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Captain America: The First Avenger Review

5

Pitting a brave hero against a mad villain without apology, this is the best Marvel movie yet. Seriously. Spoiler-free review.

Call it some advanced recon - - I had the most bodacious opportunity last week to see CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Since there are some fans who’re still on the fence about this flick, I’ll do everybody a favor and hold off on spoilers. I want you maniacs to see this, I want you to be as surprised by its twists as I was and I really want you to enjoy it as much as I did.

To cut straight to the point, this is the best Marvel movie yet. Ever since reading the criminally-underappreciated ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN AMERICA mini-series from the 90s, I’ve always felt that Cap had the most iconic origin in this universe of heroes. While not being a direct adaptation (even if does take a lot from that particular mini-series,) this flick realized everything I was hoping for and reminded me why Steve Rogers' heroic journey is so potent thematically.

As we finish a decade of superhero flicks following X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN, it’d be real tough to think of a more fitting bookend than this. After a lot of learning on the go, this is the movie that finally brings the connectivity that tied THOR and IRON MAN together into a critical mass. It's a picture that, at last, captures the unique, precise appeal of the shared superhero universe we enjoy in comics every week. You don’t need to know anything about Cap or Iron Man or Thor before watching this but, if you do, you'll get a real charge out of noticing where it fits into the greater mosaic. Actually, if you know a lot about Cap’s continuity and all his reinterpretations throughout the decades, you’ll get an additional rise out of how the changes to the mythos actually fit all the characters and circumstances together more sensibly.

== TEASER ==

The Red Skull gets the best makeover, to be sure. Anybody pitching a fit about “How can there are no Nazis in this World War II!?!?” needs to relax. They’re there. Trust me. The Skull’s a lot more fearsome as a rebel "god" within the German war machine than he is as a loyal servant of the Furhrer, anyway, and the reconceiving of HYDRA as his personal cult handily defuses the questions of taste and appropriateness that have dogged this particular historical fiction for so long. Cap makes a lot more sense, too, when he’s leading one side of a prototypical “G.I.Joe vs. Cobra” secret war instead of his super-heroics being messily fit into real campaigns and battles.

On a more basic level, I relished how this was a red-blooded superhero movie that pitted a hero against a villain without apology, for a change. Chris Evans is a big, strapping hoss who gets his hands dirty without ever breaking down about his misfortunes and Hugo Weaving isn't some misunderstood n'er-do-well who just needs a hug, but a steely-eyed madman. There's no dancing around that.

Audiences have sort-of been conditioned to expect every hero today to be a snarky smartass or an anti-social anti-hero. While this Cap defies orders when he needs to and cracks the occasional joke, Joe Johnston and his team refreshingly let him be a classic lead who still isn't the “boy scout” cynics so detest. Or, maybe more accurately, they make the "boy scout" angle work for him. Much like how Thor was shrewdly kept true to his ostentatious personality by being spun as a fish out of water, this presents a Cap whose awkward inner self never quite catches up to his impressive outer transformation. That’s spelled out in Prof. Erskine’s plea to Steve to remain a good man no matter what changes come from the serum, but it also manifests in some touchingly less-desirable ways.

150 lbs of muscle won’t immediately turn a pipsqueak who’s been dumped on and ignored for his whole life into a confident Adonis, after all. Even as Cap proves himself as a bold warrior and clever tactician, he never gets savvy in dealing with his hardened, worldly comrades, nor does he ever get comfortable talking to women (even as they’re throwing themselves at him.) It’s actually more moving to watch Steve clumsily struggle for any words to tell Peggy Carter how he feels about her than it would’ve been to see them go through the steps of your traditional romance. Like THOR, this smartly keeps its "lovey dovey stuff" to the tentative early stages of a relationship and, thus, the end of the arc's actually that much more tragic for its interruption. Indeed, Cap's scenes with Peggy demonstrate clearly how he has an identifiable personality next to Thor and Tony (and also insures that AVENGERS won't be about a team of cookie-cutter leads.)

There's so much more to cover here than this space allows. There's so many more qualities I'd like to praise, but can't for fear of spoiling anything. Suffice it to say, I walked out of CAPTAIN AMERICA with a wide smile and a keen eagerness to re-watch it immediately -- and I haven't felt like that about any movie, comics-based or otherwise, in a long time. There's no way I'll be able to check it out while I'm at Comic Con this week, but you better believe I'll be grabbing a ticket as soon as I get home.

70 Comments
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Posted by SpidermanWins

I'm there

Posted by doordoor123

hmmm.... This is the most positive review ive seen so far. Most of the reviews ive seen have been really negative. Or just somewhat negative.
Posted by Loki9876

i hope you are right

Posted by skaarason

cant wait !!!!!!!!

Posted by SleepyDrug

Can't wait for this. 
Posted by The Stegman

i'm down yo

Posted by danhimself

that's awesome!  You could just tell from the trailers that Marvel had done this right and it was going to be a good movie

Posted by Golden Cod

Why is the name of the reviewer blanked out? :P

Posted by Jordanstine

Wow!  5 out of 5... nice!

