Saturday, August 6, 2011

REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America – The First Avenger 
By Carlo Sitaro 

Edited by Peter O’Brien 

Captain America – The First Avenger (2011) tells the story of a young man from Brooklyn, Steve Rogers, who strongly desires to join the United States Army during the second World War. His chances are very poor because his body structure doesn't reach the minimum requirements for the American Army. Steve (Chris Evans) is very skinny and short, but shows a beautiful inner value, a noble heart. Even though he can't support himself in terms of muscular strength, his honest and pure soul is always ready to defend the defenseless.

A German scientist, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who works for the American Government finally noticed Steve and decided to approve his enrollment, under his close supervision. Apparently, everything seems to be normal and Steve begins his training. During the first days of his training Steve compensates his body deficiencies with a brilliant mind and extraordinary courage that never allows him to give up.

Dr. Erskine initially fights against Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) because Phillips believes that Rogers is not good enough to join for the US Government special treatment. The doctor reminds Colonel Phillips that it is necessary to be a good individual with a strong heart; someone without anger or bully behaviors. “Good could be excellent...but bad becomes worse after the treatment,” he says.

This special treatment is basically an organic substance that improves physical abilities such as stamina, muscle strength and mental concentration. The goal is to prepare a new generation of super soldiers that will fight the Nazis.

Meanwhile, an evil man from Hitler's army, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), reaches an ancient church where a mysterious cube with an incredible power is discovered and stolen. Schmidt finds a team of scientists to help him to develop this powerful energy from another world. Once they finally find the way to use and control this energy, Schmidt decides to acquire the rest of this power for himself. He becomes “Red Skull,” and after his betrayal from the German Army, he becomes the founder of an independent, powerful and dangerous division called “Hydra,” whose aim is to command and conquer the entire world.

Directed by Joe Johnston with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely,
Captain America – The First Avenger (2011) is an entertaining adaptation of the popular comic book series to the big screen. I don't know if the experts will love, hate or moderately approve this effort, but I personally think that Captain America – The First Avenger (2011) avoids being too patriotic, providing a nice story with interesting human values and funny moments that every remarkable movie possesses. 

Illustration by Carlo Sitaro
The enemies are pretty much condemned, without any obvious chances to succeed, and Red Skull is the classic villain, waiting for his defeat. I found a good standard in all the main actors, but especially in the remarkable interpretation by Hugo Weaving. He gives, in accordance with his previous characters, the right performance. Weaving is an extraordinary actor with a specialty for playing “bad guys” (we certainly remember his excellent portrayal of Agent Smith in the Matrix series). His performance, through his very expressive, magnetic eyes, could bring additional, deserved, recognition that he wasn't entirely able to gain after V for Vendetta (2006) (acting through a flat, inexpressive mask is a challenge for any actor), directed by James McTeigue.

There is only one logical consequence of a movie where everything is under the spotlight of Captain America's quest. We explore his background, his story and personal motivations and values inside an interesting environment, that’s not too tragic when compared to the real world. In this regard, everything is pretty close to Jack Kirby's comic book concept where the persona of a fictional hero brings hope and strength to all the people who need something good from an obscure and sad reality.


For more of Carlo's artwork be sure to check out his illustration blog: Ballpoint Pencil Archives

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