Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) is due to start filming…soon? Its start date has been pushed back repeatedly but it should be starting in the not too distant future. And with the announcement of Robert Redford joining the cast (replacing the heavyweight presence of Tommy Lee Jones from the first film) I thought it would be worth revisiting Captain America: The First Avenger. None of the Marvel films have been panned so to speak, but some are regarded as the weaker films. For a lot of people this includes Hulk (2003), The Incredible Hulk (2008) and Captain America. I am not a fan of the Hulk films but I do think that Captain America has got a bit of a bad rap. It’s not perfect, sure, but it has some great performances and wonderful moments – all setting up the development of the Steve Rogers character.
With a film that is so firmly based on the origins of one character, it’s important to cast the role as well as possible. When Chris Evans was first cast the only issues that fans had was due to his previous role as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four films. As complaints go it is fairly limited and, by now, seems irrelevant – especially with the reboot of the Fantastic Four on the way. The first meeting of Steve Rogers shows him as short and very skinny. These are possibly the most disturbing images of the film – seeing Evans so emaciated is very unnerving. And then you move onto Captain America Steve. Easier on the eyes but still the same sweet endearing character. Out of all of the Avengers he can be regarded as boring. He isn’t cocky like Tony Stark, not arrogant like Thor (even if he has developed since his first introduction) and not quite as “damaged” as Bruce Banner. Rogers is a weak man with great inner strength and character who was given great physical strength as well. Plus, who doesn’t love a gentleman?
Another great aspect? Hayley. Atwell. I’m quite clearly
obsessed infatuated adoring of her. I don’t even need to mention how much I love Peggy Carter.
The rest of the cast are also top notch. Tommy Lee Jones as a gruff Army General. Stanley Tucci as the well meaning, intelligent Doctor. Sebastian Stan as Rogers’ best friend with all (or most of) the luck, Bucky Barnes. Dominic Cooper as the third actor to play Tony Stark’s father Howard – and setting up a possible love triangle. Toby Jones as the weedy scientist. Rogers’ team of soldiers – never fully claimed as The Howling Commandos. And then there’s Hugo Weaving as the deranged Johann Schmidt/Red Skull. Doing crazy Nazi to the full but never quite camping it up like Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Which is a good thing.
The problems? Mostly relating to the plot, in my mind. I don’t know the full details of Captain America in the comics or the origins of Red Skull. All I can go in is what I make of the film. Aside from the fact that there is a general accepted suspension of disbelief regarding superheroes anyway, the Red Skull story seems…just too insane. (I have no problem with the plot of Thor though.) And the end… It is both heartbreaking (I love Peggy!) and also unsatisfying. The best moments of the film come with Rogers being a solider. Whether that’s in battle or just interacting with the other soldiers and Stark. And Peggy. Anything with Peggy. (Undeserving of just a side note, but Anna B. Sheppard’s costume design is also incredible. But I may just be distracted by that red dress.)
But let’s not forget another wonderful aspect of the film. This:
And that’s why I went as a USO girl for a fancy dress film night.
Let’s cut Captain America a little slack and look forward to The Winter Soldier!