Retro Reviews: Captain America – The First Avenger

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Image Credit: Marvel studios

Jon Yelenic, Staff Writer

“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” finished up and Marvel got Captain America trending today after revealing a poster of Sam Wilson as Captain America, so it just feels right to revisit the film that is close to the show’s heart.

Spoilers for “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Avengers: Endgame” 

The first entry in the Captain America trilogy tells the powerful origin story of Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) ascension to a super-soldier. Even after ten years since its release many of its defining moments still hit pretty hard and with some cutting deeper after Roger’s end in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”

“Captain America: The First Avenger,” follows Rogers who comes from humble beginnings as a kid from Brooklyn who desperately wants to go to war, but not to kill people rather to “stop bullies” as he phrases it. The only problem though is his physical physique. 

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Left: Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Steve Rogers in “Captain America: The First Avenger” Image Credit: GIFER

And something worth noting is the CGI that is used to create skinny Steve Rogers is visually striking.

Consider by today’s standards it still looks surprisingly good. Lots of CGI tend to age badly as the years go but for this film, Roger’s appearance doesn’t stand out.

Now aside from his looks, Roger is bold, has a heart of gold which is what gets him in the super-soldier program. And unlike others, he conquers almost every task by trusting his brains & bravery over this brawn.

A scene that showcases this spectacularly is when his training class is tasked with retrieving a flag from teh top of a flagpole. Everyone else attempts to climb teh pole while Roger simply removes the pin holding the pole in place.

His selflessness and resourcefulness are highlighted throughout the film as well. There is one scene when Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) tosses a fake grenade as a test in the middle of basic training. Rogers jumps onto it without a second thought for his concern outweighs his own. 

And by the time he becomes a super-soldier, it’s clear to the viewer that he has earned it. 

Now though despite becoming this whole new Steve Roger’s physically, the same old Steve is still there. His clumsiness shines through when he chases an enemy through the streets of Brooklyn, but because he still doesn’t have a handle of his new enhanced body. He ends up going through a few store windows but makes sure to apologize afterward.

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Steve Rogers and Private Lorraine (Natalie Dormer) in “Captain America: The First Avenger” Image Credit: tumbex

Also despite him being able to stand tall, alongside other men, Roger becomes quite shy around women. Which ends up being quite the endearing quality that he has as well as cute.  

There is also one person who Roger’s continuously fails at being able to compose himself while speaking. And this is to the one and only Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).

Now early on Roger is initially pegged as a poster boy for the military, but after saving many prisoners who were thought to be dead he then gets promoted to active duty.

And from that point moving forward the film begins to get fully action-oriented and it’s breathtaking. There’s a second shift though alongside this one and it’s Roger’s goals which went from saving people to drafting HYDRA.

After this, you have the third act which becomes slightly stale as it tries to push Roger being in the modern age quickly.

However, despite this “Captain America: The First Avenger,” still ends on a strong note — one of the strongest in the MCU.

After heartbreaking goodbye between Rogers and Carters, he then sacrifices himself to save New York City. They plan a date for the following week, with Peggy uttering the heartwrenching line, “Don’t you dare be late.”

In a twist of fate, Roger wakes up in New York City 70 years later. Upon waking up he’s quite startled and runs off, ending up in Times Square.

Nick Fury makes an appearance and asks him, “Your gonna be okay.”

Left: Steve Rogers and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in "Captain America: The First Avenger"
Left: Steve Rogers and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in “Captain America: The First Avenger” Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Rogers calmly, but somberly responds with, “Yeah, I just…I had a date” as the film cuts to black. 

And it takes until “Endgame” for Roger to get his date with Peggy, but it’s also where his story will end.  

Do watch these two movies together because it makes everything hit that much harder especially the ending. 

Now despite all these good aspects of the film, there is one key flaw in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and it’s the lack of strong villains. The movie’s main villain, Red Skull is bland and a lot of time is wasted on trying to make him and the rest of HYDRA menacing. It’s quite apparent that they are WWII-era Nazis, so the movie elaborating on their evilness let’s say feels pointless. 

“Captain America: The First Avenger,” much like Steve Rogers, is full of heart. It has colorful performances, good action and a clear message: “This is Steve Rogers, and here’s why he’s Captain America.”