Did anyone think Chris Evans would be a good choice to play Steve Rogers/Captain America? Rogers is an uptight, level-headed, no nonsense soldier. Chris Evans was known for playing younger, brash, wild and immature characters like the Human Torch.
Fast forward seven years. Does anyone think anybody but Chris Evans could be Steve Rogers? From the first time we see him on screen trying (and failing) to get enlisted, we see a different side of Evans that we hadn’t seen previously. And it was great.
We also got to see the origins of SHIELD in the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). We were reintroduced to Howard Stark as a not-yet-Uncle-Walt young man. And we were introduced to the strongest female character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, Agent Peggy Carter Throw in some great actors like Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci and put the movie in the hands of the guy who gave us The Rocketeer and Marvel had the makings of a great movie.
What sets Captain America: The First Avenger apart from its fellow MCU counterparts (aside from being a WWII period piece and a comic book movie) is that Rogers is a true “good guy.” Heroes these days are never completely good. They have to go through the story’s journey to get to the point where they will willingly choose the right path. And even then it’s not guaranteed. But Cap is different. He is a good guy through and through. He doesn’t wrestle with his demons the way Tony, Bruce and Thor do. He knows what’s right and chooses it every time.
That sounds really boring and campy but if you’ve seen the movie, you know that it doesn’t come off as either. Steve Rogers is a hero we can look up to.
Also, Captain America: The First Avenger finally gave us what Iron Man 2 tried and Thor slightly improved on: a stand alone superhero movie that also expands the scope of the MCU without compromising the film’s story. The scene in the church at the beginning harkens back to Thor, the Stark Expo back to Iron Man 2 and the introduction of the Tesseract looks forward to The Avengers (and beyond).
Captain America: The First Avenger could have taken the MCU off the rails but instead gave it a strong push heading into The Avengers.
What did you think of Captain America when it was first released? What do you think now, seven years later?
Note: I’m doing a retrospective look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe examining how each movie has aged leading up to the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War.