To get through the long wait before Avengers 4
, David and I are rewatching the Marvel movies and some of the TV shows in more or less chronological order. We begin with the WWII adventure, Captain America: The First Avenger
, paying special attention to characters and story seeds that become important in later films.
Best Wishes on this latest podcast journey. This should be insightful to see how far we've come.
When The First Avenger came out I was completely caught up in it, even declaring it better than Iron Man! On a post-Avengers rewatch in 2013 I found I still enjoyed the same parts I did in the theater, but now felt like the movie was all parts rather than a complete whole.
I'll be curious if you or David feel similarly about some of the other Phase 1 films as "just set up for The Avengers". This case seems more apparent since Cap's sequels went on to develop a very different tone and squired a very different supporting cast.
The film feels like a series of dolled up bullet points.
1. Identify that Cap is not politically motivated, he just wants to stamp out bullies, a line that is nessecary in today's internationally minded climate and for American viewers who would be burned out on Bush era patriotism.
2. Give him a bad guy to fight that's like the Nazis without the nasty implications. This keeps a period film fun and marketable if he's dealing with this secret war under the real one.
3. Establish Cap as a leader of a multinational task force. The Howling Commandos like Thor's Warriors Three are mostly there for fanservice. But it does lend credence to Cap leading the Avengers next time and let's people know that true Americans cooperate.
4. Hint at a Relationship with the action capable love interest with misunderstandings and the inability to spit out how they feel in classic comic book fashion.
5. A heroic sacrifice of stopping a plane from hitting New York to connect this to a post 911 audience. This also foreshadowes Tony's character arc for the Avengers when he makes the same decision to stop a bomb from hitting New York.
6. Spell out that there's a sequel and there you have it!
While the plot reads like a checklist. I do love the cast. Chris Evans plays like part gentle but authoritive with echoes of Christopher Reeve. We all fell in love with Hayley Atwell here and it was great to see her come back in various spin offs. Like Steve she's strong in the face of danger but has some moments of silk beneath that steel exterior. Dominic Cooper is doing a Tony Stark impression but it makes for good contrast with Cap straight up do gooder and provides some comic relief. Stanley Tucci as Eskine really gives the part some humanity. Talking about How the first country the Nazis invaded was their own. It sounds so genuine for a summer blockbuster.
My big issue is how this one feels incomplete because of how much set up there is and how different the other movies became. It won't be in my Fourth of July viewing rotation like The Rocketeer, but it was a good introduction of the character and what he means to the Marvel Universe.
I don't know if it's because we skipped the framing sequences, but I didn't feel like this was set up as much as, say, Iron Man 2. Not that I mind set-up when it's done well, but I was so wrapped up in Steve Rogers that I didn't think much about what was coming next.
I imagine that most of the Phase 1 movies feel like set up for The Avengers (since that was their intended goal) compared to the sequels which did more to flesh out the characters individually.
The Incredible Hulk will probably be the most interesting to revisit not only because of the change of actor but the lack of further solo films means a good many ideas were either dropped or put on hold.
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