Captain America: The First Avenger is the Worst Superhero Film of the Summer! Michelle’s Review!

Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review

I’m a Marvel fangirl, never could get into the DC Universe. I like Captain America as the leader of the Avengers, but as a character I could never get into him. I enjoyed Ed Brubaker’s recent epic run, but there was always something missing. After viewing Captain America: The First Avenger, I left the theater feeling the same way I do about the books – ambivalent.

Let’s start with the positive – I love Chris Evans, in my eyes he can do no wrong.  I was skeptical when he was originally cast and thought he was wrong for the part, but he proved me wrong. Pre Super Soldier, short and skinny Evans was just creepy. His deep voice didn’t match the body. It was a bit distracting because I was obsessed with wondering how Director Joe Johnston pulled off this bit of movie magic.

Almost everything in the first half of the movie was spot on. But once Steve Rogers finally becomes Captain America the movie starts to wobble, before ultimately sinking. The Ultimate’s version of the costume doesn’t work and the character of Captain America is absolutely DESTROYED by Johnston.

The movie spends too much time treating Rogers with contempt. Instead of them sending him into battle he becomes a USO Entertainer selling War Bonds? WTH????? I understand the Hero has to earn respect, but this entire sequence turns Captain America into a National Joke and goes way too long. Even after he saved all the men in his first heroic action he is still disrespected by Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). I hated Tommy Lee Jones character.  In addition to the unnecessary USO bit, there was just too much time spent showing Rogers at a skinny wimp. I liked that they showed Rogers desperately trying to get into the service and that his small size didn’t affect his big heart or courage, but at some point the movie crosses the line and you want it to stop once he gets his powers. By the time he finally goes to war it was impossible for me to buy him as a “warrior.”

Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter was great, but there was no chemistry between her and Evans.  I don’t like Hugo Weaving, I find him to be boring and charisma free. He doesn’t add any depth or nuance to Nazi scientist Red Skull, although he does nail the look and swagger of the Skull.

Other than Captain America we spend a lot of time with the Skull but we don’t find out anything about him or what makes him tick. We don’t find anything about anyone in this movie. Nameless characters serve as a backdrop to the montage of endless battles. At times I felt like I was watching a video game and not a real movie.

We meet the Howling Commandos, but other than us meeting James Barnes (Sebastian Stan), we don’t even know the names of the rest of the crew. For a while I thought Derek Luke’s character was supposed to be a young Nick Fury.

We don’t find anything else about Bucky and I’m not sure that I liked the fact that they turned Bucky into an adult instead of the “teen sidekick.” I did like that they showed him sniping some guy and handling the “tough” tasks that Captain America didn’t. If you are going to have Bucky in the movie, why not do his actual story and show him becoming the “sidekick?”

The movie’s punch line should have been The Avengers discovering Captain America frozen in the ice, it shouldn’t have started with them discovering him and then flashing back to his origin. In theory that works well, but for some reason it doesn’t work in this movie.

There’s a weird moment early on where the Captain meets the Red Skull, this confrontation felt like it occurs way too early in the movie because there is no build up to it. It just happens and is not an earned “It’s time for an ass kicking, moment” and nothing really happens here.

Captain America doesn’t end the way it should and feels like it goes on for another unnecessary five minutes just to set up the Avengers movie.  This entire sequence felt like something that would have been better served as the beginning of another movie. It felt like this movie was restarting and not “ending.” Can I say I despise the recent post credit teaser clip gimmick? Just show us the clip, so we can get the heck out of the theater without sitting through a 10-minute credit crawl!

I watched the 3D version of this and the only thing there is to say is, I didn’t hate it and it wasn’t bad enough where it was a distraction. There was no depth of field to any of it and was utterly pointless.

Prior to the movie, they showed a trailer for Spider-Man in 3D and that was AMAZING. If you are going to have 3D in a movie I WANT to see Captain America’s beautiful Star Spangled Shield to fly at me, I WANT to feel immersed in the experience and see stuff from the character’s viewpoint – to feel like I’m on an amusement park ride or immersed in the world the Director is trying to create. Otherwise what is the point? The Spider-Man web swinging first person view was awesome. There’s not one sequence like that in Captain America. Ooh, look at that dark 3D Recruitment center.

