Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: Chris Evans
Steve Rogers: Chris Evans

is that even REAL????

This was just about my first response to the film.

I’m going to show you two shots, of the same actor, Chris Evans, first as Skinny Steve Rogers, and then as Captain America.

Yep, people, this is THE SAME PERSON. He must have done some intensive both directions, since he's not that skinny in real life either.

Yep, people, this is THE SAME PERSON.
He must have done some intensive exercise…in both directions, since he’s not that skinny in real life either.

So, yeah…I was gobsmacked that the change shown in Captain America was real, not part CGI or to different actors. I realise that there were quite a lot of special effects like camera angle-shots that allowed the change to be emphasised and to trick viewers into seeing Captain America as much more physically impressive than Steve Rogers, like the ones in the Hobbit for when Gandalf and Bilbo are sitting at the same table, but Bilbo’s about 4 feet back, but still…

Erm, did anyone see a resemblance between Agent Peggy Carter and Black Widow??? Or is it just me? I realise that their faces are completely different, I’m talking more about the attitude of, yeah, let’s just shoot the dude to see if his shield works, their bright red lipstick and the hairstyle (actually, now that I think about it more, Natasha doesn’t wear bright red lipstick, and their hairstyles are way different. And Natasha’s attitude isn’t the same as Peggy’s. Um. They’re completely different.)

Anyway, so they aren’t alike in any way, but I still somehow thought there was a resemblance between them. Did anyone else?

Peggy Carter

Peggy Carter

The Black Widow

The Black Widow

Another major impression I had was admiration of the costume designers, who explained how they came up with the evolving Captain America costumes in a really interesting special feature. The costumes were all really cool, and you can definitely see that they used a lot of comic books to inspire the various costumes, as well as research practicality and real 1940’s army gear.

Personally, I found that all the tech in Captain America was a bit, um, advanced…like stuff we’d only have on this side of the century. I realise that I don’t know anything about technology, but I’ve seen some of the WW2 planes, and they were nowhere as sleek as the ones on screen, just to start off with. I guess they decided to do it for effect, but I feel that it would have made the Tesseract stuff that much more  impressive if the other technological aspects weren’t so advanced. But what do I know? Maybe they did have planes like that in 1940! It was hilarious, because my brother was practically drooling over Red Skull’s car (“not a scratch” lol).’ My favourite piece of tech was Roger’s motorbike, which reminded me somewhat of Hagrid’s motorcycle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Chris Evans played the earnest Steve Rogers excellently, grounding his next (at least 3 more movies!) performances as Captain America well, in my opinion, and really bringing across the sense of righteousness that Steve has about right and wrong which have made him the icon of morality in Marvel, as well as the core values of Steve, who, in reality, doesn’t actually follow orders very well, preferring to act as he judges the situation (both aspects which have emerged from comic-verse, and are integral to Captain America’s origin story). Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, was, in my opinion, a wonderful example of the competency that women in WWII would have had to display, and her character was fleshed out into much more than simply ‘Steve Roger’s sweetheart’, which I appreciated very much. Especially since after Steve survives, Marvel will probably focus on the lost romance between them. Sebastian Stan as James ‘Bucky’ Barnes was great too, cementing the close bonds between Steve and Bucky and depicting their friendship as something to be built upon, especially in light of comic-verse and the title of the next Captain America film – The Winter Soldier. Colonel Chester Phillips, played by Tommy Lee Jones had some very dry, funny lines, which I definitely appreciated – in fact, this film was quite light-hearted, with its chorus girls and playfulness. It was also nice to see fondue in context (I’d only heard/read/understood it from fanfics) and there some good reiteration (and parallels) of catch phrases like “you’re late”, “I could do this all day“, “I’m waiting for the right partner“, etc, etc., as well as the almost constant foreshadowing that I spotted, having already seen The Avengers.

However, I felt that Hugo Weaving, while a great actor, was limited in the role of the Red Skull. He was simply another rendition of the archetypal bad guy, without the depth or ambiguity which makes or villains interesting. This was especially clear in the face of the setting, wherein there were many ambiguities and cases of coercion and perceived lack of choice. Within the World War II placement, to have the bad guy as German and Nazi-red, with a snivelling right hand man that reminded me of Wormtail, felt like a bit of a cop-out to me, although it is a straightforward interpretation of the comics.

What I’m looking forward to now are the upcoming movies that Marvel has planned:

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • The Avengers 2 (2015)

It sure sounds like they have a lot of stuff planned!


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