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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Chris Evans
Hugo Weaving
Stanley Tucci
Tommy Lee Jones
Hayley Atwell
Richard Armitage
Dominic Cooper.
Directors
Joe Johnston.
Screenwriters
Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely.
Running Time
124 minutes

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The First Avenger: Captain America
The cap fits


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Plot
America has entered World War II but puny patriot Steve Rogers (Evans) is still 4F. However, after military scientist Erskine (Tucci) spies Rogers' inner strength he's inducted into a secret programme and injected with a serum that gives him uncanny speed and strength. When Nazi scientist Schmidt (Weaving) discovers a powerful artifact, Rogers must take the mantle of the nation's first super-soldier, an emblem called Captain America...


Review
The First Avenger: Captain America
Browse more images »
Like this year's X-Men: First Class, The First Avenger finds fresh wrinkles in the well-worn superhero origin story by setting the action in the film-period of the character's comic-book birth. Where Matthew Vaughn's take on X-Men was pure '60s spy caper, Joe Johnston's Captain America is a boy's-own '40s war story, full of derring-do, knockout dames and dastardly Nazis.

Marvel’s matchmaking of director to material may not appear as astute as hitching Shakespearean Ken to Thor but Cap is a generation older than Spidey and Johnston’s Saturday-morning-serial sensibilities have been his signature since The Rocketeer. Johnston also won an Oscar for his SFX work on Raiders Of The Lost Ark and it’s Spielberg's benchmark - rather than, say, The Dark Knight - that’s clearly the model here.
In reaching for this Indy-ideal, the movie begins confidently. Cutting between Rogers' trials on the home front and the terrible triumphs of Schmidt in Europe, the narrative lines are sharply drawn, the pacing unhurried and a platoon of quality scene-chewers are deployed in classic character parts that require zero nuance.

3D murk aside, it all looks mighty swell. Johnston is in his element recreating the retro-futurism of period sci-fi and the transformation of the excellent Evans from puny punchbag to man-mountain is a fantastic coup de theatre. The self-evident swagger culminates in the movie's best sequence - a winning piece of metafiction that pegs the creation of 'Captain America' to war bonds propaganda and allows Johnston to wink at the original Joe Simon-Jack Kirby comics before moving on.

Once Rogers is pitched into battle, however, the movie loses its footing. The plotting becomes choppy, the spectacle is muddled by far too many characters and the all-important set-pieces are a bit pedestrian – Bond would never zip-line onto a high-speed Alpine train just to stage a shootout in a corridor. Plus, poor patriotic Cap turns out to be a stiff. After Stan Lee defrosted him for the Avengers in 1964, Cap became interesting as an old-school gent marooned in the coarse present – Joss Whedon will get to play with these dynamics next year but Johnston just gets the plastic action figure to play with.

None of this would cause lasting damage were it not for the modern-day bookends that make for a miserable climax and rob Cap of his overdue glory. The Han Solo routine should really have been reserved for the pre-credits of The Avengers; shoving Cap into cold storage at the close of his solo debut is a bush league dramatic error – if nobody your hero saves survives to the final credits, his mission is meaningless.


Verdict
Charming, handsome and full of pep – all 70 year-old Cap lacks is a knockout blow. Still, Johnston should be saluted for old-fashioned heart in a cynical age, while Marvel should be confined to barracks for cynical marketing.


Reviewed by Colin Kennedy

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The First Avenger: Captain America
Empire Star Rating

RE: RETRO FUN.....

Best Marvel Studios film to date...   Also class to see Spider-Man appear on the TV screens in Times Square ... More

Posted by Titanm21 at 12:16, 11 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Better than Green Lantern but not as much fun as Thor.

Tell Greg i´ll organise his next cinematic experience. He´s due it after this. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 01:02, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

L: TheGodfather ttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458339/]Captain America: The First AvengerI can be quite short about this one: this is without a doubt the "worst" of all Avenger films that I`ve seen so far (haven`t seen Thor yet). The basic story line, the origin story is a great opportunity to make it (more or less) grimmy film. But director Johnston doesn`t doesn`t do that, leading to a so-so action flick, a bit of romance but noway near grimmy. In the hands of a more gifted director there ... More

Posted by Scruffybobby at 17:16, 09 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Captain America: The First Avenger: Review

This is a decent film, clearly the most kid friendly of all the 'Avengers' so far but it was enjoyable. I don't know why people are giving out about the spoiler, Captain America is in the Avengers which is set in modern times he had to get there without aging somehow. Was glad I stayed for the post credits tease ... More

Posted by musht at 16:54, 09 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: AWESOME SUPERHERO FILM

Solid if unremarkable. Like the previous in-house produced Marvel Studios films (Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor and The Incredible Hulk) the first hour or so is the strongest with great character work and scene setting but the film is let down a bit by a slightly weaker second half. The trend with these films seems to be taking care with the origin stories but being in too much of a rush to get to the end and while the action is largely good it also feels a bit inconsequential to those who know abou... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Marwood at 15:14, 07 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

I think within the next few years 3D in films will become an event thing maybe 10 films a year at most as it's been shown by retailers already slashing 3D TV sets down from over a Grand down to under £500 including I SHIT YOU NOT 4 PAIRS OF 3D GLASSES INCLUDED! & THEY COST NEARLY £100 EACH. ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 09:45, 06 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

