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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

tomatometer

79

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 222
Fresh: 175 | Rotten: 47

With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.

76

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 11

With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.

audience

74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 177,170

My Rating

Movie Info

Captain America: The First Avenger will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.) -- (C) Paramount

Oct 25, 2011

$176.6M

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (222) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (175) | Rotten (47) | DVD (17)

It doesn't try too hard for irony or style; the comic-book sensibility remains pure, square, and happily stupid.

August 1, 2011 Full Review Source: New Yorker | Comments (13)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pacy and punchy, but not quite a knockout.

July 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Comic book fans are likely to appreciate Captain America, which does a good job of consolidating the disparate origin aspects of the character into something easily digestible.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comments (9)
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie looks wonderful.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture | Comments (8)
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kudos, then, to the creators of Captain America's big-screen blockbuster for keeping the action rooted in the past; except for some brief present-day bookends.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The only problem is that we've been there -- been nearly everywhere Captain America goes -- in countless previous movies.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (23)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a cut above its lackluster Marvel brethren for most of its running time (if only because it primarily resembles an actual movie more than it does a collection of special effects sequences).

April 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The First Avenger is Marvel's strongest movie since Iron Man, but it's actually more of an old-fashioned WWII adventure than it is a typical superhero blockbuster.

March 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Flix Capacitor
Flix Capacitor

A lifeless and clichéd action film that never lives up to its title or its title characters' ideals.

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

It's difficult to dislike "Captain America" too much, because it's harmless and innocuous and, unlike almost every other tentpole summer movie, isn't secretly trying to give the audience a seizure.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

The result is fun and refreshingly retro.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

A whizz-bang, retro-futuristic adventure that mercifully eschews the brooding Dark Knight trend to offer an exhilarating thrill ride that perfectly captures the enduring optimism of the 1940s.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Captain America: The First Avenger is definitely the best superhero film of the year and it's one hell of a fun ride. This is a must see!

March 2, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

The real marvel of it all is how much fun it actually is.

December 28, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Even next to Thor, a movie about a space god with a magic hammer, Captain America: The First Avenger was always going to be one of Marvel's trickiest properties to do justice to.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source: TheShiznit.co.uk
TheShiznit.co.uk

"With arguably the best supporting cast of the bunch, a cut-and-dried hero's hero who isn't portrayed as some cornball cheesy and a direct lead in to 'The Avengers,' this is my favorite of the Avengers set ups."

May 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Lyles' Movie Files
Lyles' Movie Files

As good a film version as can be made in this day and age by unapologetically embracing the square do-gooder nature of the character and concept.

April 8, 2012 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

A slam-bang good time, Captain America: The First Avenger is one of Marvel's better efforts.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD
IGN DVD

What the film can never overcome, though it mightily tries via superior score, costumes, and atmosphere, is the inanity of its premise.

December 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

One of the banner comic book films of the year.

November 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

As the delightfully over-the-top Red Skull, Hugo Weaving has the most fun playing a noseless villain since Ralph Fiennes lopped his off as Voldemort.

October 26, 2011 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

Proves to be a riveting roller coaster ride from beginning to end, basically because it relies on a winning recipe featuring all the fixins needed to hold your undivided attention.

October 23, 2011 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze

Combines the right elements of brisk storytelling and light touches of comedy without resorting to gimmicks or bombast.

October 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Because of its period atmosphere and its successful combination of characterization and action, it tops my list of best superhero films of the year.

October 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

h omada toy Kapetanioy katafernei na swsei thn aksioprepeia ths, kyriws giati o skhnotheths petyxainei me tis camp eksarseis toy na xwsei ena kapoio epipedo aytosarkasmoy mesa sth sobarofaneia twn senariografwn

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Director Joe Johnston confidently walks the line between faithful comic-book iconography and contemporary action-movie splash.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

Audience Reviews for Captain America: The First Avenger

I totally misunderstood the whole plot and concept for this latest Marvel flick it seems. I kinda assumed it was set during WWII with the Cap becoming super and heroic then the film would move into the present and we would have him running around being all mighty in a hi-tech world...so completely wrong there then.

I must admit at first I was getting twitchy as the film was most definitely childish and along the lines of a live action videogame adaptation, but as the plot unfolded I did find myself enjoying the film a lot more. I think one reason I enjoyed the film is because it runs along the same kind of lines as 'Iron Man'. It does look good and it holds a slight sense of believability with its use of semi realistic technology (well it looks possible) over magic, sorcery and alien type characters etc...Its not an overly exaggerated fantasy in other words...unlike 'Thor' which is a completely different animal, certain aspects could be seen as more realistic.

