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    July 31, 2011



    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Release Date: 28 July 2011
    Running Time: 121 minutes
    Distributor: Paramount Pictures (United International Pictures)
    Director: Joe Johnston
    Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
    Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Shaw, Hayley Atwell, Dominic Copper

    Plot: Captain America: The First Avenger will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.)

    Review: In a busy summer season where audiences find themselves been slaughtered by four major superhero movies in under tight 12 weeks window, there might or might not be a room for the last one. By this day, 'superhero-fatigueness-syndrome' does seem imminent after the decent 'Thor', excellent 'X-Men: First Class' and the lousy 'Green Lantern' have been offered on the table earlier the season. However, all three have failed to live up to the box office expectation of cash-cowing the audience and fan boys. The fourth one is not expected to do anyway better. While Captain America: The First Avenger is the last to come for this summer, it certainly doesn't come unnoticed!

    In a flashback into the year of 1942, the Nazi officer and head of its science division, as well as the leader of a cult terrorist organization known as HYDRA; Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) leads his troop to invade a small village and a castle in T√łnsberg, Norway. The motive is very simple - to retrieve a tesseract inside one of the chamber for which Schmidt sees it as a mystical power source that has connection with the Norse God, Odin. With the help of Dr Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), Schmidt is able to harness the power to generate power for his weaponry, providing a step further into his agenda of destroying the world. It becomes clear that despite working with Nazi, Schmidt dreams of conquering the whole world for himself.

    Meanwhile, somewhere in New York City, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fails the medical test and is rejected with 4F for World War II military enrolment. Rogers' friend, Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan), takes Rogers to the 'Modern Marvels of Tomorrow' exhibition. However, Rogers slips away into a military recruitment center at the exhibition and is later confronted by Bucky who dissuade him from joining the army. Roger insists fervently about his desire and passion to serve for his nation catches the attention of Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a scientist who works for U.S. government's Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). He immediately enlists Rogers into the military program under Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and SSR officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Despite his shortcomings, he is chosen as the first subject in a "super-soldier" experiment after demonstrating an act of self-sacrificing bravery. What happens next changes Rogers's life forever.

    If Thor experiences difficulty to bridge the mythology to the Marvel universe itself, Captain America: The First Avenger has its own share of difficulty to connect the two different eras, 70 years apart, the movie is setting. One cannot discounted the fact that director Joe Johnston has done a right thing by creating a good story that bridges the setting of World War II with the modern day, together with coherence. This goes to say, Captain America is still a winner for Marvel Studios. Just like Thor, Captain America kicks in with a decent origin setup story from screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Beginning with a ’98-pound asthmatic man’, Steve Rogers battles a transformation that will take him from been ‘a kid who has trouble of running away’ to evolve into a true and genuine heroic symbol who helps to sell war-bond and later – a World War II hero, of course.

    Throughout the movie, we also see Rogers overcomes dissuade and skeptics of the people around him. It matters more because Rogers said that he is not signing up to kill Nazis but merely to teach the ‘bullies’ a lesson. These qualities are somewhat enough to convince Dr Erskine to choose Rogers because he believes the country needs a ‘little guy’ up in front of the battle line too. Along the way to the modern day glory, there are enough hearts of humility, humanity, inspirations and self-awareness revolving around the origin story. For that, Chris Evans looks pleasantly comfortable in the costume superhero’s shoes. His decent and on-the-spot performance in this is a big plus and gives a lot to the movie.

    The film has another advantage of been well rounded. The plot is relatively balance because it spends enough time to discover the humor and fun side as much as the important events turnout during the World War II; all thanks in part to the great casting and somewhat decent story. The catchy and variant characters in the movie play a lot of good-ridding factors into this movie. Hayley Atwell’s performance as Peggy is a much attitude-based performance to complement our hero and I am relieved that she is more than just a love interest, merely. Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci serve more than just supporting the movie, once in a while always comes out in full blown proportion to deliver some one-liner humor response. Hugo Weaving on the other side seems underserved to this movie. Director Joe Johnston maneuvers the plot by never letting it to immerse too much seriousness, rather presenting it in a good laid back story. Nothing is too complex and thus, all seems digestible.

    On some downside note, this 124-minutes movie has some problem to deal with too. The movie offers a mixture of on-beat and off-beat pacing; the other word is been uneven. For some of the audience, the pace may prove to be boring or dragging to them. Yes, I do acknowledge such pacing can be a little disturbing but I just want to say that the movie loop hole is a bigger issue. Once in a while, we see Captain America comes into action to destroy those HYDRA facilities without a clear plan to see. Otherwise, he sounds like a man without a plan.

    The other bigger issues have to be the absurdity of some parts of the plot and the familiar plot we have seen. Absurdity is an abstract element because it subjected to your opinions on how certain action scenes perform to you. For me, there are some CGI and effects refinement required to polish off. There are plenty of action sequences come over-the-top and barely explainable. Yes, been another Marvel origin movies means a lot because there is almost nothing you have not seen. The exact templates of zero-to-hero are nothing new this day but it remains a vital element to this movie since it is the first of many to come. It also makes sense that with presence of the usual Marvel aura, this movie is all the way been so familiar.

    If this Captain America movie is to be a judge for what to come next, I am officially sold out to the coming of The Avengers. Captain America may not be the best comic book movie in our recent memory but I though that it has an on-par performance like Thor in plenty of way; albeit slightly lower.

    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.3/20.0

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