Josh Wilding Reviews: Captain America: The First Avenger 3D

Here is my in-depth and spoiler free review for the latest movie from Marvel Studios. Is it a Green Lantern shaped flop, or up there with THOR and X-Men: First Class as another superhero hit? Find out here...

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By Josh Wilding - 7/30/2011


SYNOPSIS: "Captain America: The First Avenger" will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve 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.


While I’ve made the upmost effort to ensure there is nothing in this review which qualifies as a spoiler, if you want to know nothing about the movie before it’s released across the world over the next few days, you may want to turn away now!

Apologies for the lateness of this review, but as I'm sure most of you already know, the movie wasn't released here in the UK until yesterday! Whether you've seen it or not, I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts below.

Anyone who knows anything about Captain America will just about know how this story goes. While the movie plays around with the source material a little bit, adding some things and taking others away, this never has a negative effect, and screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus actually improve upon a lot of things. The USO scenes in particular are a blast, despite leaving me with the feeling they could have just skipped it altogether to focus on more important scenes. However, it's a smart way of coming up with the "Captain America" moniker and simultaneously paying homage to the original 1940's comic book. The story is told effectively, with the right balance of action, drama and comedy. Some things ultimately do suffer, and others aren't focused on anywhere near as much as they should be, but the film as a whole doesn't suffer TOO much because of this. Overall, director Joe Johnston nails the tone and effectively handles the many different aspects on show here. The action scenes are as exciting as could be hoped for, although it's a shame that we never truly see Cap pushed to his limits...everything all seems a bit too easy for him at times. The devision to have HYDRA as the main villains rather than the Nazis (who are here, don't fret!) was a wise one, and it makes far more sense in terms of the story. The other major problem are the modern day bookends. Both are for the mist part unsatisfactory, and are bound to leave anyone not that familiar with the comics a little confused. Yes, we'll see these in full in The Avengers, but they really done work quite as well as I was hoping. Still, they serve a purpose, and I can't fault the way in which the movie ends...what a fitting line!

Chris Evans steals the show as Steve Rogers, or Captain America, as he soon becomes known. Whether it's as the skinny pre-serum weakling desperate for the chance to fight for his country or as a reluctant member of the USO, the actor brings a unique quality to the character which makes it hard to imagine any other actor being capable of. And when he does finally don the iconic suit to fight for his country, we already know that this IS Captain America, regardless of what he's wearing. From the first moment of this movie to the last, Evans embodies everything that makes this character one of the most beloved in comics. And the same can also be said for Hugo Weaving's Johann Schmidt/Red Skull. As reliable as ever playing the bad guy, he's a fitting enemy for Cap, although it's ultimately a shame their feud isn't further developed, especially when compared to that of Thor and Loki in the last movie from Marvel Studios. While these two don't share nearly enough screen time, the fact that Weaving is so damned great at portraying the iconic villain, and is given the opportunity to show just what an evil bastard he is within the first few minutes of the movie starting, eventually ensures that we know this is a guy who has got to be stopped. Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter is quite possibly the best love interest seen in a comic book movie so far. There's no doubting the fact that the chemistry between her and Evans' Steve Rogers is a highlight, but the stellar performance from the British actress ensures that she singles herself out as more than JUST a love interest, and there's thankfully no damsel in distress situations on display here! Beautiful, tough and fun to watch, Captain America: The First Avenger has left me hoping and praying that Marvel Studios decide to bring her back to play Sharon Carter, Peggy's granddaughter.

Sebastian Stan's Bucky is another character who would have benefitted from a little more attention. The friendship between him and Steve is established quickly, and the chemistry between Evans and Stan is noticeable from the start, but I would of loved to have seen more of the bad ass version created by Ed Brubaker...we get a glimpse of it, but perhaps not as much as I'd like, especially if they plan on pursuing the Winter Soldier arc in future instalments of the franchise. Stanley Tucci shines as Dr Abraham Erskine, and despite already knowing his fate, I couldn't help but hope it wouldn't end that way and we'd get to see even more of him. Serving as a father figure to Steve and an all round likeable chap, the only fault I can possibly find is that I wish we could have seen some more of the past which is hinted at and mentioned. Tommy Lee Jones delivers some cracking one liners as the hard as nails Col. Chester Phillips, and Toby Jones' Arnim Zola relishes his role as the Red Skull's right hand man/whipping boy. Dominic Cooper's Howard Stark is another great addition to this movie, with some really fun scenes which also serve to further build and develop this cinematic universe. The supporting cast help round out the impressive ensemble, and despite the Howling Commandoes being nothing more than glorified cameos, they're great fun nonetheless. And hey, here's hoping we haven't seen the last of them...that's what sequels (and flashbacks!) are for after all. While it would be easy to criticise the movie for failing to develop some of these characters further, it has to be remembered that this is Steve's story, and director Joe Johnston does well to keep the focus on him AND include such a large cast of characters.