Captain America: The First Avenger has all the elements here for a fantastic summer Super Hero flick, but it’s hampered by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay that gives too much away in the wrong places.

Final Grade C

EM Review
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 07/20/2011



  1. “Can I say I despise the recent post credit teaser clip gimmick? Just show us the clip, so we can get the heck out of the theater without sitting through a 10-minute credit crawl!”

    Wow. Heaven forbid you should be FORCED to see the names of all those people that, y’know, actually MADE the film. Coming from someone who is supposed to be a film critic, I find that line incredibly crass and disrespectful. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    It’s fine that you don’t like the movie; I thought it was great, but maybe it’s not for everyone. But to suggest you’re somehow being punished by being asked to watch the credits before being shown extra footage – smacks of self-entitlement and greediness.

  2. I can definitely understand your frustration with spending a large amount of the moving having the character being paraded around like a mascot at USO events. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the reason Captain America was created was to serve as a patriotic symbol during WWII. I believe they were making an homage to the golden days when this character was most relevant. Also, they are in the works for an Avengers movie which would explain the title of this movie, last five minutes of this movie and the last bit of film seen after the credits of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk).

  3. It’s fair to write a review about how you feel as a viewer of the movie. I can respect that.

    But it’s clear to me as a viewer of the entire body of work that includes the Iron Man movies, the Hulk reboot, and the Thor flick that in order to properly review any of these individually beyond the first Iron Man, you need to do so in context of all of the others or you’re missing a lot of the changes that are resident in all of the movies that affect each one thereafter.

    How did the director pull off the Chris Evans CGI magic? It would be the same way Peter Jackson made everyone look like hobbits. Beyond that rationalization is there really enough going on to marginally distract you? Serious question there.

    I will partially agree in regards to the war bonds stuff. I saw that as a way to explain why a super soldier would have a hokey non camo costume and choose to wear that into combat. Answer: it was a marketing scam and he wore it as a badge of honor after being humbled with it. It fit perfectly with the morals of the character being the type that always took a beating and rebounded. Because I could rationalize it, it didn’t bother me as much. I saw it as character build.

    I will disagree fully about lack of chemistry between the male and female leads. There was tension and there was a love story there that’s left unfinished. I thought that Howard Stark’s presence helped that along quite well.

    Honestly though I think that at the core of your review and my response to counter some things lies one difference. I don’t think you really wanted to go see this movie. It may have affected how you read into things. From my perspective I’ve wanted to see this movie for two years and have been waiting for it. I may be biased.

    1. Im a comicbook collector and as a general rule Im a sucker for a Super Hero movie, but I was kind of ambivilant about C.A. The war bonds stuff would have been fine if they didnt spend the first 40 minutes disrespecting Steve and then totally disresected him after he gained his new status which left him to be Warbonds. guy. He is a propaganda tool as a real soldier, not as a joke Uso guy.

  4. C’s a passing grade so a) How is this the worst superhero film of the summer and b) why does Rotten tomatoes consider this rotten?

    First, you have to proofread your writing, or have someone check it for you. Second, while I think the action should not have been montaged, I find myself agreeing with you on one point and disagreeing with the next. Tommy Lee Jones brought some good comic relief to the film. I don’t need to know the names of the Howling Commandos (they’re not even called that) to like and enjoy them. They give us Dugan’s name, and that’s about it. And if the black guy was supposed to be Nick Fury (it could be possible!) he would be very old by the time we see him at the end of the film.

    I love that a reviewer is actually a fan of the comics, but being a fan also comes with you’re “thay should’ve done this, they should’ve done that.” Look in the credits. Marvel people inspired this film and consulted on this. SO you can do better?

    I DEFINITELY don’t think this was the worst superhero film of the summer. In fact, I say it’s second to X-men First Class.

