We have a lot of super hero movies these days, I love them, sure some have serious problems(Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, X-men 3, The upcoming The Amazing Spider-man). Most problems when it comes to these films is them changing too much and basically ruining what made the comics great. Well you don’t have to worry at all about that when it comes to Captain America. This film in my opinion is closest actual comic book movie. The Dark Knight was a classic, but Nolan changed a lot of the Batman world to make “realistic”. Captain America has made a beautiful balance of real and comic. Never really blinking when it comes to the story lines from the comic. Director Joe Johnston was frankly a perfect fit for this movie, just watch the Rocketeer and you can see he has an eye for making great period set films.
The movie is about a super thin, super tiny man named Steve Rogers watches as men sign up and go abroad to fight the war against the Nazi’s. He tries over and over to enlist and continues to get rejected. That all changes when he runs into a German scientist working for the American military who has “super soldier” experiment. Rogers goes through bootcamp and survives through being smart and frankly being brave. The film also makes it clear that Rogers is all about fighting for what is right, not about killing people, it’s about as he puts it “standing up to bullies”. He meets a beautiful British agent, played by the very impressive Haley Atwell and of course falls for her, yet somehow it works well because both her and Chris Evans are so charming you in a way fall for both of them. After basically proving himself Rogers is green lit for the super soldier program, it’s a success, his tiny body becomes huge and muscle bound(very impressive Chris Evans, this scene alone won over every female audience member). Sadly a bad guy blows up the lab and of course wiping out any possibility of duplicating the process. Rogers is the only super soldier alive, sort of, our villain Red Skull, played amazingly by Hugo Weaving was the first subject of the project, it didn’t exactly work perfectly.
The real story of the film is Rogers dealing with the fact that he essentially becomes a joke. He puts the costume on at first to sell war bonds. Going city to city with beautiful dancers. Captain America stars in films, on stage he punches Hitler in the face. Yet when he shows up to cheer up the troops he is made fun of, of course Rogers decides to go on a deadly mission, thus proving himself to the troops. Instead of selling war bonds he puts the costume on to rally the troops as the threat increases.
The threat being a group called Hydra, ran by a brilliant lunatic Red Skull. They were Nazi deep science division until they turned against them. Hydra’s goal isn’t winning WW2 but it’s to destroy the world so they can rebuild it. What I love about this is this is a comic book villain and a comic book threat. They didn’t dial it down or anything they went all out and it worked. Red Skull is very iconic villain and they played it right in every way possible.
The real great thing about this film is how well it sets up the next Avengers film. We have Tony Stark’s(Iron Man) dad as a character in the film. The ending also leads us some what towards an understanding of how and why Captain America becomes a part of the Avengers.
If there are any problems in this film, it’s that Captain America’s team, the Howling Commando’s just don’t get a lot of screen time. Bucky sort of does but frankly I wish there was a trilogy of Captain America films set in WW2, guess there is a chance that could still happen but probably not. It seems like Captain America will be stuck in the 21st Century for a little while.