The Man Out of Time, Captain America
I’ve loved the character of Captain America for many years, to me he’s always been Marvels version of Superman, the all American guy, with a heart of gold, who fights not only for Truth and Justice and the American way, but also for the little guy… which I suppose is why his origin is of a small under weight guy who becomes the power house, Captain America.
Collecting comics as a kid, Captain America was one of the titles I always kept an eye out for on the shelves of Newsagents and Post Offices. There was something about how he became the hero or as Marvel films call him, The First Avenger.
A few times, Marvel or various companies tried to bring him to the big screen, but I have to say not with much success. From the 1944 released TV series by Republic Pictures, which was a bit early for me, to what was probably the best of a bad bunch, the 1990 Captain America, from 21st Century Films with Cap being played by Matt Salinger. Such a good film that I believe it never quite made it to the cinema and went straight to DVD.
Have to say though I though the choice of Matt Salinger was superb as he looked pretty similar to how Steve Rogers is illustrated in the Comics and I did quite like how they did the costume! But, let’s face it the film itself was not exactly breaking new ground! And lets not even mention the 1979 ‘Reb Brown’ version where Cap didn't even don his official costume until the film's final minutes. Instead he wore a striped day-glo body suit with matching go-go boots and rides a ridiculous motor bike with a ridiculously huge helmet!
Film makers of the time often created what seemed a complete contempt for both the source material and their audience. I’m pleased to say the current crop of Comic-book adaptions not so much, although they do take a few liberties. Which brings me to Captain America, the First Avenger.
To begin with, the choice of Chris Evens as Steve Rogers is in my opinion a phenomenal choice. I thought he was a great choice for Jonny Storm, the Human Torch in the 2005 version of the Fantastic Four and I was a bit disappointed that he’d swapped characters… but for whatever reason Fantastic Four wasn’t the success Marvel had hoped and as no more were planned … Captain America he became!
As with nearly every actor Marvel seems to select to play these characters, Chris Evens just seems to live and breath the embodiment of Steve Rogers. From his good looks, a superhero always seems to be a good looking guy or a beautiful woman, to his characterization of the patriotic supersoldier, even though his ideals as a man are completely out of time with todays modern realities.
Marvel decided to start the film with the discovery of Cap in the ice, then take us back to his story within World War II. It’s very ‘spooky’ how the film makers were able to put Chris’s face on to another actor, whilst playing the frail young Steve Rogers before he’s enhanced by the experimental ‘Super Serum’ which ultimately transforms him in to our hero.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with the depiction of Cap in his original costume working as a war bonds representative, but it kind’a fell in to place, once I saw how the story unfolded and we finally got to see the real Captain America in action and in uniform… Quite clever!
Of all the things I shall remember of this film it’ll probably be the uniform and how the costume designers bought to life Caps famous red, white and blue costume. I wouldn’t say it was 100% faithful to the pages of the comics but never the less I think it was near perfect. Especially loved the idea of how he came to have the ‘A’ on his forehead. Which is now a helmet rather than a cowl.
The only problem I have would be the ‘bulkiness’ of some of the materials used. I get that the designers were going for more of a soldiers combat uniform, but surely Captain America is not your everyday ordinary soldier, so he’d need more of a lighter uniform for movement.. but that’s a minor grumble, because on the whole I just think it’s great and no matter what anyone might say, you only need a glimpse and you know it’s Captain America.
Every actor plays their part wonderfully, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, just superb. Sebastian Stan as 'Bucky' Barnes, of which the film even puts in a nod in to his costume from the Comics, blink and you’d miss it, but it’s there for all us comic book fans. Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull is pretty intimidating and quite faithfully portrayed. Dominic Cooper as the young Howard Stark is just great and I have to mention Stanley Tucci as Dr. Abraham Erskine, the inventor of the ‘Super Soldier Serum’, just brilliant!
As a Comics book fan, to me this film will always be known as one of the best comic book movies of the newer generation. Nearly everything is faithful to the source material, except for the secret identity being known to everyone, the actors chosen to play the parts are almost perfect for their roles, the story line is engaging and I don’t think I got bored once in any part of the film and last but not least they got the costume right!
But, hey… it’s only my own personal opinion!