“Captain America: The First Avenger” tells the origin of the Marvel Comics icon of the American Way and stands as another chapter leading to the cinematic debut of the super team, “The Avengers.”
We see young Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a “98-pound weakling,” continually attempting to enlist in the Army during World War II. Because of his small size and multiple health problems, the Army repeatedly rejects his enlistment.
While there may be problems with his health, there’s nothing wrong with his heart. That organ is stronger than any lion.
While making one of his many attempts to enlist, he is spotted by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who is leading the Super Soldier program. He sees in Rogers the right stuff.
Rogers is given the serum that creates a super-strong soldier, and he is expected to be the first of many to come. The results are beyond expectation, and Rogers is now a powerful individual.
Problems arise, however, when a truth about the serum is uncovered: Its real power lies in its ability to amplify whatever is already in a person. In other words, it makes a good person better and a bad person worse. Even evil.
Rogers is first directed to be part of bond drives, but he wants more. He wants to get into the fight. And while in Europe on a tour, he does.
What follows is his personal war to remove a Nazi villain called the Red Skull and the evil he projects into the world.
I learned something from “Captain America” that I should have already known.
When it comes to comics, you have two groups: Marvel and D.C.
Marvel includes Captain America, Ironman and Spider-Man. D.C. includes Superman, Batman and Green Lantern. I have always been a Marvel guy, and the Marvel mythos is something I am very familiar with.
As I watched this movie, I knew movement by movement, character by character, what was taking place. With each new scene, I was excited and felt the movie was hitting all the right notes.
Then I realized that this movie is somewhat like “Green Lantern.” Both introduce characters that have deep back stories. My friends that were D.C. people loved “Green Lantern.” I did not.
While watching “Captain America: The First Avenger,” I saw some of what my friends saw in the “Green Lantern.” Both of these movies have a large hill to climb: They must introduce the character in a way that the viewer can relate to and draw them into the story.
I found fault with “Green Lantern” and said I didn’t like it. I can’t say that about “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Why?
Because I know this character better and can say that the makers of this movie did justice to the character as I know him.
This is a wonderful introduction to a lynchpin of the Marvel Universe. It fires on all pistons and gives us insight into who Captain America is and why he is so important in the coming story of “The Avengers.”
You may see this movie and wonder why I’m so positive about it. As my friend Andrew Smith, known to comic readers as Captain Comics, famously says, “Your mileage may vary.”
You may see it and feel as I did about “Green Lantern.” You may not be a Marvel, but a D.C.
Finally, stay after the credits. This is a Marvel Studios movie, and there is always one extra scene you don’t want to miss.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Director: Joe Johnston
Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (based on the comic by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby)
Cast: Chris Evans: Captain America/Steve Rogers; Hayley Atwell: Peggy Carter; Hugo Weaving: Red Skull; Stanley Tucci: Dr. Erskine; Tommy Lee Jones: Col. Phillips; Toby Jones: Dr. Zolla.
The movie’s website is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.