Captain America has one of the stronger origin stories in the Marvel universe. That resulted in hope for the project which despite some concerns along the way holds even more importance considering it acts as the lead-in to The Avengers. Going back to a different period with World War II allowed the story to escape some of the SHIELD pitfalls that resulted in criticism in the others while establishing an emotional component given where the story inevitably heads.
Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, a frail man who wants to contribute on the battlefield but does not have the necessary physical traits to do so. The effects to make Evans look almost sickly weak is impressive. Ultimately Rogers is chosen as the subject of a super soldier program and the result is the creation of Captain America who will have to face down a threat from HYDRA and its leader Johann “The Red Skull” Schmidt (Hugo Weaving).
The shift in tone and visuals due to the different time period was refreshing and well executed. The special effects seem iffy at times however. There are explosions in particular that look off when they happen behind characters…though it may be attributed to the 3D or even an attempt at a comic-book style but regardless they stood out and were slightly distracting.
Seeing the film in 3D is probably unnecessary. There are some fine action sequences highlighted by moments with Capt’s shield that were great and in many scenes the 3D adds some depth. Overall though it was a fairly unoffensive experience as the 3D was decent enough to avoid making things worse but not good enough to really matter.
There are a few cheesy moments throughout the movie and the score didn’t particularly help in that regard. It’s important to remember though that the film is trying to be a bit of a throwback considering the time period being represented. It is a inspirational story being told and while other Marvel characters may linger in a grey area Captain America is about clear good vs evil.
Weaving is effective as the villain, Tommy Lee Jones draws out some laughs as Colonel Chester Phillips, and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark is fun to watch and compare to his future son. It’s Haylee Atwell though who helps add the emotional element to the movie given how charming she is as the potential love interest Peggy Carter.
Knowing how Captain America will end up in present day makes things different from the other Marvel characters connected to The Avengers so far. There is actual loss involved with the audience having to face that Rogers will lose all those years and all of the people he knew in the past. That is what really made the movie become more than just another in a line of superhero offerings this summer.
Captain America is an entertaining and satisfying ride. It does a solid job of standing on its own while delivering the necessary story transition to The Avengers.