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Captain America: The First Avenger a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures, it is the fifth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Joe Johnston, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci. During World War II, Steve Rogers, a frail man, is transformed into the super-soldier Captain America and must stop the Red Skull from using the Tesseract as an energy source for world domination.

The film began as a concept in 1997 and was scheduled for distribution by Artisan Entertainment. However, a lawsuit disrupted the project and was not settled until September 2003. In 2005, Marvel Studios received a loan from Merrill Lynch, and planned to finance and release the film through Paramount Pictures. Directors Jon Favreau and Louis Leterrier were interested in directing the project before Johnston was approached in 2008. The principal characters were cast between March and June 2010. Production began in June, and filming took place in London, Manchester, Caerwent, Liverpool, and Los Angeles. Several different techniques were used by the visual effects company Lola to create the physical appearance of the character before he becomes Captain America.

Captain America: The First Avengerpremiered at the El Capitan Theatre on July 19, 2011, and was released in the United States on July 22, as part of Phase One of the MCU. The film was commercially successful, grossing over $370 million worldwide. Critics particularly praised Evans' performance, the film's depiction of its 1940s time period, and Johnston's direction. Two sequels have been released: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).

Plot

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover an old, frozen aircraft. In March 1942, Nazi lieutenant general Johann Schmidt and his men steal a mysterious relic called the Tesseract, which possesses untold godly powers, from the town of Tønsberg in German-occupied Norway.

In New York City, Steve Rogers is rejected for World War II military recruitment due to his various health and physical problems. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his best friend, Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, Rogers again attempts to enlist. Overhearing Rogers' conversation with Barnes about representing his country in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited into the Strategic Scientific Reserve as part of a "super-soldier" experiment under Erskine, Colonel Chester Phillips, and British agent Peggy Carter. Phillips is unconvinced by Erskine's claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure but relents after seeing Rogers jump on a grenade to save his comrades, unaware that it is a test. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Schmidt underwent the procedure prematurely and suffered permanent side-effects.

Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola harness the energies of the Tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola's inventions, mounting an offensive that will change the world. Schmidt discovers Erskine's location and sends assassin Heinz Kruger to kill him. Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with "vita-rays". After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and more muscular, an undercover Kruger kills Erskine and flees with a vial of the serum. Rogers pursues and captures Kruger, but the assassin avoids interrogation by committing suicide with a cyanidecapsule. With Erskine dead and his super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as "Captain America" to promote war bondswhile scientists study him and attempt to reverse-engineer the formula. In 1943, while on tour in Italy performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes' unit was MIA in a battle against Schmidt's forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt's Nazi division Hydra, freeing Barnes and the other prisoners. Rogers confronts Schmidt, who removes a mask to reveal a red, skull-like visage that earned him the sobriquet "the Red Skull". Schmidt escapes and Rogers returns to base with the freed soldiers.

Rogers recruits Barnes, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier to attack other known Hydra bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, most notably a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nearly indestructible metal. Rogers and his team sabotage various Hydra operations, while he and Carter begin to fall in love. In 1945, the team assaults a train carrying Zola. Rogers and Jones succeed in capturing Zola, but Barnes falls from the train to his apparent death.Using information extracted from Zola, the final Hydra stronghold is located, and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using weapons of mass destruction on major American cities. Rogers climbs aboard Schmidt's aircraft as it takes off. During the subsequent fight, the Tesseract's container is damaged. Schmidt physically handles the Tesseract, which opens a wormhole into space, sucking him into it. The Tesseract burns through the plane and is lost in the ocean. Seeing no way to land the plane without the risk of detonating its weapons, Rogers radios Carter and says goodbye to her before crashing in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the Tesseract from the ocean floor but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft, presuming him dead.

Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Hearing a radio broadcast of a baseball game that he attended in 1941, Rogers grows suspicious, flees outside and finds himself in present-day Times Square, where S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury informs him that he has been "asleep" for nearly 70 years. In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers and proposes a mission with worldwide ramifications.

All spoilers have been stated and have ended here.

