Captain America: The First Avengers - Avengers: Infinity War Marvel MCU Marathon
As always, there will be spoilers to Captain America: The First Avenger as well as other Marvel movies.
When I first watched Captain America: The First Avenger, I loved it. But, as more Marvel movies came out and the subsequent releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, I started to think that this movie was not as good as I remembered. But, watching it again now, I see it is still just as good. It's very different from the sequels in that this is both a period piece and a war film. But that's what the introduction of Captain America should be.
The film opens with the government finding a mysterious ship in the middle of the arctic. Upon further investigation, they find Captain America's shield frozen in ice. We are then immediately taken back to World War II. The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and Hydra, his science oriented branch of the Nazis, has found an item of great power that was the jewel of Odin's Vault. This item is the Tesseract that we first see in Thor and that we find out is an Infinity Stone in Thor: The Dark World.
We are then taken to the States where they immediately establish who Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is. He's a scrappy young man who loves his country and hates bullies. He'd rather be beaten up by a bully standing up for what's right. The thing is that he is sickly and, despite his wanting to join the military, he keeps getting rejected. I will admit that these years later, scrawny Steve looks a bit weird and his height kept changing. One moment, he'd be a normal size short person and the next he'd be the size of a child. But, it's not enough to bother me.
On the final night before his bestie Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) has to ship out overseas, Steve decides to try again to join the military. While talking to Bucky and telling him he really wants to join to stand up for what's right, he is overheard by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) who is looking for a subject for his super serum. He sees something very special in Steve that he doesn't see in other soldiers. He gets him accepted and he's tested out on the field. Colonel Phillips (Tomy Lee Jones) thinks Erskine is out of his mind. But, when he throws a fake grenade in the middle on the troops, it's only Steve who jumps on top of it.
It is also here that we are introduced to Peggy Carter (Hayley Attwell), an officer for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, the precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D.. While, at first, she does not know what to think of Steve, she eventually becomes a believer. As an aside,its fun seeing Peggy Carter after all her character's development since the film. As I mentioned before, Peggy Carter becomes Agent Carter who later becomes co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Howard Stark. She's appeared in different movies, her one one-shot and her own series. So, it's such a treat to see her in her first appearance.
It's now time for Steve to undergo the experiment. Dr. Erskine has a touching talk with Steve and asked him to promise him that no matter what happens, Steve will always be a good man. I have to say that I forgot how good Stanley Tucci's performance was here.
In Germany, The Red Skull has Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) work to wield the power of the Tesseract. At the same time, Hitler sends some officers to check in on The Red Skull as he thinks Red Skull is getting out of control. What better way to test the Tesseract powered weapons than in these officers? Red Skull also sends an agent to steal Erskine's super serum.
Steve undergoes the experiment and he becomes the hero we all know and love! I will also always remember this scene for when one of my nephews described Captain America as the movie where "the man grows boobs." ROTFLMAO! Helping with the experiment is a young Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), who we know will become the father of Tony Stark. But, the success of the experiment is short lived when Red Skull's agent kills Erskine and steals the leftover serum. Steve, using his new strength and speed, catches the agent who kills himself as he reveals himself to be Hydra. The rest of the serum is destroyed, so Phillips and Carter feel Steve should be kept locked up until they can figure out what to do.
Of course, Steve can't stand being on the sidelines and Senator Brandt (Brandon Michael) convinces him to go on a war bond tour. This is where the guise of Captain America is born. At first, Cap enjoys it, but realizes he's not being taken seriously. At a camp, the soldiers make fun of him. Before he leaves, he finds out that Bucky's squad had been captured by Hydra. Phillips will not allow Cap to go in because it's too risky, but Carter believes in him and helps him. Cap goes in and rescues Bucky and his squad while coming face to face with The Red Skull.
There is a scene here where Bucky looks like he's been psychologically tortured. I wonder if they were testing him to become The Winter Soldier after they retrieved him from his fall. It's interesting to look back at some of these Marvel movies as the MCU grows to see if you can draw lines.
Anyway, after Cap rescues the squad, he is now taken seriously. Cap proposes they destroy all the Hydra bases with the help of Bucky and his squad. Unfortunately, during the course of the process, Bucky is killed. Or, so we think. As we know in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he is retrieved by Hydra, brainwashed and made into their assassin.
In the final battle, Cap tries to stop The Red Skull from using the Tesseract technology from bombing several cities. As they are on the jet, The Red Skull picks up the Tesseract and it opens up a portal to space and The Red Skull is zapped away. I had never noticed this before and it makes me wonder if The Red Skull or any of the people zapped with these weapons are actually dead. Are they actually trapped somewhere in outer space? But this is the first indication that the Tesseract is the Space Stone.
Cap decides that for the good of the world, he needs to put the ship in a place where the bombs won't be a danger. And, after a tearful good-bye to Peggy Carter, he crashes the plane into the arctic where he is later found by S.H.I.E.L.D. and introduced to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
When they first announced Chris Evans was going to play Captain America, I couldn't see it. He had just played Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four. Johnny is brash and a bit of a narcissist, which Cap is not. But, now, Chris Evans has become the living embodiment of Captain America. He plays the character with such integrity and heart.
I know Hugo Weaving was not happy being The Red Skull, but it would be amazing if he is actually in space and returns to Earth. He is Cap's arch-nemesis, so it would be cool to see him return as a villain, even if played by another actor.
Stan Lee Cameo: Officer attending Senator Brandt's medal ceremony for Captain America.
While the sequels are technically better film, Captain America: The First Avenger has a lot of heart and is important to show Cap's roots. If anything, its a lot of fun to look back at this film as the MCU grows.
Now on to the last film in Phase One of the MCU - Marvel's The Avengers.