Captain America rounds out phase 1 as the last solo film before the Avengers and it shows Marvel in all its glory! The Marvel formula of recent films to take a super hero that can potentially be seen as silly and ground him in reality while surrounding the film with likable actors and great humor is one that is still making them money to this day. But How does the First Avenger hold up? Pretty good for the most part.
Captain America introduces a plethora of characters that will become staples of the MCU. Starting with Steve Rogers played by Chris Evans. I still remember thinking to myself back in 2011 that I’ll never be able to see him as anything other than the Human Torch for better or worst. But then after watching the film, Chris Evans owns the role! He is a perfect Captain America and Steve Rogers and really brings out the humanity of this character. The rest of the supporting cast from Agent Carter, Bucky, Colonel Phillips, Howard Stark and Zola all do their jobs great. The standouts are obviously Red Skull at least in the first half of the film before he turns into a cartoon villain. The second is Stanley Tucci who gives an incredibly heart warming performance and really makes you side with Steve.
The film’s biggest drawback is the pacing. It feels like 2 different movies and from the moment he becomes Captain America proper, the movie is on a mad rush to reach the finish line and it suffers for it. The first half is such a great character drama that when it switches over to dumb action mode it loses a bit of its strength. The special effects also take a hit on repeated viewings, with the exception of the Skinny Steve scenes which still look fantastic in my opinion.
The First Avenger sets up the Avengers for great success. It introduces a likeable hero that we want to see more of and the ending cliffhanger almost guarantees that everyone will go see the Avengers. As the Box office records would later show, everyone did.
“Well if it ain’t the star spangled man with a plan”