movie as well. Yeah, this film was rather awesome if you ask me. Plus, the end trailer scene was great too. It definitely looks like the "Avengers" is building itself up to be probably one of the biggest hits of next year. Although I am a bit skeptical on how they'll be able to pull it off, but it should be interesting to find out.


      Aw thanks Paradise for the nice compliment, as it definitely seems like you're always one of my biggest supporters here. :) Yeah, it looks like Marvel Studios did a great job with this movie. Although I have yet to see the new Harry Potter film, I have to say that I agree with you that it is surprising that Captain America beat it out in the box office this weekend. Then again, Harry Potter still managed to come in at 2nd, so it wasn't that bad I suppose. Oh well. Anyways, thanks again for stopping by. :)


      Thanks Rosie. I'm glad that you liked my entire hub presentation here. :) Well if you like Marvel films, then you'll probably end up liking next year's "Avengers" then, as I know all the characters are going to team up in that movie, so it should be interesting to see. If you do see Captain America, then I would definitely sit through until after the credits, as it'll show you a trailer for what I'm talking about. Anyway, thanks for stopping by again rosie, as it was a pleasure seeing you. :)


      Yeah, you're definitely right about how acting played a huge part in "Iron Man" and "Captain America", as I thought both Evans and Downey Jr. pulled off their characters perfectly. And, I agree with you about Robert Downey Jr., as it seems like Christian Bale for the longest time, they were both under rated actors until they decided to star in super hero films. Now, that they have starred in a couple of superhero movies, people are now just realizing how great they are as actors.

      As far as "thor" goes, I don't know if I would say he's a bland character, as the potential was there to make a great superhero movie that incorporated elements that nobody ever seen before in a film like science fiction weaved seamlessly into fantasy norse mythology. Unfortunately, half the damn movie ended up becoming nothing more than a elaborate prequel for the "Avengers" that you really don't get much of a sense of who the characters are like you do with "Iron Man" and "Captain America: The First Avenger."

      Oh well, I just hope the planned sequels for "Thor" will do much better than the first one, but only time will tell. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by buddy, and sorry to hear about what happened with that Wonder Woman pilot.


      Well, I'm glad I could help. Yeah, I usually hate bad comic book based movies myself, but it's always great to see one that's pulled off rather well. :) Anyway, I hope you enjoy the film whenever you get a chance to see it, and thanks again for stopping by. :)

      @funmontrealgirl, allsurety bonds, daskittlez69, the reminder

      Thanks guys. I'm glad that you all liked my review, and hope you folks enjoy the movie as much as i did. If not, then more so. :)

    • daskittlez69 profile image


      8 years ago from midwest

      I am going to see it tonight, thanks for the review.

    • The Reminder profile image

      The Reminder 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Might give it a shot at the movies.

      Thanks for the review!

    • Nickalooch profile image


      8 years ago from Columbia, MD

      i dont know why you were so down on this film before it released. the only thing i doubted was Chris Evans in the role, and he completely proved me wrong. He and Hayley Atwell made the movie for me, their on-screen chemistry made the movie in my opinion better then Iron Man 1. Albeit, i cant stand Gywenth Paltrow so write it off to that if you will.

      Marvel only made mistakes with IM2, and slight ones with Thor. Thor was still pretty good though and i think it was slightly underrated in people's eyes. IM2, just to much was in it.

    • AllSuretyBonds profile image


      8 years ago

      I am excited to see this movie this weekend! Go captain America!!!!

    • funmontrealgirl profile image


      8 years ago from Montreal

      Woohoo! Watching it tonight. :)

    • giselenmendez profile image


      8 years ago from Berlin, Germany

      Great review, Steven! I cannot wait to see this movie, it's really good to know that the director did a great job (comparing his work to Nolan's is huge). After watching "The Incredible Hulk" and "Thor", I was a little disappointed so I wasn't really sure about watching this movie but apparently Marvel is back on track and that's great because I hate suffering after a bad comic book-based movie.

    • reagu profile image


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      I, too, enjoyed the move and agreed with you on Thor, as well. I also believe that the actors had something to do with the movie's success. Robert Downey, Jr. had been a top notch actor since his days from Less Than Zero and Weird Science. And Chris Evans hit a homerun for Captain America. I thought that Thor was simply a bland movie based on a bland character from the comic books.

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya Steven, great hub, great review, great presentation. I absolutely loved it and enjoyed all the pictures and videos as well. I love all Marvel movies although I didn't read the comics and didn't know the storylines before I saw the other movies.. heck, I don't even know who the Avengers are. But I love action films and love to watch them with my kids. We will definitely watch Captain America. Again, great hub. Voted up and awesome!

      Have a nice day,


    • Paradise7 profile image


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Yet another great review, Stevie. I always enjoy the pants off your reviews. I think, for me, this isn't a movie I'd see in the theater, but I'd definitely rent it. I can wait that long.

      So Marvel finally pulled another big one out of the hat. The box office for Captian America pushed out the final Harry Potter film from first place. I was really a little surprised by that.

    • joawmeens profile image


      8 years ago from Hopewell, Ohio

      Great review. I really enjoyed this movie, too. I also don't think it could be compared to the Nolan Batman movies, but this movie is really fun, and just an all around great movie.

      Plus, the after-credits scene? Awesome.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I live in Nepal, and not many movies are released here. I watched Thor, X-Men but could not watch Green Lantern, and Captain America is nowhere in sight. Perhaps I'll have to wait for DVD release.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago


      You know, I read that somewhere too, but I also read the same exact thing about "Thor" as well. However, they were both handled by different directors, so it's not hard to fathom that both films were on different production schedules. Maybe Captain America was already farther into production than Thor was for them to implement too may references to the Avengers. However, I can't really say, so you might have a very good point there, as that would explain a lot.

      Anyways, as far as references to the "Avengers", I guess it would depend on what your exact definition of it, as one could say that the very appearance of Tony Stark's father in the film is somewhat of a hint to the "Avengers" along with the use of the "Cosmic Cube" that was in the film; which was also featured in the after credits scene in "Thor."

      Like you though, I do agree that Joe Johnston does a great job recapturing the feel of the 1940's in this movie. I just hope that he returns for the sequels though, as I know Marvel already has plans to do a Captain America trilogy after the Avengers. Anyway, thanks for stopping by. :)


      You haven't gotten it over there yet? What country to you live in if you don't mind me asking? Well it's definitely worth the wait, as I can assure you this probably one of the best super hero films that I've seen. :) Thanks for stopping by again. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I want to watch this movie but it has not still been released in my country

    • preacherdon profile image


      8 years ago from Arkansas

      I, too, really enjoyed this movie. It was better than I thought it was going to be. I think Johnson accurately depicted what we visualize as 1940's America. It was remininscent of the first season of Wonder Woman. I highly recommend anyone to see it. I was definitely better than Thor, and I like that movie, too.

      According to something I read, probably IMDb, the reason there was little emphasis on S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers is because Captain America was meant to be a stand alone movie but when the director learned that Cap was going to be included in The Avengers, he modified the script. The only mention or suggestion of them is at the end of the movie and after the credits.

      Good hub.


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