Kevin watches the entire MCU - Captain America: The First Avenger
Watching the entire MCU is a massive undertaking, and one I'm starting here.
I’m taking on the tall task of watching the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order. That means every single film, television series, one shot short film, and even YouTube videos that take place in this universe. Though Iron Man was the first film released back in 2008, I opted to try for chronological order, meaning I began with Captain America: The First Avenger. Plus, it's a great way to look back on everything Disney and Marvel have accomplished with this endeavor over the past decade as the fourth Avengers movie is set to release next year.
Released in 2011, this film mostly takes place throughout the 1940s. It tells the story of Steve Rogers. He’s a scrawny dude from Brooklyn with a lot of heart. His introduction is well done in this movie. His very first scene shows him shirtless around a bunch of guys trying to get into the army. It shows us just how small he is compared to everyone else. It also made us sympathize with him, because he’s quickly cast aside due to his size. The very next scene involves him standing up to a jerk and taking a beating in an alleyway for it. Of course, this iconic scene sees Steve hold up a trash can lid like he would eventually hold his signature shield, but it also gives us the first, “I can do this all day.” It’s a masterful line that goes on to bookend the trilogy.
When I first saw this movie, I mentioned how the first two-thirds move kind of slowly. That’s still rather true, but it’s actually the most engaging part. Chris Evans, who is perfect in this role, has some standout scenes during this section. Along with the alley fight, he has two conversations that come to mind as being great. The first is with Stanley Tucci’s Abraham Erskine. It comes the night before he gets the super soldier serum and it’s full of exposition, but comes across in a natural way. The other is when Steve talks to Agent Carter in the cab. Evans and Hayley Atwell play well off each other. Steve comes across as awkward, yet adorable, and it’s just some great character stuff. Steve getting the flag during training and jumping on the grenade are both fantastic, as well.
One of the things I wanted to address in this watch through was the case of the villains. The MCU has suffered through some questionable bad guys in their history. Luckily, the Red Skull, played strongly by Hugo Weaving, is probably the strongest Phase 1 bad guy. His goal isn’t overly original, but he works as a good foil for Rogers. They’re both super soldiers, but one is pure good and the other is pure evil. Simple, yet effective. Unfortunately, their climactic battle falls kind of flat. It’s not bad, but it’s not memorable. I’ve been this movie several times and I almost never remember what happens in it.
There are some things that were cool to check out knowing what else goes down in the MCU. For example, getting to see the Tesseract/Soul Stone within minutes of watching the first film is cool. The same goes for Red Skull getting sucked into it and being sent to Vormir to guard the Soul Stone. I also enjoyed the early stages of the relationship between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. It’s done well, though not overly so. I would’ve liked a bit more between them. It would make the next installment even stronger.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about the very ending. Steve crashed the plane with the Tesseract to save millions and while he was going down, got Agent Carter to agree to go on a date with him. When he awakens from being frozen nearly 70 years later, he’s rightfully freaked out. Nick Fury, in his first chronological appearance, explains what happened and all we get from Steve is, “I had a date.” And then it cuts to black. Such a good ending. I kind of wish he never met up with old Agent Carter in later movies because it kind of takes away from this moment.
Ultimately, my rating of the movie stays the same as the last time I watched it. However, it’s for different reasons. I loved the very ending and have now turned around on how strong the first two-thirds are. The back third has fine action, it just isn’t memorable. There’s some CGI issues, which you don’t get often in MCU stuff as the effects usually work. But, Bucky’s “death” is laughably bad and skinny Steve is strange looking. Anyway, this was a great film. 8/10.