Welcome back to another installment of ranking the MCU movies. Today we look at Captain America: The First Avenger. This is a movie that in the pre-rankings ranked much higher than most felt comfortable with. It also ranked higher than the second part of its trilogy. So, does this movie seem better the second time around? Or will it drop as many want it to? Let’s look at the good and the bad with Captain America.
Captain America: The First Avenger Analysis
Captain America Development
The actual character development of the Captain America character was very well done. It is one of the biggest reasons that it ranked so high at first. While we will get into the issues with “Small Steve” later, everything after that is great. The scene where he willingly jumps on a grenade to show that he puts others before himself symbolizes what the character is all about.
Also, while the showgirl act seemed rather pointless it was nice seeing “Cap” develop some backbone and do what he thinks was right. Once again circling back to the idea that he will put others ahead of himself, he risks his life to go save Prisoners Of War. Yes, it helped that his friend Bucky Barnes was one of the POW’s, however, the overall theme of saving them all was big.
Overall, the actual character development of what Captain America is supposed to be was well done. There were a few things that were questionable, but getting the point across that he isn’t a selfish person was needed and a good place they can build around for future films.
Dr. Abraham Erskine
The character of Dr. Abraham Erskine was perfectly played. Stanley Tucci plays a German scientist that fled the German regime when he realized what the Nazi’s were doing. This character helps create Captain America and also allows him to know why he was chosen.
Looking for more than just physical skill, the scientist teaches a valuable lesson that being a good person is just as, if not more important in many situations. This was a very well played and written character which is why it gets an up. The only issue is that it feels like a retread of the doctor that helps Tony Stark in Iron Man.
This is where I differ from lots of people. Most people thought the massive battle montage was a waste and that it should have been longer with less backstory. While there likely could have been a bit of backstory cut out, we just highlighted it as a huge part in the story. So, when it comes to the length of the movie something else is shortened.
For the battle montage of Cap and his crew taking out Hydra bases, it was perfectly done. There was some chaos showing that the team can improvise and not every takedown is the same. There were also cool action shots, including a few of Cap tossing around his shield.
Overall, many people wish this was more drawn out, but in movies that can be overdone sometimes. A change showing many different locations was nice to see.
Peggy and Cap
Much like with Thor and Jane, this romance just seems so forced. The ending is sad but also well done when Cap says “I had a dance.” Other than that, a lot of it feels like filler and just pushing two characters together for the sake of a romance angle.
They do make the angle better as the MCU moves on but for this movie, it just didn’t make a ton of sense. Specific parts were Peggy risking everything to be in a plane with Captain America flying over Germany even though she likely wasn’t needed, to her also just shooting his shield not knowing if it would work.
After the shield incident, there was also almost no storyline as to why she fell back in love with him. There was one clip where she was on his pocket watch and that was about it. Maybe this was also part that was cut for the backstory but this was not as well done as the action scenes.
Colonel Phillips was a bad character in this movie. Not using a Super Soldier that he should know has superhuman abilities should be a reason to be let go on the spot. Making him a cheerleader and not even trying to give him training or anything is incredibly dumb.
He also comes around at the end of the movie by driving the car so Cap can catch up with a plane. He has a pretty funny one-liner and that’s about it. Most of the time his character is just there to doubt Captain America and make very questionable decisions. He kind of builds to the backstory of Cap but overall it just feels like they had him in there just to be another obstacle. It would have been nice if they incorporated some more logic into the character.
This is a quick down but the CGI or editing on small Chris Evans was more scary and bad than anything else. Evans said in an interview he didn’t want his head on another actor’s body because he would rather the character be him. From an acting standpoint that makes sense. However, from an execution standpoint, it was very poorly done. Chris Evans head on a small body just looked wrong and not very realistic at all.
A new spot on this list because I didn’t know what to say, the ending was both good and bad. Red Skull was a fine but mostly forgettable villain. He was very average as far as the MCU goes. His plan made enough sense but he also didn’t do anything special like a Loki or Thanos to really love the character.
When it comes to the end, it gets a plus for being different and not just having the good guy beat the bad guy in a very predictable fashion was a nice change. Also having the climax of Red Skull’s demise being the Tesseract, the thing he is obsessed with was a nice touch.
After that, however, it seems all downhill. Cap’s plan to just crash the plane and kill himself seems incredibly flawed. Yes, there were bombs on board. But was Red Skull’s plan to just bomb the USA and himself in the process? There must have been a parachute for Cap or something on board to help land safer. The idea that he needed to crash and kill himself seems poor. Yes, it is so he can be in the modern day but it just felt like lazy writing. We talked about how his character is selfless, this felt like pushing that to the extreme.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable movie. If you need two hours to kill, watching this will put them to good use. There are some plot issues when it comes to logic, but what Super Hero movie doesn’t have that? It is a great job at storytelling with character development. As well as some action in there too.
It very likely will drop come to the final rankings but should remain near the top half of the MCU. One of their better original hero movies this one should last as a movie to rewatch for a long time.
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