"Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man." ~Abraham Erskine, Captain America: The First Avenger
I debated about whether or not to write this review, since my book is a period drama blog and Captain America doesn't really seem to be the period drama type. But almost all the film takes place in WWII, and I really love it, so here's my review. I knew about Cap before I watched the film, and was even interested in watching it (mostly due to the enthusiastic reviews of a few of my friends) but it wasn't on the top of my to-watch list. Then, my parents watched it one night and said the older children could watch it sometime soon. So we did, and I really liked it. But then I watched it again (just a few days ago) and I loved it.
Let's start with the story, the plot, if you will...
Steve Rogers is a skinny asthmatic weakling with the heart of a patriotic lion. Steve wants more than anything to serve his country in the war against Hitler, but the enormity of his spirit simply isn’t enough to overcome the limitations of his frail body. Steve’s big heart catches the eye of Dr. Abraham Erskine, a scientist working to create a new breed of genetically-enhanced super-soldiers, who will turn the tide of the war in The Allies’ favor.
Along with his collaborator Howard Stark, Erskine successfully transforms Steve into a specimen of human perfection. At first used as a propaganda symbol, Steve yearns to put his newfound power to actual good use, as the hero Captain America. He partners with a pretty Allied Forces agent named Peggy Carter and gathers an international team of special-op soldiers – including his best friend Bucky Barnes – to help combat evil.
The characters are awesome. It took a second viewing for me to really fall in love with the whole movie, but the characters were something I never thought twice about. Firstly, there's Steve (also known as Cap, but I prefer to call him Steve). He was my brother's favorite super-hero even before we watched the film, and he's become mine as well. One of the biggest reasons is that he actually isn't a super-hero. Sure, he's incredibly strong, he can run pretty fast, and he has regenerative powers (to some extent) but he doesn't have any supernatural powers. He's not a mutant like The Hulk or a 'god' like Thor or...whatever Iron Man is. Actually, his shield is his most superhuman quality, and it's not even really part of him. He's 'just a kid from Brooklyn' with a hugely caring heart and a passion for doing the right thing. And the other thing that puts him on my list of favorite heroes ever, is the self-sacrificial side of his character. One of my favorite scenes in the entire movie is when he throws himself on the dummy grenade (only he didn't know it was fake). That was the 'sit up and take notice' moment, for me. I think Marvel did an excellent job of making us really like Steve even before his augmentation. For me, at least, it worked well. Very well.
Let's see...other characters: Peggy. I wasn't expecting to like her. I thought she was going to be one of those women who's so independent and 'I don't need a man in my life' (especially since it was WWII and modern movies tend to do that with women in historical settings) but I was pleasantly surprised. She's probably my second favorite character (after Steve, of course). I loved how she enlisted Howard to help ferry Steve behind enemy lines to get the captured men. She was just the right mixture of firm and sweet, and her relationship with Steve was adorkable (and, no, that isn't a typo) and heartbreaking (the plane crash scene, anyone?). There were two moments that I didn't like her, though. The first was when she shot at Steve's shield when he asked her what she thought of it - even though it was a comic moment, it seemed a stupid thing to do. What if the shield hadn't held? The other was when she kissed Steve just as he was about to jump onto the HYDRA plane. Come on. I'm all for romantic moments between my OTPs, but, he had a job to do and it needed to be timed perfectly. Anyway...
Another favorite character was Bucky. I'm rather sad that he's turned bad in 'The Winter Soldier', but that's how the comic books happen and I'm always one for sticking to the original, so it can't be helped. Someone on Pinterest said that the way he survived the fall off the train was that he had already been injected with serum (you know, when Steve finds him strapped to that table or bench, or whatever it was). Interesting theory. But you don't know he survives the fall, so it was good for some AWD with Steve, and a sweet moment between him and Peggy in the bombed-out ruins of whatever that city was. I also liked Steve's squad of men. They were cool (and the British guy was J.J. Fields, who played Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey - what's cooler than Jane Austen???). Oh, and Richard Armitage gets a cameo - that was epic. Small note on Red Skull: He was creepy (and he was also the reason only the older children in our family can watch it). The End.
Honestly, I hated the ending (the very ending, not the plane crash scene. That was sad and sweet and self-sacrificial...in other words, one of my favorite kinds of tragic scenes). "I had a date." And that's it? How depressing. And I understand there's a little scene (little as in five seconds long) after the credits, but that was weird, and I didn't really understand it, so...yeah. I didn't enjoy the ending. But the rest of it was great. Really awesome. If you haven't watched this film yet, by all means do so.