The visual effects are, for the most part, flawless. While anyone with a sharp eye is bound to notice the odd bit of dodgy CGI (the HYDRA factory and occasional shield shot both briefly suffer from this, as do a handful of other moments) it's hard to find too much to complain about, with the effect of the HYDRA weapons looking particularly fantastic. There may not be anything on offer to match the intricacies of Iron Man's suit or the breathtaking sight of Asgard, but this is more than made up for with the quite frankly excellent effects used to make Chris Evans look skinny. Flawless throughout, placing the actors head on the shrunken body works perfectly, and is completely convincing. Thankfully, the 3D version is one of Captain America: The First Avenger is one of 2011's best. As with any conversion, it doesn't necessarily enhance the experience to the same extent as a movie like Avatar, it thankfully lacks the murkiness of THOR and the pointlessness of Green Lantern. The shield throwing scenes in particular benefit from the effect, while the entire movie just looks GOOD. The score fits in perfectly with the tone of the movie, and the USO's "Star Spangled Man" is so ridiculously catchy, you'll probably have an overwhelming desire to download it from iTunes as soon as you leave the theatre.

While THOR was ultimately a little better than Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger manages to top them both, resulting in the best, and most enjoyable, Marvel Studios movie to date.






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68 Comments
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TheDesertGorilla - 7/30/2011, 10:23 AM
Good review, Cap was awesome!
axiouz - 7/30/2011, 10:30 AM
Not released here yet >.>
BooYah - 7/30/2011, 10:33 AM
IMO
5)Iron Man 2
4)The Incredible Hulk
3)Captain America: The First Avenger
2)Thor
1)Iron Man

But my 2 and 3 are really close.
Triptheorist - 7/30/2011, 10:46 AM
You lost me after you said "While THOR was ultimately a little better than Iron Man". Still great review.
thalidomide - 7/30/2011, 10:47 AM
Awesome review Josh
AlexDeLarge87 - 7/30/2011, 10:49 AM
Awesome! Cant wait to see it!:)
sexymuppet - 7/30/2011, 10:59 AM
COWBOYS AND ALIENS BLEW CAP OUTTA THE WATER AFTER I SAW IT.

COWBOYS AND ALIENS, BEST MOVIE OF 2011!!


95 - 7/30/2011, 11:22 AM
Thor was better than Iron Man? That totally threw me off. But what ever, I trust that CA:TFA will be good, seeing it Wednesday. Glad to hear the 3D effect was better in this film.
jazzman - 7/30/2011, 11:27 AM
i also watched the movie today and i enjoy it

@Josh Wilding

did u notice the blood splatter scene close to the end of the movie for a 12A (PG-13) movie i was like WTF thats sick lol.

did u stay right at the end credits to see the Avengers teasers.
CaptainTall - 7/30/2011, 11:28 AM
It was alright, nothing spectacular. The Incredible Hulk remains my favorite Marvel movie still.
jazzman - 7/30/2011, 11:31 AM
as much i like Thor no way its better than Iron Man
Hawksblueyes - 7/30/2011, 11:47 AM
Looks like we agree on all fronts concerning this film Josh. I was just happy that I could finally write a film review before you and Ror.
spidermonkeyman - 7/30/2011, 11:56 AM
Iron Man is the best one IMO. I think that Cappy was a little over rated. It was good but nothing special. That is just me
comicbookjerk - 7/30/2011, 11:58 AM
the 3d was great!
comicbookjerk - 7/30/2011, 12:03 PM
Polly wallly doodle all day :)
JoshWilding - 7/30/2011, 12:04 PM
Thanks for your comments guys, much appreciated as always. :)

jazzman: Yeah, it was a surprising thing to see from Marvel Studios...can't remember ever seeing such a bloody scene in a superhero movie with that rating, lol. And I did indeed stick around for The Avengers teaser (such a shame seeing all the people walking out!) and it was so much better on the big screen. I also saw The Amazing Spider-Man trailer in 3D. It was good, but will hopefully be even better next year.

HAWKS: Enjoy it while it lasts bud, because I'm looking forward to reviewing The Avengers on April 27th! :D Seriously though, as much as I hated waiting an extra week, it was only right you guys got this one first. Oh, and I spotted your review at the time, but forgot to comment - great stuff dude.
CaptainAmerica - 7/30/2011, 12:05 PM
Iron Man had the luxury of being a stand alone film. Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America were all essentially "part 1s" to The Avengers. Thor and Cap handled it way better than Iron Man 2 though so it seems Marvel learned their lesson. I expect more stand alone films from Marvel as soon as The Avengers is out. With all that said, Iron Man is still Marvel's best film to date and maybe even the best CBM to date.
xobten - 7/30/2011, 12:07 PM
'Awesome' must be the single most over used word on this site.

