Friday, February 22, 2013

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger
     As one who has never been a big comic book fan, I only watched Captain America, because I enjoyed the fact that it took place during WWII. My brother had brought it home one night for a family movie and I thought, "Why not?"

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 Capt. Steve Rogers/Captain America
Chris Evans as Capt. Steve Rogers/Captain America

     In 1942, America is at war with Germany, patriotic spirit is high and every available young man is eager to sign up to fight for their country's freedom. Especially Steve Rogers...the only problem is he isn't soldier material...at least on the outside. He has a list of health problems, too small, too skinny, and just isn't the best man for the job. On the inside he has courage, compassion, honor, and an iron determination to do his part and fight. After failing to join the army for the fifth time, he is seen by a kindly German doctor, Abraham Erskine, who sees what he possesses internally and not what he lacks externally.

     Through a leap of faith, Erskine gets Steve into the army, but as a recruit for Scientific Strategic Reserve. He believes Steve to be a perfect candidate for a special super human testing that turns an ordinary man into an extraordinary man, to turn a soldier into a super soldier, but above all, to take good and make it better; not for ourselves, but for everyone around us. Afraid, but determined to do his part, Steve accepts, not knowing what the ending results will be. 

     To everyone's shock and disbelief the super-soldier formula works and the once small, scrawny, unimportant little guy from Brooklyn turns into a tall, strong, and powerful soldier. Steve has abilities that are superhuman, but instead of enlisting him for military service, he becomes a showman under the name Captain America. Although, he somewhat relieved to be doing something, Steve feels that he can do something more. When he finds out that his best friend is a POW in enemy territory, he defies orders and risks life and limb to rescue his best friend and over 300 other soldiers in the 107th regiment, and comes face to face with his worst enemy of all, Red Skull. There he is finally in the war zone and has found that his superhuman powers are truly meant for something more, that he is meant for something so much more.

     I have to admit, I kind of...sort of...fell in love with Steve Rogers...I mean he is too good to be true, but at the same time there is a reality to his story. He wasn't born with a perfect body, but his heart was honorable, he wasn't born with superhuman strength, but his strength of character was so much stronger, he wasn't born with incredible speed, but his courage kept him from running away from war.

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Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull
Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull
     I have seen a lot of frightening villains, but this one was nothing short of terrifying! Johann Schmidt is a part of the inner Nazi Research Division HYDRA. His mission is to tract down artifacts with supposed mystic powers to be used for Nazi intelligence. Schmidt is mainly after the tesseract, a legendary Norse relic that possesses an extraordinary amount of energy than can be limitless in its uses. Schmidt will stop at nothing to find and capture the relic, but more than anything, he wants complete possession of absolute superhuman power. 

     He is as evil as evil can get. He has no heart, no moral conscience, no code of conduct that he lives by. When Schmidt got a hold of the super-soldier formula before it was done with its testing, the formula backfires causing terrible burns throughout his face and body. His real appearance is now a bright red deathlike skeleton that reflects the evil inside and out. The formula also amplifies whatever characteristics the person had and in Schmidt's case, who was already power hungry and evil, he become even more power hungry and evil.

     Johann Schmidt's lust for power to be used for evil and selfish gain is the utter antithesis of Captain America, who uses power for good and to protect others. It's a recurring theme throughout the story, is complete power used for good and for evil? Can what is bad become worse and what is good become better?

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Agent Peggy Carter
Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter
     When I saw Peggy's appearance in the movie for the first time, I was surprised to find that they would have a female (as well as a British) soldier on the front lines. Then upon the realization that Peggy wasn't a soldier, but a reconnaissance worker and field agent for Britain, it made more sense to me. Aside from Dr. Erksine, Peggy is the only person who sees any potential in Steve before he is brought in for the experiments. She is actually charmed by his gentlemanly manner and sees the hero's heart in him.

     What I loved most about Peggy, though, was her never-ending drive in the work that she did. A woman with many talents and gifted leadership abilities, Peggy's calm and clear presence in the throws of the war is a relieving effect for Steve. She encourages him to think outside of the rules and restrictions of army life and see that there is more to winning a war than with guns and machines, but rather with friendship, bravery, and love.

     A rare combination of beauty and intelligence that coincides with kindness and courage, made Peggy Carter one of the most enjoyable, as well as enviable, heroines in the Marvel movie series. Her romantic relationship with Steve is strained because of the war, but she hopes that maybe... possibly she may be his right partner for a dance, for the war, and for life.

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Doctor Abraham Erksine
Stanley Tucci as Doctor Abraham Erksine
     I have noticed a recurring theme in the Marvel movies. Usually before our heroes become heroes, there is a mentor/father figure that lead them to the path that they are meant be on. With Tony Stark it was Dr. Yinsen who helped him create what would eventually become Iron Man and whose dying words were for him to value his life. For Thor, it was Dr. Erik Selvigg, who not only got him out of trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D. but taught him that true honor is found through sacrifice of oneself for others. 

