Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones
Director: Joe Johnston
Running Time: 124 mins
Captain America: The First Avenger is an American film and the fifth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A young aspiring soldier, Steve Rogers, frustrated by numerous rejections from the US Army to serve in World War Two, becomes part of a ground-breaking project which turns him into the superhero Captain America.
Now, this is a bit of a slow film, a superhero movie without very much action or a really cool story, but it is an origins story more than anything, so you can forgive the makers for making it that slow. However, there were still some really interesting things about the whole film, such as its 1940s period setting, cool visuals and different approach towards the origins of a superhero.
Let’s start with why this isn’t such a good film. Firstly, in a film called ‘Captain America’, you’ve got to wait up to 40 minutes before you see the superhero Captain America in any shape or form, whilst it’s another 20-30 minutes before he becomes involved in any proper big blockbuster action, so although there are some plot lines in the first half of the film that can keep you interested, it’s eventually quite tiring sitting through these establishing stages of Steve Rogers’ character without seeing the actual hero you want to watch.
And then, when it comes to the action, it’s a little bit disappointing. There are flashes of the battles you’d normally expect to see, but in truth, they either don’t go on for long enough, and therefore aren’t exciting, or go on for too long, and end up drying up and boring you.
Of course, it’s an origins story, so you do need some time spent on the exposition of the character, but it goes on for so long, and it’s not until an hour in that you get some genuinely interesting story lines tied into the actual superhero Captain America, and with so little action in that time frame, there’s often very little to keep you properly engaged.
On the other hand, what does keep you engaged is that this film offers a refreshingly different approach towards the superhero genre as a whole by setting in its original time of the 1940s and the Second World War, which makes total sense given the origins of the superhero.
The most interesting part of the whole film for me is when they explain how the character Captain America comes to prominence, through use in US propaganda for WWII, and that does give a very easy and believable transition into him becoming an actual superhero, and I was not expecting to see a genuinely convincing superhero story at all going into this.
Finally, the visuals are all very good too. The action is all well-made, but the most impressive thing to look at in this film is the excellent cinematography, which gives the film a slightly beige-tinted look to just heighten the sense that you’re firmly in the 1940s, not the present day, and that was not only a very good-looking element of the film, but also a properly effective tool to increase the sense of realism.
Overall, this gets a 6.7, because despite its successes in using its different historical context to its advantage, this film is too slow and boring initially, and ultimately lacking in the necessary action.