  5. The fact that you said you were too distracted by how they pulled off the movie magic to skinny down Chris Evans confuses me. Would you rather have had them do a bad job so you know exactly how they did it? I understand that you just think he was too much of a “wimp” in general, but that’s a huge part of who the character is. If he wasn’t it wouldn’t be the same.

    I can understand someone not liking this movie. I personally though it was good but not great. That being said, I find many of your reasons for not liking it to be confusing. In your opinion would it have been a better movie if Steve was only small for 15 minutes, then got bulked up and fought people the rest of the movie? I think that would have made it seem even more “like a video game” (an analogy that is completely off-base, but not worth getting into here). I’ve just never heard anyone say that they wished a superhero movie was more shallow before. Normally they’re praised for putting emphasis on the person behind the mask (shield).

  6. Captain America was crap, I agree. I hope it gets rebooted again. Respect the freaking costume. The attempt to redesign was pathetic. There was a reason Captain America, the comic and character, was successful. The costume did not need to be fixed.

    1. 1) It’s not getting rebooted.

      2) When the Avengers movie comes out, his costume will look closer to the Captain America uniform comics readers know. They have posters of the new design out.

      3) That’s it? If he wore the costume just like in the comics, you would love the film? Which costume, though? The costume at first glance looks the same throughout the decades, but it’s tweaked here and there as time has gone on. So which Cap uniform do you want? 40s? 80s? 200s? Ultimate Captain America? Who would they appease? Just you?

      1. 1) How the hell do you know dude? Wow, it hasn’t even been one week since this film has been released and you’re already making bold claims, like you know. Wow, ignorant.

        2) I read the movie websites, and I think the Avengers costume is probably even worse. Without the wings, the costume just does NOT work. Plus, too much of the costume has been messed with. He doesn’t look like Captain America at all. It’s been Hollywoodized.

        3) Jesus, any decent Captain America fan knows how they want the character to look like in a movie. There is a general style that we are looking for…Cap’s movie costume looks like the one for a totally different character…

        1. !) It’s not going to be rebooted. It got better critical response than Green Lantern, and that’s possibly getting a sequel. Cap won its weekend, and it’s already made over 72 Mil. Its budget is 140. Green Lantern’s budget was more than 2X Cap’s. No reboot. Anyway, if there was a reeboot, who’s to say they would copy the uniform directly from he comics?

          2) Wings? That’s .1% of the costume! Even less! If they did the ENTIRE costume, PERFECTLY resembling the costume EXCEPT for the wings, you’d ask for a refund? Even though a) the wings are represented on his helmet and b) actual wings on a costume would be RIPPED OFF in a real situation.

          You are not the best audience for comic book adaptations. There is ALWAYS something changed in these adaptations. Always. It’s great that you’re such a fan, but comics are comics and films are films.

          3) Here’s the style for Captain America: Red, White, and Blue. This movie? Job done. If he comes wearing the Canadian Flag, and a square shield, then I’m with you.

          Oh, and anyway, he did in fact wear the correct Captain America costume, wings and all. It just wasn’t during the actual battles. 😉

          1. You must work for the movie studio. No one can be as stupid as you.

          2. Thanks for being insulting. I thought we could have a conversation. What of what I said was stupid? How many people do you think care about wings on a costume?

          3. Seriously jackass, are you an intern or something at a movie studio? I don’t think I’ve EVER seen Captain America without his wings! Not in the comics, not in the games, EVER!!! Please quit pretending to be a fan, because you’re NOT.

            Fuck off.

          4. If I worked for the studios, I wouldn’t talk to you because you are hell-bent on the least relevant aspect of Cap’s costume being represented. I don’t think it’s totally irrelevant (and neither did the movie. It’s on the sides of his helmet). If you don’t think Cap has NEVER gone without the wings, then either your memory is cloudy or you haven’t read that much Captain America. Let me give you a visual representation 

            You have much respect for the costume, but Captain America is a character that has changed hands many times, and at times his costume changes.

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