When I was stationed in Korea in 1977, one of my supervisors, Sgt Averet,
talked to me about Captain America. I don’t remember the full conversation except
that he told me that the first avenger was designed to fight the Germans. I recall being
interested, but not all that impressed. I was 18 at the time and my favorite heroes were
still Batman and Superman.
Over the years, Cap, as he is affectionately called, has never been one of my
all time favorite comic heroes. Now, 45 years, a gradual leaning toward both DC and
Marvel characters and a 1990 international version later, comes an aptly well made ed-
tion of one of the oldest characters of the Marvel universe that has finally compelled me
to sit up and take notice.
This is buoyed by a correct version of the story, starting in the present, then
going into flashback, an essential element for Captain America since he did originate in
World War 2. It simply would not have been right to awaken him in the 21st century with-
out expounding on how he came to be in the first place.
Through the enduring magic of CGI, Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers is a scrawny
90 pounder, absolutely determined to fight for his country and contribute something to
the war effort of 1942. He gets into fights with those he cannot win against and unlike his
friend, James “Bucky” Barnes, could not get a hot looking lady if his life depended on it.
And, no matter how many times he tries to get into the military, the doctors reject him.
Until he meets Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), formerly a scientist for Germany
and is part of the new “super soldier” program who has a sort of an altruistic attitude
toward Steve. He signs off on his physical, finally making Rogers an official sol-
dier in the U.S. Army.
Many actors could’ve played Steve’s first commander, Colonel Chet Phillips.
But veteran Tommy Lee Jones penchant for wise cracking cynicism made him perfect for
this part. To appease the good doctor Erskine, Phillips lets Rogers into his camp for
combat training despite his being skinny. Even when Rogers performs a self-less act of
courage, he’s still not impressed. He insists that there are men infinitely more qualified
than Rogers for the super soldier program.
With mentor like support from Erskine, Rogers takes the risk, and through
a “controlled” experiment in a secret lab, goes from short and scrawny to tall dark and
handsome with a major difference in muscle tone. However, his first foray into this new
life for Uncle Sam is not what he expects and it takes a little while before he can excer-
cise his true calling – being designed to fight the Germans.
Chris Evans, who also played Marvel’s Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four
may not have been the best choice for the role( there had been talk of Will Smith getting
it)). But he handles the character in such as classic way, you readily accept him without
any introspection on whether or not he should have been selected. As Captain America,
Evans helps you realize that he’s not perfect. He may be full bodied, but not flawless, a
point taken in one scene involving alcoholic beverages that quite funny.
There’s the obligatory love interest, Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter. She simply
cannot resist a fleeting touch of Rogers’ bulging chest when he emerges from the one
man chamber. You can already tell she’s falling for him. Business before pleasure though
as Peggy supports the Captain in everything he does, including a mission he’s not sup-
posed go on. She’s certainly not your ordinary female soldier, taking the same number of
risks as the guys in combat.
There’s also the obligatory bad guy, Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull. A
German rebel whose agenda for world domination may actually be more dangerous than
Hitler’s. Hugo Weaving embraces Schmidt with all the sadistic pleasure he used as the
multiplicative Agent Smith in The Matrix.
After a surplus of super hero fare firmly ensconced in our century, with all the
state-of-the-art tactics, Jumanji director Joe Johnston had the difficult task of taking the
elements above, matching them equally with the rest of the Marvel universe and main-
taining the integrity of the World War 2 era. It may not please all those modern day ac-
Tion loving movie goers, but it was definitely the right way to go a hero named after our