Captain America: The Avenger Prologue
– A Hero Corner Catch-up Review by David 2

So we continue with the Mighty Marvel Studio’s march to “The Avengers” with the last of the solo movies, and the one that sets the stage for “The Avengers” movie itself.  We have already seen Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, and of course tying them all together are Nick Fury and his Agents of SHIELD.  Now we just need their super-patriot… Captain America.

“Captain America: The First Avenger” was released in 2011 by Marvel Studios and stars Chris Evans, Hailey Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Samuel L. Jackson, and the “Generalissimo” himself, Stan Lee.

If you saw the after-credit scene in “Thor”, you saw Nick Fury showing off a certain glowing cube.  That cube sets the stage for the movie as Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (Weaving) discovers it hiding behind a wooden carving of the Norse representation of Yggdrasil, otherwise known as the “World Tree”.  If you saw “Thor” then you’d also recognize the significance.

We then switch to the United States, and a puny and weak Steve Rogers (Evans and some great CGI) is trying for the umpteenth time to join the Army to help fight against the Nazis.  But every time he tries, he is rejected.  He’s too skinny, too small, and too sickly to serve.  But that doesn’t stop him from standing up to bullies… even though he ends up getting the crap beaten out of him… for the umpteenth time.  Even when his best friend Bucky Barnes (Stan) tries to cheer him up by going to the World’s Fair and seeing the “future” courtesy of millionaire genius Howard Stark (Cooper), Steve still tries to enlist in yet another recruitment center.  But this time he is caught by Dr. Erskine (Tucci), who gives him the opportunity to serve in another way… to test his super-secret super-soldier process.

Before he can be the human guinea pig, though, he has to survive basic training as run by Colonel Phillips (Jones) and British agent Peggy Carter (Atwell).  Both Carter and Erskine see the potential in Steve, while Phillips and the other soldiers don’t.  But they get convinced because… story… and we see both Erskine and Iron Man’s future daddy put Steve through the process.  He becomes taller, bigger, and more fit.  It’s just a pity some Nazi spy would come in and ruin it by killing Erskine.

Colonel Phillips then does what all idiot officers do, which is to bench his greatest weapon.  But, don’t worry, he can still serve as “Captain America”; a star-spangled stage performer who wears a patriotic costume and gets to punch out “Adolph Hitler” while selling war bonds.  What a waste!

But don’t worry, that’s far from the end of the story.  I just don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.  After all, we still need to know how that blue glowing cube fits into all of it, how Cap gets a shield, how he becomes more than just a stage act, and how he plays into “The Avengers”.

This movie, above any other earlier production featuring the iconic Marvel character, really embraces the origin story, while still putting their own spin to it.  We see Tony Stark’s father being every bit the genius that Tony would eventually be in “Iron Man”.  We see the legendary “Howling Commandos” and how they got started.

The casting is equally superb.  Chris Evans embodies the spirit of Steve Rogers, both before and after his transformation.  Hugo Weaving plays quite the convincing villain as both Schmidt and as the Red Skull.  And the quality of special effects make the skinny Rogers and the Red Skull look outright convincing.

This is, without a doubt, one of the best from Marvel Sudios, ranked right up there with the first “Iron Man” movie.  And they make it quite clear in the post-credit scenes that the next movie for them will be… “The Avengers”.

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