The first movie in my Marvel summer challenge is Captain America: The First Avenger, which was actually the fifth one they made. It was released in 2011 by Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures, directed by Joe Johnston and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It stars Chris Evans as the title character Steve Rogers. And of course, it also has a cameo appearance by the late, great Stan Lee himself.
The movie plot
In my movie reviews, I try not to give the entire plot away, because I mean, it’s only 2 hours of your life… Watch it if you want to know how it ends! Also, I don’t want to spoil anything for those who plan to watch it. And also… it’s Captain America, if you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you have to know at least the gist of it, right?!
Anyway, the movie starts in the present time with a crew digging up ice and finding a “weather balloon”. They go inside, only to find a red, white and blue shield and they move to wake up the people in charge saying, “he has waited long enough.” Then the actual movie starts, in one long flashback where we meet Steve Rogers, a small and sickly man who is so eager to join the army that he enters an experimental army research operation to be transformed into a super soldier, nicknamed Captain America. With the help of a trusted army battalion, he must fight the Germans, and more specifically the secret organisation Hydra, led by the Red Skull who plan for wold domination with the energy-source the Tesseract. The movie ends back in present-time, with Steve Rogers waking up in New York in the SHIELD offices.
A bit of background
The movie concept for Captain America was born in 1997 but delayed because of a lawsuit over copyrights that wasn’t settled until 2003. Then it took two more years for Marvel studios to wrangle the financing and start planning the project. Director Joe Johnston accepted in 2008 and principal casting took place between March and June of 2010. In June of that year, filming began, taking place in London, Manchester, Caerwent (Wales, UK), Liverpool and Los Angeles. The movie premiered in Hollywood on July 19th 2011 and was widely released in the United States 3 days later. It made $4 million on the first midnight showings and went on to make over $170 million in the US and over $370 million worldwide. Critics praised Evans’ performance and the authentic portrayal of the 1940s era.
What surprised me
Back when the Marvel movies were just coming out, this Captain America flick was indeed the first one I saw. I’d never read any of the Marvel comics or seen any of the earlier movies or TV-shows. I don’t think I had even heard of the Captain America character before. I did like superhero stuff, having fond memories of watching the X-men cartoons on TV after school when I was a kid. Now that I know more about the Marvel universe, I did notice a few things that surprised me:
- Knowing the importance of the Tesseract, it surprised me that it is just present in this movie, which is supposed to be the first in the entire MCU timeline. It’s not explained where it comes from or how it ended up with Hydra. Red Skull does mention it is the power source of Odin, but how does he know? How did it end up in his hands? I’ll be sure to keep an eye on our little Tesseract as the movies progress!
- I also found it a nice detail that Nick Fury was included in this movie as well. But he has both his eyes here! While in every other Marvel movie I’ve seen, he has only one and it is never really explained what happend.
- Having seen a lot of these “secret government project”-type of movies, it surprised me how much of a say the scientist had in choosing his first guinea pig. Normally it’s not up to them, but up to the army itself or whoever is funding it to decide who the targets will be.
- It was really creepy to me how Steven Rogers looks in the beginning, knowing what Chris Evans looks like in real life. Had I not know, I don’t think it would have disturbed me as much, because it looked pretty natural. I looked it up though, and it took filming each scene in 4 different ways just to be able to CGI the actor into this smaller person we see on screen. Impressive!