Take a hero complex and add a lot of super soldier serum and a dash of a world war and you get Captain America.
Movie: Captain America: The First Avenger
Release: July 22, 2011
Director: Joe Johnston
Writers: Christopher Merkus, Stephen McFeely, Joss Whedon
Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones
The movie is called The First Avenger and it is a fitting title considering it is about the creation of Captain America (the oldest member of the soon to be Avengers team) and the S.S.R. (which would later become S.H.I.E.L.D. the people who put the Avengers together). This movie is pretty much just back story. The only way for the MCU to stay true to the nature of the character was to keep him in his original time. Optimism and the good ol’ fashion American know-how is nonexistent in the present time; it died around the time of the Vietnam War, and the 9/11 attacks were not enough to bring it completely back. How do you bring a WWII warrior into the conflicts happening today? You put him in ice.
Johnston directed the underrated The Rocketeer, also about a hero battling evil Germans (actual Nazis not a fictional Nazi-like faction) from taking over the world. He uses the same steampunk look for the evil guy’s tech in Captain America seen in The Rocketeer and it adds a cool style to the movie. He was the Art Director for Raiders of the Lost Ark which is why there are a couple of fun references to the first Indiana movie (did you catch them?).
Thor gave “the who” and Captain America gives us “the what”. The Norwegian village Johann Schmidt (Weaving) goes to in order to get the Tesseract is the same village in Thor where Odin and his troops were worshiped as gods after they defeated the Frost Giants. Also when Erik Selvig was looking thru the book about Nordic mythology, there is a drawing of Odin walking down the rainbow bridge to earth holding a blue cube. The two setup movies give us small connections to one another so when the Demi-God and the WWII era soldier get together in The Avengers, it is not such a stretch.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t like Steve Rodgers so much for the same reasons I never really liked Superman. They both have a hero complex that goes so much further than it needs to, even before Rodgers was made into a super hero. With the exception of lying to the recruiters, (something he does because of the over inflated hero complex) he doesn’t do anything considered wrong or immoral. He fights the good fight for God, Country, and to stop bullies everywhere. There is no depth to guys like him or Superman, they don’t struggle with any emotions that are not this overbearing sense of righteousness. They are living saints, and like all saints, they run towards martyrdom instead of picking the smarter option that has the same outcome. HISHE hilariously points this out in their episode featuring Captain America. But like I said, they needed him to be in our time so idiocy prevails. I don’t need my heroes to be all dark and broody, I just need them to have something more to them than a hero complex driving them. The moments without action had me bored.
The best parts of the movie were Peggy Carter (Atwell) and Howard Stark (Cooper). She was smart, tough, and bold (and didn’t need to run around in a skin-tight cat suit), everything I wanted in a female lead for these movies. During a time in our history where women were not respected as authority figures (or respected in general), Carter managed to command it from her male counterparts. Cooper’s Stark was done to perfection. He displayed some of the same mannerisms as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, but it was not an impression of Downey. More like a subtle tribute to Tony. What was great about his performance is not just how you could see the father/son resemblance in them, it is the differences between the two men. Tony and Howard are both wholly egotistical men, but where Tony constantly pushes people away with proclamations no one can match him and refuses to play well with others, Howard (while touting his genius) is willing to share and work with others for the greater good. Maybe it was a sign of the times, (everyone pitched in for the war effort) or maybe it was because Howard was a self-made man and Tony had everything handed to him.
The Super Soldier Serum is fascinating because recreating it is a plot point for The Incredible Hulk and I have no doubt that this is going to be a plot point in future movies or TV shows. The serum is considered too valuable and the uses could mean big profit for whoever can replicate it. The types trouble caused from failed replications can make for great story telling. The fact that Bucky Barnes (Stan) was found by Rodgers in a lab looking like he had been experimented on and there is no way of knowing Red Skull is dead make for great points for the Captain America sequel or other MCU movies.
Since Howard finds the Tesseract and we know it becomes a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. vaults for further testing and the end credits scene is nothing more than a trailer for The Avengers, I wanted to talk about the Marvel One Shots that came out after Captain America but before The Avengers. The Consultant answers my (and probably others peoples) questions as to why at the end of The Incredible Hulk Tony Stark goes into the bar to talk to General Ross. Tony was sent by Fury to sabotage The World Council (those who hold S.H.I.E.L.D.’s leash?) wanting to bring on Ross and The Abomination to the Avengers Initiative. As per usual, no government agency wants to take credit for their fuck-ups so they just try and justify the existence of Abomination and throw Banner under the bus. This is why Tony goes to talk to Ross. Tony is guaranteed to piss off Ross and make him not want to have anything to do with S.H.I.E.L.D. The short is a brilliant way to clear up big plot holes created by another movie.
The second One Shot is called A Funny thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer and it has nothing to do with any plot points, it is just a nice way to showcase Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson’s abilities as more than just a suit. He gets caught in the middle of a hold up at a gas station while driving to New Mexico. He diffuses the situation with a nice dose of dry humor and badassery. We know he is going to be a part of the team handling the Avengers, it is a nice way of getting to know this person.
What did you think of Captain America? Were you annoyed by Saint Rodgers as well, or do you like your heroes to be of pure heart? I am going out of order for the next posting and I will be talking about Agent Carter next since her story takes place after WWII. Till next time, stay nerdy!
To read UberApe’s review of Captain America: The First Avenger click here