Captain America: The first Avenger is, for lack of a better term, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It’s almost too good words. I was thoroughly impressed with X-Men First Class, under whelmed by Green Lantern, and found Thor, thunderous, but Cap’s journey was definitely the most captivating of all the super hero genre movies of the summer. Harry Potter for the purpose of this review, while still a hero, is a wizard and therefore not eligible for the super hero debate. Hey my column my rules. After grossly underestimating the popularity of Potter last weekend and having to make the walk of shame back to the car, my crew of comic nerds was happy to have no problems securing seats to see Steve Rogers’ accent to American hero. There was much anticipation and high expectation about the first Avenger’s tale. We were pleasantly pleased with the result. This movie had more Captain Awesome than Chuck’s brother-in-law.
Captain America is the story of Steve Rodgers the ultimate little guy with a heart that is grossly disproportioned to his physical dimensions. I haven’t seen a pugnacious pee-wee’s powerful pursuit like Rodgers’ since Rudy refused to give up at Notre Dame and Mikey led the Goonies to find One Eyed Willie’s treasure. It doesn’t matter to Rodgers that he has been deemed too small four different times; he is undeterred in his dream of serving his country on the battle field during WWII.
His dodgy determination moves Dr. Abraham Erskine, played beautifully by Stanley Tucci, who heads the U.S. government’s Strategic Scientific Reserve. His heart also wins over and is shared with SSR special agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell. A brilliantly cast, Tommy Lee Jones plays Colonel Chester Phillips, who after seeing the depth of heart in Rodgers, still can’t get past his dearth of size.
Rodgers of course is chosen as the first to experience the “super soldier” which transforms Rodgers into faster, stronger, more agile soldier who is immediately put to the test when an agent of HYDRA, the scientific research division of the Nazi party, crashes the injection party.
HYDRA is headed by Johann Schmidt (AKA Red Skull), played by Agent Smith, I mean Hugo Weaver. (I couldn’t help but whisper “Mr. Anderson” when he first appears on screen. The Red Skull has is own plan of on world domination and they do not necessarily mirror those of the Nazis. One of “The Usual Suspects” that accompanies me on these nerd outings remarked afterwards, “The Red Skull is one of the all time bad guys. HE’S MORE EVIL THAN HITLER!” A more perfect description I have not found.
Captain’s battles with Hydra are some what stalled do to politics and policy until Cap’s good friend, Bucky Barnes, is captured. Rodgers disobeys orders in order to rescue his buddy as well as several hundred other soldiers, a la Rambo III, and becomes an inspiration to all those who still doubted him.
What makes Rodgers’ character so deep is the fact that he never stops being, “just a guy from Brooklyn” despite having power, which of course was the reason that Erskine picked him. He is a humble quiet little guy, in a super hero’s body, therefore, he never develops a big head nor does he ever truly embrace the role of star, making the character that much more likable.
Rodgers final battle ends with him crashing into the artic ocean, no spoiler alert here, the movie begins with a team of scientist finding the iconic shield frozen in a block of ice. Rodgers of course has survived and is introduced into the new time by director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division), Nick Fury, who is putting together a team (The Avengers if you have been living under a rock since Iron Man’s cameo at the end of The Hulk) of heroes.
This movie, much like X-Men: First Class, will be enjoyed by fan boys, nerds, and every day movie goers. It’s a story that’s been relatable since before Lambda Lambda Lambda stood up to Marcy and Roseanne’s future husbands. Fans boys can also be secure in the knowledge that the great Stan Lee does make his obligatory cameo appearance.
The consensus complaint I, as well as some of the other Captain America shirt wearing theater goers shared, was centered around the fact that this movie should have come out on July Fourth. What’s more patriotic than fireworks and Cap’s shield? Speaking of shields, I have to give props to the fan that showed up wearing an actual Captain America shield, kudos to you sir. By the way fellow fan boys, yes good things do come to those who wait, in other words it is well worth sitting through all the credits.