Movie: Captain America, The First Avenger

"Captain America" directed by Joe JohnstonSteve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull.

That’s the movie synopsis from Yahoo! Movies–but I think it can do with a bit of tweaking as there were some things in the movie that doesn’t quite jive with this synopsis. One, Steve Rogers is volunteering to be a soldier for the United States Army. He gets roped in into the experimental program because it’s where he is assigned by the recruiter who becomes impressed by his tenacity. Two, as Captain America, Rogers has a team of soldiers who helps him with his non-Hitler related missions–and he gets aided by Agent Peggy Clark and Tony Stark, Sr. Bucky Barnes is actually a member of the team of soldiers who just happens to be Steve Roger’s best friend.

Now that I’ve nitpicked the synopsis, I just want to share that I highly enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger.

Truth be told, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. But I did. And I keep telling my friends who haven’t seen the film yet, you’ll understand why no other actor could have played this version of Captain America. That, and that this is not a superhero movie.

No, I’m not lying. Captain America: The First Avenger really does not look or feel like a superhero movie. It’s a war movie that deals with loss, sacrifice and heroism–with a bit of comedy thrown in. And everyone involved in the film really threw themselves in the role, because you won’t see Chris Evans playing Captain America, or Dominic Cooper playing Tony Stark–you really see the two characters come to life through the actors. And this is all the more true for Chris Evans who has been in a couple of well-known roles: that of the Human Torch in two Fantastic Four movies, and as that guy from Not Another Teen Movie. And for the ultimate geeks (or those lucky enough to have seen Scott Pilgrim when it was shown here), he was Lucas Lee, the movie-star evil ex-boyfriend.

In Captain America, we see Chris Evans as we’ve never seen him before–as the guy next door. We always see him play these overly confident characters that it’s nice to see him as the quiet type. Oddly enough, he felt more like a character when he was already the bulked-up version of Steve Rogers than when he was the puny kid from Brooklyn. I guess I kept getting distracted by the fact that the actor is really not that small. And I kept looking for the patches and tears in the effects they did to shrink the actor.

As for the story… Well, there really isn’t much to say about the story. It’s war, people are being recruited to fight, and amidst all these we have this maniacal character (played by Hugo Weaving who is dastardly devilish here) wanting to dominate the world and eradicating those who do not follow him. Yes, he is worse than Hitler. But of course, you need a super villain for your super hero.

Except, as I mentioned above, this is not a superhero movie. We get the montages, the transformation, and the heroic shots. We get the sacrifices, the loss, and the token love interest. But at the heart of it, this is a film about how war affects so many people in so many different ways. And how ordinary, non-superpowered human beings, can be heroes too.

Captain America: The First Avenger is showing in theaters. And when you watch the film, make sure to stay until the end of credits. Mostly because you get to see the teaser trailer for The Avengers. But also to recognize the many people who put hard work into the film.

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