Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

imageJoe Johnston directs Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell and Hugo Weaving in this big budget WWII origin’s story for the good old Cap himself.

Released way back when, in the mists of time, at a now unrecognisable point in history when Marvel wasn’t exactly a guaranteed home run at the big screen, this proves a delightful mixed bag of old school fun. As to set an entire feature length adventure in an unfashionable, Doctor Who-esque variation on World War II and aim for a smorgasbord of establishing derring adventures rather than a clean central plot was quite the risk for a cutting edge superhero flick. Even if the appropriate but safe Joe Johnston direction blandly balances this gamble out. The material seems like a perfect fit for the sub-Spielberg and almost on cue he gives a lot of shots and montages that make for great trailer moments but very little sustained action to test Marvel’s earliest superhuman. In fact only the just out of the oven foot chase around Brooklyn test the souped up Steve Rogers in an audience engaging way. So it’s the character stuff that makes this worthwhile. Evans -whether wimpy, cowled or crusading- is captivating. You truly root for Steve Rogers, the 4F turned unstoppable force. His determination, loyalty and heart never waiver whether being beat down in an alley by a towering jerk or on the radio piloting a death machine away from a populated area. When later, threat neutralised and finding himself heading towards the present day, the film suddenly seems to kick up a notch. This is all prologue to get the icon where he doesn’t belongs: out of time. End game achieved intriguingly, the bonus is that Evans clean cut take on potentially the creakiest and least relatable Marvel figurehead flips the character into the pantheon of cinema’s most loveable protagonists. He’s not alone here in this first effort. Hayley Atwell burns up the screen as the capable and in charge bombshell Agent Carter. Her sexy and likeable turn is stuff that khaki fetishes are made of. And Hugo Weaving can do this type of boo hiss villainy in his sleep. His Red Skull looks amazing but is never really given enough nasty to unleash. C’mon Marvel – don’t waste the Weaving. Bring him back, let him run loose on present day Captain America and Bucky.

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