L: pabloturner Nope if you'd have seen it in 3d like I did you'd have given it 0 stars! So lacking in any light/colour whatsoever! his is why I refuse to see any films in 3D anymore - after the huge disappointment of seeing the final Harry Potter in 3D and finding the film RUINED by the murky / low contrast "3D" seems I am not alone, I've read many blogs and reviews, and overheard firsthand conversations in the cinema whilst queuing or exiting 3D films where other patrons have expr... More

Posted by hampstead bandit at 21:47, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

Nope if you'd have seen it in 3d like I did you'd have given it 0 stars! So lacking in any light/colour whatsoever! ... More

Posted by pabloturner at 17:38, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong again

L: DONOVAN KURTWOOD L: Hood_Man I enjoyed it. It was a nice change to have a Marvel Superhero film that actually took the time to establish the character, n set about showing an awesome action scene. ] I must've missed that part rently so. ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 14:22, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

It probably would've been better how it finished in the comics plus then you could've added a certain pointy eared 1st Mutant? after the credits. ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 15:37, 04 August 2011 | Report This Post


Good review...not Empire

Good review there eravered all the bases. Something Empire has forgotten how to do. I'm in the U.S now, so I should go and see it when I can. ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 07:57, 04 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong again

I was a little worried about Americald have all been really rather horrible - like erica the irony. Thankfully though it's great fun although depsite some especially ripe fromage. It has a really nice old school feel and is refreshingly free of  "hipness" or post modern irony. This runs to Chris Evans' performance as Steve Rogers. He's a straight down the line, honourable and courageous heroic type of guy. Everything that Americans like to think they are. Leave your cynicism at the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Scruffybobby at 22:52, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong again

1942 and America has just entered World War 2.  In Nazi Germany, the evil head of HYDRA vil Johann Schmidt, is devising a super weapon.  Meanwhile back in the United States, weak, sickly Steve Rogers is constantly rejected for military service until Dr. Erksine recruits him for the secret Project Rebirth.  Using technology he stole from Schmidt when he once worked for him, he ensures that Rogers is transformed into an extremely strong man, but is shot by a Hydra agent. &nb... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 21:30, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong again

Tommy Lee Jones was obviously delighted to star in Captain America   www.joblo.com/movie-news/tommy-lee-jones-has-no-idea-wh at-mib-3-is-about-doesnt-know-why-hes-in-captain-americ ap; The interviewer asks Jones, "What are you doing in Captain America? I mean, literally: e you doing in Captain America!? to suggest that the movie is below his considerable talents to which, strangely, Jones does not disagree. I ask myself that same question every day! The character I play is the one ... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 20:33, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong again

L: Hood_Man I enjoyed it. It was a nice change to have a Marvel Superhero film that actually took the time to establish the character, n set about showing an awesome action scene. ]   I must've missed that part ... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 20:28, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong again

I enjoyed it. It was a nice change to have a Marvel Superhero film that actually took the time to establish the character, and then set about showing an awesome action scene. I thought Hugo Weaving was far more menacing before he revealed his Red Skull makeup. It may be what he looks like in the comics but he looks ridiculous and rubbery, I thought there would at least be a bit of slime or something when he pulls his face off, but it just looked like he was pulling off a glove. It wasn'... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 18:37, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

I assume that the Red Skull was transported to one of the nine realms that Thor described in his film? Would be funny if he ended up in the Bifrost! Does that mean that Loki and Red skull are going to team up to cause some havoc for our heroes? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 15:31, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

al Spoilersid anyone else pick up a slight hint of Sky Captain with this movie? That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's not as good as Thor, but it's a competent enough introduction to the character and his universe. The Red Skull wasn't the enemy that he should have been; he seemed a little too easy for Captain America to beat in the end, but nature of the Skull's demise hints that it's not the last that we've seen of his character (though I could be wrong). The acting was good (enjoy... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 15:16, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

L: porntrooper For my money it's yet another 'average' movie fitting into the Marvel Movie Universe, it isn't bad, but it never really let's fly to become a great period adventure. I started out really enjoying it, Evans' was really good as the scrawny Rogers and although it was brief I was starting to really get into the relationship between him and Tucci as the kindly scientist/father figure. The period setting felt pretty neat and I was almost chomping at the bit for him to become... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 13:30, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

L: porntrooper For my money it's yet another 'average' movie fitting into the Marvel Movie Universe, it isn't bad, but it never really let's fly to become a great period adventure. I started out really enjoying it, Evans' was really good as the scrawny Rogers and although it was brief I was starting to really get into the relationship between him and Tucci as the kindly scientist/father figure. The period setting felt pretty neat and I was almost chomping at the bit for him to ... More

Posted by Rob at 13:18, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

For my money it's yet another 'average' movie fitting into the Marvel Movie Universe, it isn't bad, but it never really let's fly to become a great period adventure. I started out really enjoying it, Evans' was really good as the scrawny Rogers and although it was brief I was starting to really get into the relationship between him and Tucci as the kindly scientist/father figure. The period setting felt pretty neat and I was almost chomping at the bit for him to become Cap so a real adv... More

Posted by porntrooper at 11:30, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

Yup ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 09:57, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Raider Hitler comment

Awful film,boring,bland and lacking anything approaching characterisation. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thetruth at 01:29, 03 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

L: Wild about Wilder Trouble with that is he was aged by bringing him out of hybernation for missions then put back. re you talking Winter Soldier? ... More

Posted by sanchia at 17:32, 02 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The First Avenger: Captain America

Trouble with that is he was aged by bringing him out of hybernation for missions then put back. ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 13:46, 02 August 2011 | Report This Post


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