I'm a huge Cap fan and was dying for this movie to be amazing, but it wasn't. It was FAR from awesome. It was good. No more, no less.
sexymuppet - 7/30/2011, 12:16 PM
@xobten i agree entirely

jazzman - 7/30/2011, 12:17 PM
@JoshWilding

yeah that must be the only 12A(PG-13) superhero movie in recent years that had so much blood lol. also alot of people did not stay at the end credits when the movie finished they all missed out The Avengers teaser. Chris Evan was great as Cap he had the heart and soul of the character.

Cheesehead - 7/30/2011, 12:20 PM
It seems like theres alot of hate for Thor. I thought Thor was the best Marvel movie yet, IMO.
jazzman - 7/30/2011, 12:22 PM
@Cheesehead

who hates Thor no one here said they hate Thor. we dont agree Thor aint better then Iron Man
skot75 - 7/30/2011, 12:45 PM
You have got to be high!
"While THOR was ultimately a little better than Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger manages to top them both, resulting in the best, and most enjoyable, Marvel Studios movie to date."
Iron man was on an entire different planet than either thor or Cap. I liked them both but they both gave into the incredible cheesiness that can come from CBM's ( caps montages ruined the movie and cap had zero applause worthy momments)
ThreeBigTacos - 7/30/2011, 12:52 PM
What? no Green Lantern reference? Damn, I was hoping GL would be brought up in comparison lol

Great review josh! I agree, I loved this movie!


Josh what did you think of the Spider-Man trailer in 3D? more specifically the POV part?
UncleDrew - 7/30/2011, 12:56 PM
I think Iron Man is one of the best films every
dahamma - 7/30/2011, 1:01 PM
TO be honest this was a very good movie, but I disagree with 5 stars. Honestly at one point I was kinda...bored. The montages and the captain america show idk it through me off. My Fav marvel movies

1. Iron Man
2. THOR
3. The Incredible Hulk
4. Captain America
YourMomNaked - 7/30/2011, 1:11 PM
I whole heartily agree with you, Cap tops 'em all.
superbatspiderman - 7/30/2011, 1:13 PM
I thought that this movie was fantastic. I wouldn't say it is better than Iron man but it at least is able to compete with it. Steve Rogers is a more likeable character than Tony Stark tho because he was a good man before he became a superhero when Tony was kind of a douche before he became a hero.
JoshWilding - 7/30/2011, 1:27 PM
ThreeBigTacos: The regular scenes just looked like any other 3D movie, but I was impressed by the first person stuff. I think there's room for improvement (they've got plenty of time for that) as it wasn't quite as impressive as Avatar, but it looked fantastic and I really did feel almost as if I were in his shoes!
ArtisticErotic - 7/30/2011, 1:40 PM
Yeah this IMO is the best Marvel Studio's has put out.
marvelmark - 7/30/2011, 1:50 PM
did anybody else see the AntMan costume in the stark expo near the begining of the movie?
i'll try and find a pic
VanCityKid - 7/30/2011, 1:55 PM
@marvelmark thats not antman that was the Golden Age Human Torch
VanCityKid - 7/30/2011, 1:55 PM
@marvelmark thats not antman that was the Golden Age Human Torch
VanCityKid - 7/30/2011, 1:56 PM
@marvelmark thats not antman that was the Golden Age Human Torch
VanCityKid - 7/30/2011, 1:56 PM
@marvelmark thats not antman that was the Golden Age Human Torch
marvelmark - 7/30/2011, 1:57 PM
@vancitykid ah thank you, that makes more sence now
lol. still a really nice touch.
VanCityKid - 7/30/2011, 2:03 PM
^^sorry about that

Great job Josh I agree with you on all points, especially on Hayley Atwell. Peggy and Steve had the most believable romance out of all the MCU films and she actually fought and did something instead of nagging the hero (Pepper), ogling him (Jane) or crying and screaming his name out (Betty)
marvel72 - 7/30/2011, 2:18 PM
it was a very good movie,i don't think its marvel studios best.

1st iron man 4/5
2nd captain america 4/5
3rd thor 4/5
4th the incredible hulk 3/5
5th iron man 2 3/5

the things i loved

-cap fight scenes.
-skinny steve scenes.
-some top notch action.
-red skull was the best character in the movie,villain of the year.
-the great bloody scene
-tommy lee jones & hayley atwell two very good performances.
-the avengers teaser.
-some nice easter eggs.

the things i thought that could of been better

-modern day ending seemed rushed.
-some of the skinny steve cgi looked off.
-the motorcycle scene don't know if i like it or not.
Ranger14 - 7/30/2011, 2:30 PM
Lee actually came around with his attitude toward Captain America, so no use to beat up on him. I personally liked Thor slightly better than CA, but they were very close. I have just always liked the Thor character more throughout my life, probably because I was introduced to him at a very young age.
NeoBaggins - 7/30/2011, 2:54 PM
Cap was good, but I think people have a man-crush on the character in general so they give it extra love. Thor is a better film with better performances, sense of comic-like wonder and has genuine emotion. Cap was fun and runs primarily on the easy win formula of little guy rising. Hey, that shoulda been the sub-title.

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