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Captain America: The First Avenger

Entry updated 8 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2011). Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present a Marvel Studios production. Directed by Joe Johnston. Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, based on the Marvel Comics by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Cast includes Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci and Hugo Weaving. 124 minutes. Colour, 3D (converted).

Joss Whedon did an uncredited punch-up of the script for this pivotal film in the Marvel crossover canon (see Marvel Cinematic Universe), which frames a sure-footed retread of the character's canonical origin story and World War Two career within the modern-day story of his Corpsicle's revival; both elements feed directly into Whedon's own The Avengers (2012), deftly folding in the film mythology from the same year's Thor (2011) of the Norse gods as transdimensional sf technologists. Nazi enthusiasm for Nordic myth marries ingeniously with the pursuit of bioengineered Supermen and apocalyptic super-Weapons, as the Red Skull (Weaving) and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans) emerge from the same supersoldier programme that will eventually produce the Hulk (see The Incredible Hulk), and clash in the quest for the celebrated Marvel alien McGuffin known variously as the Cosmic Cube and (here) the Tesseract. In effect an origin story for Marvel's entire cinematic universe, the film inhabits its period setting with great warmth, as well as an artful nostalgia for the moral innocence and geopolitical certainty out of which the Silver Age of comics was born. Comparison with its creaky 1979 and 1990 live-action predecessors makes for an instructive demonstration of the level to which Marvel, and Superhero cinema in general, has raised its game since the millennium. After The Avengers (2012), this film is directly sequelled by Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016). [NL]


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