It's been a long time since I read the comic books, but having already seen--and thoroughly enjoyed--the Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man and Thor movie adaptations, I was looking forward to Captain America: The First Avenger. I was not disappointed.
I wondered how the chronology of Captain America would be handled, however. Since Cap was set during World War II and the other Avengers have all been set in the present, how would the filmmakers bring Cap to the present?
They did so quite effectively--but I'm getting ahead of myself here. Back to the beginning...and a scrawny, asthmatic Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, Fantastic Four) being rejected by the US Army. To add insult to injury--or maybe that should be the other way around in this case--after suffering another rejection, our hero gets the crap beat out of him by some bullies after leaving the recruiting office. Before too much damage can be done, the beatdown is interrupted by Steve's good friend James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, who has achieved Steve's dream. Right off, the strong bond between the two is established.
Through a chance meeting--or is it chance at all?--Steve meets Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who offers him his one chance to become a soldier. Steve is suspicious of the German scientist at first, but comes to understand and respect Erskine, who is head of the Army's super soldier experiment. Erskine has chosen Steve for that experiment. When Steve asks why, Erskine explains why he left his homeland and tells Steve of his one other attempt--and failure. He has chosen Steve for certain character traits that will enable him to use his newly-gained power for good.
Also participating in the experiment is a young Howard Stark (yep, Tony's dad--and Tony is definitely his father's son) and Peggy Carter, a woman ahead of her time: smart, tough, beautiful, and willing to break the rules when it becomes necessary.
Sorry--I just couldn't resist!
As the experiment is completed and Steve discovers the extraordinary physical changes he's undergone, a mole who has gained access to the lab starts shooting. One of his bullets hits Erskine. Steve sets out to catch the killer and discovers just how powerful he's become.
Erskine's death brings the super soldier experiment to a halt and leaves Steve little more than a symbol used to sell war bonds--until the notorious Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) takes a large number of American troops prisoner, including Bucky Barnes. Steve's search for Bucky leads him to a dramatic rescue of some four hundred men and his first confrontation with Red Skull, who has been using the Cosmic Cube, one of the treasures of Odin, to create superior weapons.
Long story short--or am I already too late for that? The next confrontation between Cap and Red Skull leads to Cap preparing to sacrifice his own life to save millions of others.
Unless you've been living on another planet for the past year or so, you already know that Cap will appear in The Avengers in 2012. How does he do it? How will he travel from the 1940s to the twenty-first century to join the other Avengers? How does he end up in Times Square with Nick Fury? And what of Red Skull and the Cosmic Cube? See Captain America: The First Avenger and find out!