…Come Together

There’s no mistaking from the first moment what  “Captain America: The First Avenger” really is:

The final piece.

Thankfully, this last piece in “The Avengers” puzzle also happens to be a decent film, and an excellent example of a comic book movie done right.

Director Joe Johnston’s film takes the human and the supernatural elements, mixes them together and doesn’t leave us scratching our heads. After volunteering multiple times, and being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) catches a break when Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) picks him for top-secret research project that turns him into Captain America.

It’s not long before Rogers meets up with the villain, Johann Schmidt/ Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), a failed experiment of Dr. Erskine’s and, of course, a Nazi.  And from there, well, you can probably guess how it goes.

One surprising thing about this film is what it’s missing—America. Okay, maybe “missing” isn’t the right word. Despite its name and title character, Captain America does not spend over two hours jamming American pride down your throat.

Now don’t get too nervous all you patriots out there.  What many would consider to be the American ideals (although I like to think they’re universal) are still there.  There’s plenty of courage, selflessness, pride and strength.  But there’s also humility, quiet service, and most importantly, no cheesy “this one’s for America” lines.  In fact, the only American “patriotism” shown in the film is cartoon-like, shallow and superficial.

As is the case with any successful film, a lot of the credit goes to the acting.   Captain America owes a lot to its supporting cast with Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (future father of Tony Stark), Sebastian Stan as Bucky (Rogers’ best friend), Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter (the love interest), are some of the lesser known names (if you don’t know them, you should).

Plus, as an added bonus, there’s Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine and Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Philips.  Jones’ dry humor and flawless delivery save the film more than once from getting too sappy or serious.

With this kind of back-up, it’s a good thing that Chris Evans’ does not disappoint.  His star-spangled suit is the flashiest thing about Evans’ performance as Steve Rogers/Captain America, and that’s a good thing.  He may transform into a superhuman, but he keeps his performance real, subtle and genuine.

Of course, what is any superhero without a descent arch nemesis?  Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt/Red Skull does what he does best, plays the villain we love to hate. It’s a beautiful movie to watch with a balanced blend of video game like action sequences, acting and compelling story telling. If you are not already ticking off the days till “The Avengers” release, prepare to start counting.

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Check out other Crusade movie reviews:  The Crusade on Cinema

…just for fun:

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