Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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The fifth movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Captain America: The First Avenger, another film that posed a unique series of challenges for Marvel Studios.

First, Captain America was such a straight-laced character that he can be considered boring.  The boy scout characters can be difficult to relate to and Cap has had that issue in the comic books.

Second, the casting of Chris Evans was a shock and caused a stir.  Chris Evans was in the Tim Story Fantastic Four movies as Johnny Storm and he was perfectly cast as the Human Torch.  There was no way he could play Johnny Storm and still work as Steve Rogers.

Finally, this was the last film before the epic team up of the Avengers and if this film did not work, it would have really given the crossover event a black eye and hurt the momentum of phase one.

Throw in the fact that Captain America: The First Avenger was a period piece from World War II, well, there were a ton of things working against this movie.

In the end, it was my favorite movie of 2011.

Director Joe Johnston found a way to make Steve Rogers the underdog and he made him unbelievably relatable.  Chris Evans turned out to be the perfect Steve Rogers in every way and the movie kept the momentum going toward Avengers.

There are so many scenes showing how Chris Evans perfectly encapsulated Steve Rogers:  the scene in the alley where he delivers the classic line, “I could do this all day,” the scene where he throws himself onto the grenade, the scene where he captures the flag, his scenes with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), among many others.  I was very worried about Chris Evans, but I was convinced early in the film that they had made the right choice.  Now, of course, I can’t think of anyone else ever playing Cap.

The skinny Chris Evans was a bit awkward, but you get used to the CGI as the film progressed, and, of course, this is only until the Super Soldier Experiment.

Hugo Weaving was great as the Red Skull, though there could have been much more done with the character.  It is unfortunate that Weaving was not a fan of the character.  Tommy Lee Jones and Hayley Atwell make wonderful supporting characters here.  Dominic Cooper brought the film a young Howard Stark, a role he would bring back several times.

Then, went I had heard rumors of Cap joining the USO in the film, I thought this was the worst idea possible.  And yet, “The Star Spangled Man” song is one of the greatest moments in the MCU.

The film made Bucky Barnes an adult and a friend of Steve and gave the role to Sebastian Stan (who, of course, would eventually become the Winter Soldier).  Every choice the film made to adjust the comic lore to a cinematic one worked.

I loved The First Avenger.  This was one of the best MCU origin stories and just about everything worked with it.


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