The Score: Captain America: The First Avenger

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 12:55PM

Written by Jesse Prince

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  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving
  • July 22, 2011
National Post 3/5
Philadelphia Inquirer 80/100 90/100

The superhero movies continue to roll on this summer as Captain America: The First Avenger, makes its way into theaters today.

Captain America, based on the Marvel Comicbook, is the story of a young man in the 1940's who got rejected from the military several times, until he receives scientific intervention.

The hero's name is Steve Rogers and he's played by Chris Evans who (through the miracle of computer wizardry) has his head grafted onto the body of a 98-pound weakling at the beginning of the film. It's 1942 and scrawny Steve is dying to join the Army and go overseas to fight Hitler, like his pal Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). But the Army keeps turning him down - until an insightful scientist, a German émigré named Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), spots him for the potential hero he is. (Huffington Post)

Given the historical context of the comic books, the movie had to stay as true as possible to the World War II-era motif.

Captain America is a creation born in World War II (the first issue was printed in December 1940, before the United States entered the war), and the movie's smartest move is to stick to that era. There's no ambiguity or ironic distance when it comes to fighting Nazis -- or fighting Hydra, the Nazi-endorsed supersoldier program whose ambitions for global domination are even nastier than the Nazis'. (Salt Lake Tribune)

To help maintain the 1940's moxie, director Joe Johnston tapped into much of his previous directorial experience.

Director Joe Johnston keeps a firm hand on the tiller and manages to balance the film's giggles and gravitas. He's had some flops of late (Hidalgo, The Wolfman), but calls on his period-piece expertise (October Sky, The Rocketeer) to infuse this one with the perfect tone of mid-century gee-whizardry. (National Post)

Chris Evans, who plays the lead role as Steve Rogers, discussed why he chose to take on the role in a recent interview.

"No, the reason I decided to make this was because I was scared. The movie was terrifying to me. And I think - no, I know - I have no regrets, I believe you can't make decisions based on fear. I think that's a mistake, I think you regret the things you don't do than the things you do. And it started out initially when I said no, people said "listen to your heart." And my heart's telling me don't do this thing, and every time I said no, I woke up really happy I said no, but it kept coming back. And I talked to more of my friends and family about what I should do, and I had some good friends of mine who said 'Chris, if you are scared of something you should push yourself right into it.' And for better or worse - if the movie comes out and bombs - this is exactly what you need to etch yourself out as a human being, no life obstacle is clear cut than this, this is a perfect obstacle course right now, you should take this. I just did a 180, it just made perfect sense that this is what I should do. So I went for it." (Screen Crave)

Critics generally agreed that the movie's mighty shield wielded a decent effort for the First Avenger.

Though Chris Evans gives the title character a surprising depth, the film stumbles in its second half, where the plot gets a bit boring and the action is merely "standard issue." Despite its flaws, it's a reasonably good time at the movies, though you should avoid seeing it in 3D, as those effects were added afterward and look terrible. (Rolling Stone)

You have to hand it to Evans. You also have to hand it to director Joe Johnston - and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, together adapting the venerable comic books - for successfully tapping the unembarrassed corniness of an old-fangled World War II B movie. Except for its (not-bad) 3-D conversion job, the film is a total throwback. Its unironic, lightly joshing humor seems born of another age. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Watch the Captain America trailer below:

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