Monday, 14 December 2015

Captain America: The First Avenger (2012)

"I finally got everything I wanted- and I'm wearing tights."

Yes, I'm finally starting to go back to the Marvel films that I've seen but never blogged. Captain America: The First Avenger may not be among the very best of Marvel's recent efforts but it's a damn fine film, with a proper and well-thought through usage of Cap's origin to tell a good story while remaining faithful to the spirit of Simon and Kirby's original. It's usually a bad idea for superhero films to begin with the origin story but this is an exception.

Oh, and there are also a couple of fun cameos from Jenna Coleman and Natalie Dormer.

We begin, after a brief establishing scene of something found in the ice in the present day, in Nazi occupied Norway, with a nice scene involving David Bradley, the Red Skull and some dialogue that firmly ties the Cosmic Cube (as it isn't called here) to Norse mythology as a nod to the recent Thor. We then move on to establishing the personality and, importantly, the heroic character, there already, of the 90 pound weakling version of Steve Rogers, rattling through the origin and the super soldier serum stuff while also establishing the excellent Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, here shown as a sexy ice maiden frustrated by the glass ceiling. She really ought to get her own series.

We also, interestingly, get the origin of HYDRA: a faction of Nazi scientists led by the Red Skull that, in an interesting twist, "declares independence" from Nazi Germany. That's a departure from the source material which shores up HYDRA much better as a long-term antagonist.

It's a nice touch to have Cap initially reduced to a performing monkey selling war bonds, giving a credible reason for the costume and also allowing us to see the actual original costume from Captain America Comics #1, a copy of which is actually seen in-universe!

It's nice that the Red Skull's, er, red skull only gets revealed halfway through, to dramatic effect. And interesting that Cap's shield is pure vibranium here: it seems that adamantium belongs to Fox.

This is a brilliant film: it has the script, the characters, the action sequences and the pathos to be, if anything, a slightly underappreciated gem. Cheeky of them to give Samuel L Jackson such billing for such a tiny cameo, mind.

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