Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Review

Comic book movie adaptations generally fall into two categories. They are either horrible or are respectable adaptations that do justice to the comic books that preceded them. It doesn’t seem to matter how the movies are rated, the big name comic book movies always seem to do well at the box office. The majority of the Spider Man series was mediocre at best, yet at the time still set Hollywood box office records. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some excellent comic book movies. The Batman series has been excellent of late, and the Iron Man series is doing especially well. Regardless of execution or character, Spider man, Batman, Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, it doesn’t matter. Fans will go see the movies because they love the characters, and love the series. Captain America is a new addition to the world of comic book movie adaptations. Not as well known as Spiderman or Batman, Captain America was introduced to preclude Marvel’s new Avengers series.

Captain America is set during World War two. It tells the tale of Steve Rogers, a frail American boy who longs to fight for America against Nazi Germany. He is continually rejected in his efforts to enlist in the American military. He coincidentally meets Dr. Erskine, a German scientist working for an experimental division of the United States Military. Erskine gets Rogers into his special division, and eventually explains to Rogers that he picked him not for his physical stature, but for his courage, heart, and patriotism.

Rogers agrees to be the first person to go under the Super Soldier program developed by Erskine himself. Rogers is injected with the Super Soldier serum, and exposed to Vita Rays. The treatment turns Rogers into a stronger, faster, soldier who has powers beyond those of any other human. With the experiment a success, everyone lets their guard down while celebrating. A Nazi spy shoots Erskine and takes the remaining vial of the serum. Rogers chases him down and catches him, exhibiting all of the skills and attributes the serum provided him with. He is super strong, fast, can jump over fences, and easily catches the spy while he is trying to get away with the last vial.

Regardless of his prowess, the commanding officer believes that Rogers is unfit to be a soldier. He leaves him behind and the rest of the unit go to Germany to fight Hydra and Red Skull, the commander of the Nazi’s secret science division. Rogers meanwhile tours the U.S. and Germany as “Captain America”, a patriotic symbol meant to raise the morale of the troops. Upon learning of his best friend’s capture, Rogers defies orders and sneaks into the Hydra facility where his friend Bucky is being kept. He single handedly destroys the installation and frees over 400 soldiers.

The movie continues as Captain America squares off against Red Skull and his Hydra division. I won’t ruin the story. It is full of action, suspense, and even some romance. The acting is great, especially by Chris Evans who plays Rogers, and Tommy Lee Jones who plays his commanding officer. I recommend this movie to all action fans, and those who enjoy comic books. Check it out at a theatre near you.