Captain America (2011) is our final Avengers film before our intrepid Avengers assemble. This film is a little different than its sister films Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor: it’s still an origins film, but it’s more of a war film than a superhero film.
This, I think, contributes to why it is my least favourite Avengers film so far. I don’t like war films because I don’t like the business of war. Tony Stark’s approach was much more manageable: he turned from building weapons to making clean renewable energy. Steve Rogers, our future Captain America, starts the film by simply wanting to fit in and enlist in the war.
In Steve’s defence, he is stupidly heroic, thoughtful, intelligent and overall simply a good person. I like the character. I like his complex he’s developed over being a ‘little’ guy. He doesn’t have short man syndrome: he simply wants to pull his own weight and serve his duty to his country, like everyone else. There’s tremendous pressure on the young men in the film to enlist: it seems every man of age we meet is a soldier. Steve just wants to do his duty.
It’s when a scientist discovers his personality and intelligence, and finding his body lacking, chooses Rogers to be an experimental super-soldier. Rogers rockets into a powerful body that is capable of more than any other human at the time, and now that he’s finally in the war, it’s time to end it.
Casting Chris Evans as Captain America was always going to turn heads: he’s already been cast as the Human Torch in the allegedly failed Fantastic Four films, which should (in theory) share a universe with this Marvel franchise. However Evans is capable of playing your ultimate ‘not-quite-perfect’ good guy soldier, kind of like a military Cyclops from X-Men and Superman wrapped into one blonde hero. He’s your typical Boy Scout superhero, and Evans develops nicely from the inept small body (with amazing special effects to keep his face on all the time) to the big man hero everyone adores without even trying. The inclusion of Howard Stark, Tony’s father, as the initiator of the technology (here I was thinking he’d be more into electronics, not biology) is a giant nod towards the huge impact Iron Man has made on the entire franchise. Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull is suitably creepy.
Overall Captain America is an enjoyable film as far as superhero origins go. I personally find it my least favourite of the Avengers films, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. It’s a good film to get an understanding of the Captain America character without reading the comics, and it also informs on a lot of the upcoming Avengers film as well, with Steve Roger’s undeniable leader role.