Chris Evans: an essential viewing guide

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There's more to Chris Evans than Steve Rogers and being mistaken for Radio 2 DJs. His big-screen career is 16 years old and has seen him play Mob hitmen, narcissistic actors, cops, astronauts, special forces operatives and a bloke called Harvard Hulk. At times, he’s pushed himself away from his easy, cocksure on-screen persona to delve into darker nooks in films like The Iceman and Snowpiercer. He’s even put his money where his mouth is and directed his own movie, 2014 romance Before We Go. Now Captain America: Civil War has him headlining the biggest superhero clash of them all. “The truth is, I like acting, period,” he once enthused. We quite like watching him do it.

Essential viewing: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


First he was puny, then he got powerful, then he crushed Red Skull and saved America - and that was the easy bit. For the Cold War-riffing sequel, Chris Evans was required to add many layers to Cap as he plunged into a political maelstrom he's wholly unprepared for. Like Chris Hemsworth in Thor, Evans milks the fish-out-of-water comedy beats beautifully, wielding Rogers' cultural to-do list like an eager tourist and hilariously straight-batting Black Widow’s polite enquiry about whether his Saturday night had been fun. “All the guys from my barbershop quartet are dead, so, no, not really.” This was the one where Captain America found his sense of humour.

Read Empire's review here

Essential viewing: Snowpiercer (2013)


1984 on a train? Equilibrium meets Unstoppable? However you categorise Bong Joon-ho’s grimy, far-out sci-fi dystopian, it proved too fiddly a proposition for UK distributors and never saw cinemas in this part of the world. More’s the pity because it’s a great vehicle for Evans. It might have been easier for him to swerve such an extravagantly high-concept project at the height of his Marvel fame, but the risk paid off. He brings steely charisma to a class warrior battling through a militia-manned locomotive. As those that did see it can testify, he holds his own alongside acting luminaries like Tilda Swinton and John Hurt.

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Essential viewing: Sunshine (2007)


Danny Boyle’s Interstellar offered Chris Evans his first major opportunity to show off his chops as Icarus II’s methodical engineer. Boyle was full of praise for him, even likening the Bostonian to everyone’s favourite flying nanny. "He’s a very talented guy, a thoroughbred really,” said the director. "He’s a bit of a Mary Poppins — he can pull anything out of the bag.” Here he pulls out a sturdy turn in a turbulent sci-fi thriller that’s a haunting, always uneasy ride. Boyle’s casting director warned that he was underrated talent in some quarters. Not anymore.

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Despite a Michael Shannon turn that’s quite awesome in its scariness, Ariel Vromen’s true-life hitman drama is a bleak business. There’s so many Mob-types getting knocked off by Shannon’s Iceman, we lost count at “bloody loads”. What levity there is comes when Evans pitches up as a rival contract killer, Robert 'Mr. Freezy’ Pronge, in an ice-cream van. He’s only on screen for a short time but adds shade to that all-American persona in a darker role that sees precisely no-one get a Flake in it. As a side note, we have absolutely no idea why they didn’t give the character his actual nickname, 'Mister Softee'. None whatsoever.

Read Empire's review here


Edgar Wright’s hyper-stylised and very fun comic-book adaptation sees Evans playing a movie star with an ego so colossal, he calls action for himself. Lucas Lee may be the creation of Bryan Lee O’Malley but he’s given full, monstrous life by the actor in a role that we hope has absolutely no resemblance to any person living or deceased. “You really think you stand a chance against an A-lister, bro?” he taunts Scott (Michael Cera). Turns out Scott has every chance, but only because Lee is too vain not to rise to the challenge of performing an impossible trick with his skateboard with girls watching. It ends badly. He explodes.

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For the fan: Losers (2010)


The part was meat and drink for Chris Evans – we think he can do the running, shooting and looking-chiselled stuff in his sleep – but still a chance to see him do what he does best in an unfairly maligned action-comedy. It also showed his future Marvel paymasters that he could work in a team. The team here – also featuring Idris Elba and Jeffrey Dean Morgan – is a kind of van-less A-Team sent to do battle with an evil drug lord in Bolivia only to find an even worse bad guy much closer to home. Evans makes just about the most ripped computer boffin in the history of the job, but adds a bit of clumsy, Clooney-esque charm to the role too.

Read Empire's review here

One to avoid: Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007)


When a superhero movie goes awry it’s usually the studio that cops the flak. When it goes wrong twice those shadows begin to extend over the cast and director too. Luckily, Chris Evans and his fellow Fantastics were heavily disguised – Michael Chiklis as a giant Caramac and Evans as an unconvincing CG bonfire (and, at one point, vice versa) – and just about limped away from the cursed franchise with reputations intact. Heck, Evans even scored a promotion in the Marvelverse. Still, Johnny Storm is not a role he’ll look back on with any great fondness - and nor will anyone else.

Read Empire's review here