Captain America is the final piece of the puzzle before seeing the big picture – next summer’s highly anticipated The Avengers. Iron Man has been well established. We’ve seen two different versions of the Hulk (get ready for a third actor to play the mostly mild-manner Bruce Banner in The Avengers). Thor won over audiences across the world in May. Now it’s time to meet the final major player before the team is assembled – Captain America.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is a scrawny less-than-average kid from Brooklyn who doesn’t let his size and bodily imperfections get him down. He is willing to stick up for good – even though it usually results with him taking a beating in some dirty alley. His whole life he has fallen victim to bullies, so his big heart has lead him to enlisting in the Army so that he can fight against America’s biggest bully – Adolf Hitler and his evil Nazi followers.
Four times Steve has tried enlisting and four times he has been rejected. It isn’t until his fifth attempt enlisting at the 1942 Stark Expo that Steve’s ambition, honest intent and true integrity catches the attention of someone willing to accept him.
German defector Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones) is working with the U.S. military’s Strategic Scientific Reserve – a pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. organization – to create a super soldier through genetic science and experimental technology. Despite having a less-than-desirable physique, Steve holds all of the personality traits desired of the trial candidate. With Erskine’s serum and Howard Stark’s secret technology – yes, that’s Iron Man Tony Stark’s father – Steve Rogers is bulked up, buffed out and transformed into the nation’s one-man army – Captain America.
Where other Marvel origins stories have lacked, Captain America perfectly succeeds. Focusing too much on the origins, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor all relied on third-act villains for conflict. Captain America graciously balances and blends the two. The perfect mix allows for a great amount of room for action – something that all three were criticized for not having enough of.
But the real topper is the way the screenplay – through the actors, story and dialogue – forces you to create emotional connections with the characters. For the first time in a Marvel superhero film you actually care for the characters. There’s an emotional involvement that is strong for any film – let alone a comic book-based action movie about a guy with super strength.
Although the general pre-release buzz around Captain America is less than that of other comic book movies, it definitely deserves to be seen. There is a little something for everyone in Captain America. It has a solid story, there is whole lot of stylized action, it is very fun and entertaining, and there’s even a bit of romance. But the biggest thing that Captain America has going for it is it’s great big heart.
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures