Captain America: The First Avenger

Release Date: July 22, 2011

Movie of the Day for Friday, May 29, 2009
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A poster like this could sell in both America *and* abroad.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
4/18 Les Winan Very good start to the series -- and a great lead-in to The Avengers. Evans is surprisingly good.
54/171 Max Braden Just a touch better than Thor, though Thor was more lighthearted. Cap's villain was a distraction, looking like Kevin Bacon and sounding like Werner Herzog. Rent The Rocketeer if you haven't seen

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Steve Rogers was the greatest hero our country had ever known. Born with a frail constitution, he bravely chose to make himself subject to governmental experimentation. Rogers wound up the recipient of a Super-Soldier Serum whose purpose was…well, pretty much just that. Rogers’ health immediately changed from sickly to otherworldly. The man could do almost anything physically possible because his body no longer knew how to quit.

Rogers’ newfound gifts were crucial to the Allies’ military strategy during World War II. Strategists had a weapon of mass destruction well before the atomic bomb was ready. They could simply unleash Captain America on the Axis whenever needed. Victory after victory was achieved thanks to the red, white and blue-clad warrior and his vibranium shield. This became his signature item, a marvel of technology that was much more than just an indestructible defense mechanism. Rogers developed a knack for using the shield as a boomerang of sorts, a violent projectile missile that would eviscerate the enemy than safely circle back to its owner. Steve Rogers, Captain America, almost single-handedly won World War II for the good guys.

On Rogers’ final mission, tragedy struck. He fell from the sky into the ocean, and wound up frozen in a block of ice where he would remain undiscovered until he encountered the Avengers decades later. Upon his introduction to this group of superheroes, he almost instantly became their de facto leader, the hero who everyone would proudly follow into battle. A beacon of virtue, Cappy stood for all that is right in the world and his being re-introduced in the modern era did nothing to change. Truly, he was the First Avenger. His story is ready to be told.

This is the historical foundation for the character of Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Given the recent blockbuster success of Iron Man, Marvel Studios is seeking to convert all of their primary players into movie stars. The complication with Captain America is that - how do I put this - American tourists abroad are putting Canadian maple leafs on their luggage in order to hide their origin. Some of our recent political decisions have rankled a good portion of the world. This would not be problematic if not for the fact that $100+ million movie productions heavily rely upon international box office receipts in order to turn a profit. A guy wearing an American flag as his primary outfit may not be the European/Asian money-maker the studio is hoping for.

Even if we get past all of that, there is one tiny other problem. At the conclusion of Civil War, Steve Rogers died. It’s pretty strange to make a comic book movie adaptation about a dead character (unless that’s their schtick a la Dead Man himself, Boston Brand). Marvel will have to address this aspect in their comic book storylines, and we could see the resolution of this issue perhaps as soon as the current Skrull Invasion arc. If not, The First Avenger: Captain America already has a couple of key strikes against it before the title ever enters a theater.

Marvel has announced the intention to release this film in May followed quickly by Avengers in July. If this is the case, they may yet determine to set Captain America’s story entirely during the World War II era then have his post-block of ice period occur starting with Avengers. If this is the case, the two movies would play out as a tandem, meaning they probably need to be directed by the same person to guarantee cohesion. Jon Favreau has stated the intention to direct the Avengers movie after he finishes up Iron Man 2. Does he have the desire and willingness to do four comic book adaptations in a period of four years? That’s another huge question as this project moves forward.

There are a lot of moving parts in play for a Captain America movie. BOP is waiting to see how all of this plays out, but this comic book adaptation is not the slam dunk that most Marvel productions are. It’s a shame, too. Captain America is the most engaging playable character in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series. A movie that focuses upon how bad-ass his shield is could work just the way that Iron Man did focusing on the innate coolness quotient of Tony Stark’s suit. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Captain America: The First Avenger
Main Cast Chris Evans
Supporting Cast Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan
Director Joe Johnston
Screenwriter Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 125 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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