Captain America: The First Avenger

I was so excited about this film coming out, possibly only more excited about The Avengers next year, but I have to wait for that so…

Following in the very large footsteps of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton version) and Thor, Captain America had a lot to live up, to say nothing of (as it seemed to me) the potential camp-ness of the central character… tights and winged mask anyone?

Marvel have proved over and over that they are brilliant at grounding superheros in reality and making them believable to an audience wider than just die-hard fans of the comics. Captain America is the latest example of these skills.

Chris Evans is very, very good as Steve Rogers/Captain America – playing it so straight that there’s not even a glimpse of the Human Torch’s wise-cracking arrogance to be seen. From skinny weed to full on man-mountain, Evans is convincing and whether dressed in civvies, army fatigues or The Suit, it is always Steve Rogers, who is always Captain America – the two becoming different facets of the same person.

There is a lot of narrative in this film, a lot of story-building and character building, but it never drags, never seems slow or lets the pace lag. Interesting characters, gorgeous cinematography brushing each shot with the sheen of bygone times and sheer enjoyment of what is unfolding on screen more than fill the time, and when the Captain is finally allowed into the thick of the action, things only improve.

The ending was a surprise – I assumed that the story would just loop back round to meet the opening sequence, leaving the inevitable next part for the beginning of The Avengers next year. That they continued on at the end of Captain America will allow The Avengers to hit the ground running, so to speak, but I thought it detracted somewhat from the now not-so dramatic climax of this film. Captain America ended on a note that made it feel little more than a scene-setter for The Avengers, where as each of the preceding films have been fully contained stories in their own rights.

Despite that minor niggle, Captain America is an excellent film, and one that can stand beside Iron Man, Thor and The Incredible Hulk with confidence. Make sure you stay until the end of the credits, and bring on The Avengers!