Stryker’s Cinema Series- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger

I’m very excited to finally get to the next film in our Cinema Series. In preparation for the release of Captain Marvel, I have been doing a deep dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have been re-watching and re-reviewing each film. CLICK HERE for the prior entries in this series. 

Captain America: The First Avenger is the final solo film leading up the mega superhero crossover that is The Avengers. This film is another one that after re-watching it, my opinion was dramatically changed. Full disclosure, Captain America is one of my favorite Marvel Super Heroes, so this review does come from a place of bias. That being said, after watching all the stand-alone ‘phase one’ films, I do think that this is the best film of them all.

Captain America: The First Avenger is the fifth film in Phase 1 of the MCU. It was released on July 19th, 2011, with a budget of $140 Million. Overall, it took in $370.6 Million at the Box Office. Again Kevin Feige helms the project as the producer of the film, and Joe Johnston comes on to direct. The film stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, Hugo Weaving as the very charismatic leader of Hydra, Red Skull, and rounding out the cast is Sebastian Stan,  Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Weaving, and Dominic Cooper.

I really feel like I need to give Phase 1 a ton of credit when it comes to its handling of all of the hero origin stories. While they all have compelling stories to pull from based on the source material, they all seem to pick a unique point of view that makes them all feel very different. Captain America is a period piece set during World War II, but framed in the present to tell the story of how Captain America became who he is and how he got to the present day.

The way The First Avenger tells the story of how Captain America becomes the hero is very unique. The character of Steve Rogers already has the characteristics of a hero from a mental standpoint. He has a sense of right and wrong and his point of view regarding doing the right thing is already well established. It’s the physical attributes that need to change. While the character of Steve Rogers doesn’t go on a hero’s journey per say,  we are more introduced to who he is and how he develops, far different from the other Avengers.

The look of the film is far more realistically stylized than any of the other films. The recreation of a 1920’s New York looks super sleek and the battlefields of Europe look dirty and cold. The way the film was put together really impressed me this time around. I noticed the visual story way more than I realized during my first viewing. At the beginning of the film, Captain America is used as a propaganda tool. He’s doing a song and dance show trying to sell war bonds for the US government. Through that depiction he his used to film movies that depict him doing heroic acts. Once he gets through to the battlefield of WWII, we see a lot of the same moments depicted on in the first montage only this time we see Captain America in real action. 

Steve Rogers is fairly consistent in his point of view. His entire story is to give perspective on something really only a handful of The Avengers have, and that’s the perspective of experiencing war. Everything that Captain America goes through really sets up the events of the next Marvel film. It actually serves a similar purpose to how I think Captain Marvel will be heading into Avengers: Endgame. There is a lot in this film that makes it act more like a prologue to The Avengers than expanding on the character of Captain America.

The most important thing from a character perspective that happens, is how it sets up Captain America as a man out of time. It also sets up the main McGuffin of The Avengers, and really shows the immense power of the Tesseract, and what the device is capable of.

The stand alone MCU films set up The Avengers  in such a perfect way, that we don’t need to explain virtually anything in order to have fun with the movie. There are specific points in each film that allows the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe to unfold naturally. t does require each one to be viewed however, in order to properly set up the tent pole Avengers films.

Captain America might be the best of the original Phase One films, and is absolutely worth a re watch, ranking as one of the better films in the entire Universe. I’m excited once again, to see it all come together in the next film, Marvel’s The Avengers.

Stan Lee Cameo: He’s a General at an award ceremony for Captain America.

Post Credit Scene: Avengers Trailer

Next Film: The Avengers