Going back to my live action videogame adaptation notion, I firmly believe ideas may have been borrowed from the old videogame Wolfenstein. The troops of Hydra with their aggressive intimidating helmets and body armour, the flame thrower troops, certain sets, evil scientists, heavy metallic war machines etc...It was almost 'Wolfenstein: the Movie' but that ultra-tech Nazi combination always did have a powerful intriguing and exciting vibe about it.

I'm pretty sure in the original comics the Captain was actually fighting the Nazi's back in the day. I think that aspect was watered down to make this more easier going for younger viewers...I think, I'm not an expert on these matters. Shame really because it would have been much better with Nazi's, 'The Rocketeer' and Indy franchises both worked well battling against those naughty Germans.

That aside I think the development of the lead character 'Rogers' was excellent in this film (best yet), really brought out that classic 'can do' spirit that the allies had during the time with all the propaganda...posters, TV adverts, recruitment ads in cinemas etc...The film was really put together well in this aspect and did the period proud I think with accuracy and visual style. Also we don't just get an eight minute flashback history of how Rogers dons the suit, it takes most of the film to bring him around to that point, learning what he needs from experience in the field of combat whilst piecing together the suit and shield (with Stark). Most of the time he's actually in military uniform and only wears the suit for missions which is much more realistic as you would assume the Hollywood bigwigs would want him in it 24/7.

Again much like the other Marvel films the casting has been really good and elevated the film greatly with strong solid performances from Jones and Tucci adding the class. Evans actually is pretty good as the Captain and much more likeable than the cocky jock in 'Fantastic 4'. Weaving is piling on the bratwurst as 'The Red Skull' and doing it in his usual decent dastardly manner, Cooper makes a surprise success of Stark senior and finally Atwell is perfectly peachy as the love interest doing a far better job than Paltrow. Must add I loved Rogers hand picked team for his special missions, especially Neal McDonough's handlebar moustached bowler hat wearing tough guy. A really unique looking team of soldiers that kinda has a steampunk feel about them if you ask me, like something out of the classic videogame 'The Chaos Engine'.

So after the reasonable 'Thor' we are back on track with the Captain but one or two plot niggles bug me. What happened to Weaving at the end exactly? what was the cube thingy? what happened to the cube thingy? how exactly did The Red Skull manage to finance all those machines...win over so many men to be his soldiers presumably from the Third Reich and evade Hitler whom I'm sure would of been after him for deserting? And why did the serum do what it did to Schmidt?

Apart from that and some dodgy moments of bluescreen I did like the film. Its cool seeing all these Marvel films intertwine with each other...like the use of Stark senior. A thoroughly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek pulp magazine styled action fest with dashing heroes, caddish evil villains, damsels in distress and of course plenty of good old fashioned Americana.
August 6, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

This is the final film in the lead up to The Avengers, and I must say, I'm very happy to report that this one really delivers, and is possibly my favorite in the Marvel film canon so far.

It's kinda funny too, considering how as a kid I was never blown away by Captain America, and how during my cynical phase of my teenage years I rolled my eyes at the overload of patriotism and propaganda the character represented. I've matured though, and have learned to put things in their proper context. Yes, Captain America was definitely a product of the times during WWII, and yes, he was undeniably used as a tool (He punches Hitler on the cover of his very first issue, so yeah.) However, since then, the writer's seem to have done a good job of updating the character to fit the times, and have tweaked the patriotism and propaganda aspects accordingly.

Thankfully, Joe Johnston was able to surprise me with his directorial skills (the man has a very up and down track record), and he does an excellent job of handling the various facets of the character. It's all about context and tone, two very important things, and not just for filmmaking.

Steve Rogers starts out as a scrawny 90 pound asthmatic weakling, but, thanks to a special experimental government program, he's injected with a serum that turns him into an all American badass ready to do the bidding of the government, which, in the film, primarily concerns dealing with HYDRA, a radical, science based offshoot of the Nazis, and their leader Johann Schmidt, AKA the Red Skull, a twisted psycho hell bent on global domination.

The first half of this film is just top notch near brilliance. It handles all the backstory and "origin" elements with the perfect touch on all fronts. The montages where Captain America is used as a promotional propaganda tool/USO type of figure are just wonderful, and an absolute joy to watch, When the typical comic book type plot kicks in during the second half the film loses some steam, and isn't quite as fun, but it doesn't quite stumble enough to knock the film down totally. The actions scenes are good, and they are fun to watch, but the film feels more on auto pilot. That, and they way they handle the ending, particularly the last line, really sticks out to me, and not in a good way. But, the post credits teaser is good, so that makes up for it a bit.

