Who doesn’t love a classic good versus evil, action-packed, big screen adventure? Director Joe Johnston, along with writers Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely make one of our iconic superheros come to life in in the Marvel sensation, Captain America, based on the comic books by Stan Lee. Set during World War Two, Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, an asthmatic man of ninety pounds. Despite his size and inability to defend himself, Steve never runs away from a fight. He stands up for what’s right and he dreams of joining the war and fighting for his country. The problem is, the army won’t take him because of his physical condition. He continually applies under different alias to join, but every time he is turned away; every time, until he meets Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a scientist who sees that while Steve may be the weakest among them, his heart and character are stronger than any of the other soldiers. The doctor chooses Steve for an experiment to create the ultimate soldier. Erskine tells Stevenot to be a perfect soldier, but to remain “a good man.”
He eventually makes it behind the front lines, although not in the manner you might suppose. It is here that he meets the villain of the story, Dr. Johann Schmidt, (played by Hugo Weaving). Schmidt is your typical egotistical, lair-owning, mad scientist bent on world domination. Throughout the remainder of the film, our hero pursues our villain; doing everything he can to foil his foul stratagems.
The villain, Schmidt, was well developed and his motives and drive were well communicated, but there were elements of the character that were overdone and came off as just a bit too cheesy. All in all, he had his strong points and weak points, but served as a valuable and entertaining counterpart to our hero.
The special effects were very realistic and I found Steve’s emaciated appearance to be quite convincing and never once thought he looked a bit cartoonish, as is often the case with this kind of effect. Steve’s transition from scrawny and sickly to tall and powerful was another thing that I thought to be stunning and seamless.
And of course, as in any great story, there has to be a love interest. The relationship between Steve and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) was quite well done. Its development required little direct romance, but convincingly portrayed their chemistry, deep care, and faith in each other.
This film never once allowed the audience to slip out of the fantasy, its quick pace and dry humor held the viewers’ interest and they became invested in the characters.
Even though they only played supporting roles, Stanley Tucci’s and Tommy Lee Jones’ were two of the best performances in the film. They may have had significantly less screen time than Captain America, but that doesn’t make their characters or performances any less memorable. No surprise there of course, seeing as Tucci is an academy award nominee and Mr. Jones won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1993.
Captain America is a wonderful film that I recommended to all ages. The “Star Spangled Man with a Plan” will hold you to your seat until the lights come on and your popcorn bowl is empty.