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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Red, white and blue-fashioned

 
 

Marvel’s precursor to next summer’s Avengers epic hits hard and fast, and with director Joe Johnston at the helm, audiences can expect plenty of adventure and excitement in the vein of Indiana Jones.
This World War II period piece, book ended by flashes to current day, has a lot on its plate for an origin film. It’s subtitled “First Avenger” for a reason; the story must back engineer Captain America’s meeting with Samuel L. Jackson’s superhero-recruiting Nick Fury all while chronicling the rise of 90 pound weakling turned super soldier, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
Evans, the next would-be movie star, sheds his forgetful Fantastic Four costume and steps right into the role he was seemingly born to play as the sentinel of liberty. His usual smart-mouth attitude is gone and replaced by an earnest, wartime demeanor, setting him apart from Marvel’s other wisecracking and emotionally flawed superheroes.
As the son of a war hero, Rogers is deemed unfit for combat–along with about anything else–time and again, a “4F” whose asthma alone disqualifies him. He has all of the courage and desire to fight for his country, just no means to actually do so.
His best friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), gets all the women and runs off to war without him, repeatedly warning Rogers not to pull any tomfoolery while he’s gone.
Enter Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a defected German scientist for the U.S. Army who is looking for qualities beyond physical prowess. Much to the dismay of Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), Erskine selects Rogers for his game-changing experiment to create a new breed of soldier that will personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of hell.
And there we have it–Nazis, the always hateable villains in history and storytelling. Captain America avoids the fuhrer directly, with only a cartoonish image making an appearance. Even the swastika is replaced by an octopus symbol, the marking of the Nazi led subdivision, Hydra.
As Hitler’s chosen group for scientific discovery, Hydra, led by the occult-obsessed Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), serves as the world’s No. 1 threat bent on total world destruction.
Weaving’s Schmidt, a.k.a. the Red Skull, is played with the gusto of your typical Bond villain. He’s menacing and rotten to the core, and if you’re a fan of The Matrix trilogy, you’ll be expecting him to spout out the words “Mr. Anderson” at any moment.
Sadly, the Red Skull is the least developed member of the supporting cast, showing up only to kill, complain or exchange words of destiny with Captain America. It’s a shame considering the spot on casting and devilish appearance of the iconic villain.
No World War II blockbuster would be complete without a lovable dame, except in this case, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is a full-fledged soldier and MI6 agent. She’s the woman who recognizes the man beneath Rogers’ genetically enhanced exterior. And though their love story feels a tad forced, there’s definite chemistry between the two–not to mention she’s a sight for sore eyes amongst an almost all-male cast. That red lipstick gives you the feeling she could be painted right on the outside of a bomber airplane.
Stealing scenes with a war chest of one-liners, the veteran Jones walks into his role as Col. Phillips as though he could do it in his sleep without ever having to read the script. This is Jones being the talent that he is in just the right amount.
Also making spot appearances is Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, the father of Tony “Iron Man” Stark–a role of which sheds light on just where Tony’s charm and womanizing personality stems from.
All in all, Captain America: The First Avenger is a good, but not great, entry into Marvel’s film franchise. It takes little to no chances, features a straight edge story without any gaping flaws.
It’s pulp-inspired entertainment told in an old-fashioned way that’s undeniably fun–almost as if it could have existed in the 1940s itself.
While not quite topping Iron Man, this is an excellent lead in to the Avengers ensemble and solidifies the casting of Evans, who only needs to get louder and more authoritative if he’s going to lead a team of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Avoid paying to watch the pointless 3-D conversion and keep to your seats for Marvel’s now-traditional after-credits scene.
All I can say is that some assembly will be required.
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