As far as the production values go, this film is great. The period stuff looks really good, and blends with the futuristic, sci-fi comic elements better than I expected (again, Johnston has a mixed body of work). In a lot of ways, this felt like a slicker, stronger, and less hokey version of Johhnston's earlier film The Rocketeer, but still in the same ball park. The cinematography is quite good, the score (especially the musical numbers) is terrific, and the special effects, namely how they made Evans look like a weakling is unbelievably amazing. How they handled the look of the Red Skull is okay, but somewhat silly looking.

Now onto the casting and performances: I dug 'em. Chris Evans makes for a wonderful Steve Rogers, and his work here makes up for Fantastic Four. I used to not give him much credit as a performer, but somewhere along the line, something happened, and he managed to prove himself as someone with capability and talent. Hugo Weaving is okay, though unsurprising as the Red Skull. Tommy Lee Jones is in full Tommy Lee Jones mode, but he's still entertaining and has some of the more entertaining lines. Hayley Atwell manages to make something more out of what is usually an underused type of role, and that makes me happy. The film manages to make a genuine emotional connection work towards the end, and you actually care about her since they show her as more than eye candy. Stanley Tucci is great in his supporting role as the man who makes it all happen for Steve. Toby Jones is also nice as Schmidt's nerdy science lackey.

The only part of the casting that bugs me is how they handled the Howling Commandos- Cap's squad of soldiers. The casting is good, especially Neal McDonough as 'Dum Dum' Dugan (complete with trademark mustache and bowler), but they could have used more scenes and development, especially given the diversity of the group (including a token African American and a Japanese American). Yeah it's fun to see them kick ass, but in this day and age, it's harder to get by this sort of thing without an explanation. That's mostly just the intellectual in me complaining, but seriously, there's some great stuff there they could have addressed while still keeping the film a fun comic book movie.

All in all, this is a rip roaring, exciting, and super fun film filled with a good story, a great mix of humor, pathos, and action, and even a tad bit of substance. The film does start to lose some of its magic in the second half, but as someone who is a little leery when he's sees Johnston's name on a film, I was exceedingly happy and quite surprised with how well this turned out. There just may be hope for him as a director, yet.
April 6, 2014
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

In a summer filled with super heroes and sequels, there are a few movies that shine bright, and although it is not perfect, Captain America is among the top of the summer flicks so far. With an astonishing look into the 40's, director Joe Johnson really captures the atmosphere to perfection, along with most of the dialogue and costumes. This tells the story of an unlikely man who is too scronny and weak to be a recruit in the army, but as Stark Industries decides to test it's new invention on him, he is the first of a new breed of "super-soldier." He then becomes famous around the world as he gains the name "Captain America," on television and performing live for audiences; However, his fame ends when he takes it upon him self to leave camp and begin the war on his own. All hell breaks loose and the film becomes awesome. There really isn't a part of this film that I can refer to as brilliant filmmaking in any sense, but the fact that they capture the vision of Captain America, the action sequences and the acting so well, can speak for itself. Although, it does seem to jump from event to event too quickly and leaves you wondering if there should be something that's missing, I still had a great time watching this film. Marvel hit the slumps at the beginning of the summer, but it is now back on it's feet. Captain America: The First Avenger is pure popcorn greatness.
April 5, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Red Skull: You could have the power of the gods! Yet you wear a flag on your chest and think you fight a battle of nations! I have seen the future, Captain! There are no flags!
    2. Captain America/Steve Rogers: Not my future!
    – Submitted by Henry J (3 months ago)
    1. Gabe Jones: Wait. You know what you're doing?
    2. Steve Rogers/Captain America: Yeah. I've knocked out Adolf Hitler over 200 times.
    – Submitted by Richard B (23 months ago)
    1. Bucky Barnes: Remember when I made you ride the Cyclone at Coney Island?
    2. Steve Rogers/Captain America: Yeah, and I threw up?
    3. Bucky Barnes: This isn't payback is it?
    4. Steve Rogers/Captain America: Now why would I do that?
    – Submitted by Richard B (23 months ago)
    1. Captain America/Steve Rogers: Keep it steady!
    2. Peggy Carter: Wait! [kisses Steve] Go get him.
    3. Captain America/Steve Rogers: [looks surprised at Phillips]
    4. Colonel Chester Phillips: I'm not kissing you!
    – Submitted by Gabriel F (23 months ago)
    1. Peggy Carter: Get back here! We're taking you all the way in!
    2. Captain America/Steve Rogers: As soon as I'm clear, you turn this thing around and get the hell out of here!
    3. Peggy Carter: You can't give me orders!
    4. Steve Rogers / Captain America: The hell I can't! I'm a captain!
    – Submitted by Gabriel F (23 months ago)
    1. Dr. Abraham Erskine: Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows... compassion.
    – Submitted by Nishant V (24 months ago)
View all quotes (64)

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