Cast

  • Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, a frail young man who is enhanced to the peak of human ability by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort.
  • Tommy Lee Jones as Chester Phillips, a colonel in the United States Army and member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve who heads the project to create super soldiers. The character was updated from the comics, where Phillips was the one to recruit Rogers to join Project Rebirth that made him Captain America.
  • Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt / Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's head of advanced weaponry and commander of the terrorist organization Hydra whose own plan for world domination involves harnessing the power of the magical object known as the Tesseract.
  • Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, an officer with the Strategic Scientific Reserve who works with Phillips on the super soldier project.
  • Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, a sergeant in the United States Army, Rogers' best friend, and member of his squad of commandos.
  • Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, the father of Tony Stark who worked on various government projects dating back to the World War II era.
  • Neal McDonough as Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan, a member of Rogers' squad of commandos.
  • Derek Luke as Gabe Jones, a member of Rogers' squad of commandos.
  • Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine, the scientist who created the Super Soldier serum.

Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, the director of the super-spy agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. Kenneth Choi appears as Jim Morita, a Japanese-American member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Bruno Ricci stars as Jacques Dernier, a French member of Rogers' squad of commandos. JJ Feild appears as James Montgomery Falsworth, a British member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Additionally, Toby Jones was cast as Arnim Zola, a biochemist for the Nazi party, Richard Armitage portrays Heinz Kruger, the Red Skull's top assassin, Lex Shrapnel portrays Gilmore Hodge, a candidate for the super soldier program, Michael Brandon portrays Brandt, a United States Senator who recognizes the PR potential of Captain America. Jeff Goldblum had originally been approached to play the part; he later played Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok. Natalie Dormer portrays Lorraine, a private who attempts to seduce Rogers, and Jenna Coleman appears as Connie, Bucky's date at the World Expo. Laura Haddock, who would go on to portray Meredith Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy, has a brief appearance as an autograph seeker. Writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn jokingly claimed that this was Peter Quill's grandmother. Stan Lee has a cameo appearance as a general.

Production

  • The film was shot in Britain and New York City, New York.

Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Tønsberg, Norway is the same place where the war between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants took place in the beginning of Thor.
  • Johann Schmidt references Odin's chamber moments after taking the Tesseract is Asgardian in origin.
  • Howard Stark is the father of Tony Stark.
  • The Stark Expo theme introduced in Iron Man 2 ("Make Way for Tomorrow Today") is heard after Howard Stark's presentation at the 1942 World's Fair.
  • Stark presents an early version of the repulsor technology that his son would perfect in Iron Man.
  • When Steve Rogers is injected with the Super Soldier Serum, the film cuts to a close up of his eyes opening wide, a shot better known in association with the transformation of the Hulk. The film The Incredible Hulk ties Bruce Banner's gamma ray research into trying to re-create the super soldier serum, (Banner's experiment went wrong, which resulted in Banner's first Hulk transformation) which was destroyed here.
  • Consistent with the serum seen in The Incredible Hulk, it is blue in color and is activated by Vita-rays. The canister containing the serum in The Incredible Hulk was labeled with a Vita-ray radiation warning.
  • Tony Stark had a Captain America shield prototype in his lab in the two Iron Man movies. Stark's father, Howard, is depicted here designing the shield and Captain America's armor. Obadiah Stane also mentions in Iron Man that Tony's father worked on the Manhattan Project, which ties into his World War II activities depicted here.
  • When the Red Skull is seemingly destroyed by the Tesseract, he appears to be transported across space rather than destroyed, shooting into what seems to be Yggdrasil mentioned in Thor.
  • The Asgardians, referred to as "gods", are mentioned.

Reception

Box Office

Captain America: The First Avenger earned $176.7 million in North America and $193.9 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $370.6 million.

The film opened on July 22, 2011, in the United States and earned $4 million in midnight showings, outgrossing other 2011 original superhero films like Thor and Green Lantern, as well as the prequel X-Men: First Class, which all made between $3.25 million and $3.5 million in Friday midnights. On Friday, the film opened at the number one spot at the American and Canadian box office with $25.7 million. It then went on to make $65.1 million in what was the second highest-grossing opening weekend for a superhero film in 2011, behind Thor ($65.7 million). At the time of its release, Captain America: The First Avenger became the third highest-grossing motion picture set during the World War II era, after Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor.

Critical Response

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an 80% approval rating with an average rating of 7/10, based on 272 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score, rated the film 66 out of 100 based on 43 reviews from critics indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.

External links

References


Template:Marvel Cinematic Universe Films Template:Captain America Films

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