Sean K. Cureton

The Best Marvel Studios Film of the Summer

In Movie Reviews: 2011 on August 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Theatrical Poster

Captain America: The First Avenger
2 1/2 out of 4 stars
Directed by Joe Johnston

In preparation for next summer’s long awaited adaptation of Marvel’s Avengers comic series, Captain America: The First Avenger has been released in order to introduce Captain into the already created Marvel film universe, and luckily, it’s one hell of an introduction.

Set in 1940’s New York, Joe Johnston’s adaptation of the Captain America comic book hero sets out to tell the tale of how Captain came to be the hero he is, and how he ends up fighting in 2011 as part of the Avengers team. Starting out as a scrawny runt who has failed to pass the medical examination required to enlist in the U.S. Army, Steve Rogers happens to meet a German scientist named Abraham Erskine, played by Stanley Tucci, who turns him into a super soldier that can be used to fight Nazi’s. Inevitably, plans go awry, Erskine is killed, and Steve finds himself pitted against Hugo Weaving’s super villain character called Johann Schmidt, or more notably Red Skull.

What makes Johnston’s superhero movie stand out amidst all the other superhero films released this summer is the fact that his film boasts the best supporting cast of all the other Marvel films of this summer combined. First, there is Stanley Tucci, whose brilliant portrayal of the doctor that brings Captain America into exsistence is very touching. Ultimately, Tucci is probably the best part of the film, and it is just too bad that his character is killed off so early. Next, Tommy Lee Jones is hysterical as the surly Colonel Chester Phillips. Jones’ very presence just seems to lend the film authenticity and substance. And lastly, Hugo Weaving is fantastic as Red Skull, by being able to breathe life into the heavily CGI animated face that he sports for the last quarter of the film.

The other main thing that really sets this film apart from the other Marvel films of this summer is the patriotism and romanticism that is present in this film’s 1940’s setting. Had this film been set entirely within a more contemporary setting, much of its spirit and levity would be lost.

In conclusion, Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger is quite frankly the must-see summer superhero movie of the year. With its varied and talented supporting cast and its 1940’s setting, it truly is the most original film Marvel has to offer this summer.


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