     Now, in the case of Steve Rogers, whose own father died on the battlefield in WWI, Dr. Erksine sees potential to become a  great soldier while remaining a good man. He of all people would know the consequences of doing the right thing. He was originally a brilliant German scientist who was commissioned by Schmidt to create the serum for Hydra, but refused to finish it due to what serum had done Schmidt before it was even finished. After that, Dr. Erksine become a fugitive running from Schmidt and Hydra.

     One can safely say, that without Dr. Erksine, there would be no Captain America. He knew the pain and agony of being judged by outward appearances and not by what was truly inside. Sometimes in life, we come across ordinary people who believe in ordinary ideals, but when these ideals are used in extreme situations, they may not seem so ordinary. Dr. Erksine proved that with Steve Rogers who proved that with becoming Captain America.

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Colonel Chester Phillips
Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips
      As soon as Tommy Lee Jones appeared, I immediately knew that this was going to be a great movie. As usual, he was the needed comic relief for the film. As the creator of  the Scientific Strategic Reserve, Col. Phillips is at constant odds with Dr. Erksine's request to recruit Steve as a candidate for the super-soldier formula. Even when the formula comes our with fantastic results, Col. Phillips still refuses to let Steve fight and believes he is better off in a science lab. After Steve proves him wrong and delivers the rest of the 107th back to allied territory, Col. Phillips gives him the go ahead to become an army captain, while still remaining the status of Captain America.

     Without a doubt, Col. Phillips had the best lines in the movie! These are some of my favorites.

"If you have something to say, right now's a perfect time to keep it to yourself."-- to Peggy Carter

"Look at that. He's makin' me cry." --[looking at Steve's best effort but belabored execution to do jumping jacks

"Our goal is to create the best army in history, but every army starts with one man. At the end of this week, we will choose that man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldier. You may personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell." --to the new recruits at The Scientific Strategic Reserve.

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James "Bucky" Barnes
Sebastian Shaw as James "Bucky" Barnes
      Steve Roger's loyal and protective best friend who is everything Steve is not. When Bucky is held captive in a POW camp in Austria, Steve's only motive is to rescue his best friend who had always rescued him. Every story needs a good companion and every hero needs a loyal best friends that believes in the strengths that no one else may see. Bucky was the epitome of the honorable best friend who, although shocked at first at Steve's drastic change, fought alongside his best friend no matter what the outcome may have been.

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Howard Stark
Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark
     If the last name didn't tell you anything, this dashing young man becomes the father of Tony Stark and the creator of Stark Enterprises. For now, he is a brilliant scientist with head full of ideas for a better tomorrow. Like his son, Howard can be rash, a little reckless, has no regard for the rules (the only reason he stays on good terms with Col. Phillips is because of his money) and full of himself because of his incredible talent, but is by no means as arrogant and self-centered as Tony is. Reason being, was that he was in war and the last person someone needs to be thinking about in a country's time of need is themselves.

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Captain America: The First Avenger
     What this movie captured the most was the real essence of a WWII action film. It was in the costumes, the set designs, the music, and even the lighting gave it an old-fashioned quality and you immediately get into the feel of the patriotic spirit. While I was watching it, I would sometimes forget that it was a super hero movie and find myself thinking that it was an actual film about WWII, that tells you how into it I was! Of all the Marvel movies that have been made, I believe this one to be its absolute finest.

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     As Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he's reunited with James 'Bucky' Barnes, who is now brainwashed Russian assassin known as the 'Winter Soldier'.

3 comments:

  1. OMGOSH I LOVE CAPTAIN AMERICA! He is my favorite avenger after iron man - he is good just to be good and I love that about him. I wish Peggy could come back - maybe they could find a way..... maybe she froze too? (I'm wishful that way) she was strong and determined and did her role well. I liked the romance between her and Steve :)

    I adored Bucky and I can not BELIEVE they are making him evil. Who makes the Best Friend evil?! That is the stupidest story ever. I don't care if its in the comic books, its still dumb. *Grr*

    I liked Howard Stark - There were times when he did something and I'd think "Aha! So that is where Tony got it" He was a brilliant character. I liked Dr. Erskine too.
    Colonel Philips - "Its beaf." guest "Whats in it?" Colonel "Cow." :) He's good too, though it took me a little to really like him.
    OH! did you know Thorin Oakenshield is in that movie? He's the guy who kills Dr. Erskine and when caught, tells Steve - "If you cut off one head... two more will grow back." and dies.


    HAIL HYDA! (who looks creepily like a High Elf from Middle Earth) He was sooo creepy and psychotic. I like it when he asks Steve what makes him so special and Steve says "Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn." :) <3

    Well anyway good review. I had fun reading it. I hope this comment isn't too long and fan-girly.

    God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Ivy its me again! I finished my video on Matthew and Mary

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7ziTB1iN6w

    Tell me if you like it - I'll probably post it with my newest one if you do :D

    God Bless

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really liked what you said here about Cap, Iron Man, and Thor all having mentors who set them on their path -- such a cool similarity, and I totally never noticed it. Well done!

    ReplyDelete

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