Since the birth of comic books, Marvel has remained one of the top creative empires in reading for all ages, as well as in feature films with the recent spike in popularity of comic-based movies. While many of the films from Marvel Studios have focused on other heroes like the X-Men or Iron Man, it seemed that one of the classics was missing from the lineup. This absence was soon rectified with the release of "Captain America: The First Avenger" last Friday July 22, which has since earned $65 million and the No. 1 spot at the box office.
Aside from the obvious allegiance to the United States in his title, Captain America has been one of the most patriotic figures of this great nation since the first publication in 1941, which depicted him knocking out Adolf Hitler. In the film, Steve Rogers joins the Army as a sickly young man and volunteers for a top-secret experiment that brings him to the peak of human perfection, which allows him to become the shield-throwing Captain America.
While the iconic story surrounding the Captain may seem like a daunting task to replicate on the big screen, Marvel Studios has created a very successful version that not only uses advances in modern filmmaking, but also adheres to the values of the original material. Although the "good soldier" motif runs rampant in most WWII pieces, this "Captain America" does not recycle the same bland character who is solely motivated by his patriotic ideals. This version instead produces a story of a less than ordinary man who is given the chance to be great, which is something many people spend their life in pursuit of.
What makes this film so fun and entertaining is that it surrounds the global conflict of World War II between the Allied Forces lead by Captain America and the Nazi regime lead by the infamous and fictional Red Skull. Played by Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving, respectively, these two larger than life individuals illustrate a struggle that could not only topple nations, but the entire world. The fact that "Captain America" is a product of the Marvel Universe means that there is so much room for creativity and this greatly shows in the film with the addition of highly advanced vehicles and energy weapons. While WWII was not known for either of these plot devices, their use only adds to the thrill and excitement that is Captain America. What follows is an action packed adventure that traces the origins of one of America's greatest heroes.
Although Captain America is the principal character, what would he be without the people that surround him on and off of the battlefield? Members of the cast include Stanley Tucci, Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones, and Hayley Atwell who plays Peggy Carter, Captain America's love interest. To create some continuity between Marvel films, Dominic Cooper plays Howard Stark, the father of future billionaire Tony Stark, who later becomes Iron Man. Each character adds their own unique voice to the film, which in turn allows for themes other than action to shine such as romance and man's search for meaning. Theatre goers of all sorts will find something to love about the Captain and his exploits.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" is the last feature film from Marvel to introduce a superhero who is a member of the legendary group known as the Avengers. Premiering early next May, this daring project will unite previous Marvel productions that include "Thor," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Iron Man." After nearly 7 years in production, this monumental undertaking is finally nearing completion and one step closer to setting a new standard for comic book movies. What makes this project such a great idea is that it brings together fans of each comic book in a manner that highlights their individual strengths. Like the heroes they love, comic book readers everywhere will unite and assemble on May 4, 2012 for "The Avengers."
Christopher Spall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.