Posted by MrMazz

Already have my midnight tickets whoot

Posted by Nova`Prime`

I can't wait to see this, going on friday, and I really want that awesome Red Skull-mobile.

Posted by No_name_here

Might be some pesky glitch that took out the credit. But yes, I wrote this review.

Posted by leokearon

The main problem with this review is it sounds like a insane fanboy.  
 
As far as I can see, the movie is awesome, but doesn't really go into many of the details of why. 
 

Posted by ImperiousRix

Awesome! 
I cannot wait to see this.  I was a tad tentative because of my affection for Steve Rogers as a character and as a symbol, but this reassures me that the film does him justice.  I'll be busy this weekend, but next weekend you bet your ass I'll be catching this.

Posted by Bearded Justice

I called it a long time ago.  People are going to be calling this the greatest comicbook movie to date, AND it's going to make far more money than anyone expects it to make
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23
@Tom Pinchuk: Good review
Posted by eldestrisk
@Tom Pinchuk said:

Might be some pesky glitch that took out the credit. But yes, I wrote this review.

I was asking myself that the whole time.
Posted by Grimoire

Hmmm... you have convinced me. I was on the fence to watch this since I do not follow the Captain America comic but I think I will go see it now.

Posted by kennybaese

I've been in since they announced Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, but I'm glad that Pinchuk thinks it's good.

I'm not the biggest fan of Cap, but I've enjoyed the other Marvel movies so far and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Posted by FearTheLiving
@doordoor123: Where? Most reviews I've seen been extremely positive.
Posted by batmanboy11

Friday can't come soon enough
Posted by fodigg

Sounds awesome but the praise for Thor sprinkled into this review makes me kinda not trust it as much as I would otherwise.

Posted by Loki9876

it's pretty good because look
http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=376165
19 positive
6 negative

Posted by Tigerstriper

I've been waiting for a movie like this since i first became a Captain America fan. Not just a movie, but one that's done right. And it's about time.

Posted by Sveppi

How was the 3D?

Posted by TearsInRain

I must say I'm more excited to see this now that there has been a positive reception from comic fans.

Posted by Billy Batson

Still doubt anyone is going to see it. 

BB

Online
Posted by turoksonofstone

Is Good!

Posted by Loki9876

i got to w8 till the 18th of August to see it.

Posted by Iron_Lad

The "BEST" Marvel movie yet? Wow, even better than X-Men: First Class? That's pretty darn good.

Posted by MagicBass

I'm very glad to hear this! It's about time a Marvel movie got a POSITIVE review. To be honest, I've loved all the movies recently...nice to see a change from all the negativity for once :)  I'm definitely grabbing tickets to see this when it comes out :D

Posted by jNerd

I CAN NOT farking wait for CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!!! OH EM GEE!!!! Thank you Marvel, for not ruining my childhood.

Posted by quiksilver70777

I wont be watching this film, it doesn't look good. I already watch Thor, X men, and Green Lantern and the films were not that great.

Posted by Beomoose

@Tom Pinchuk:

Great review, Tom, thanks for putting it up.

Posted by Baddamdog

I really, really doubt that when I see this I'm gonna enjoy it more than X-Men: First Class, or give it 5 stars seeing as this is the super-hero film I am least interested in seeing this year and I have no particular interest in CA anyways. Plus most reviews I've seen have said it's some summer fluff, not bad, but not amazing either. 
 
....but I'm still going to see it....and probably eat my words.

Posted by bunkerbuster05

YEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Posted by GTG12

Great review.
Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme

thanks for keeping it spoiler free

Posted by Samimista

I'm happy to hear this the movie looks really good.

Posted by mixupsupreme

cant wait!!!

Edited by Rhi

Thank God it's good!  
 
Even after I loved both Thor and X-Men First Class, I was still just a little bit worried about Cap. Now I can go spend my money without worrying I'm going to leave the theater cursing Marvel.
Posted by CombatSpoon86

Can't wait to watch the movie, Be on vacation when it comes out so hopefully I get to watch it in Chi-town.

Posted by DevilmanEX

DROOOOOOOOOOOOLING!!!!    Midnight showing tomorrow def.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Awesome!

Posted by difficlus

Other critics are so so about this film. Still going to watch it. 

Posted by nnotdead

the reviews i've have been either touting this as the best/2nd best Marvel movie made, or as a standard comics book movie.  i haven't seen anyone who has straight up disliked it yet, so that has to be a good sign.

Posted by Solh0und

Alright Comic Vine, you sold me onto seeing this friday night!

Posted by WonderBoy1132

Oh My God... I am so freakin excited for this movie!

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

I've already made plans to see it with my friend (a fellow Cap fan) when he gets back from San Diego (lucky punk is going to Comic Con).

Posted by goldenkey

yeah, but you also liked Scott Pilgram and that movie blew moose.
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