Ahhhhhh, Captain America, the dreamy boy-next-door, the first Avenger, the underdog everyone fell in love with, the beard that launched a thousand ships.
Chronologically, Captain America was the beginning of this MCU adventure, and it’s the movie that launched the Agent Carter spinoff (#TeamCarter4Life). This movie was more of an emotional punch than we’d seen in the MCU up to this point. It had its fun moments, and Tommy Lee Jones was a comic gift, but on the whole this movie was engineered to attack your emotions. On one level, it brought the nostalgia, reminding audiences of a time when the source material was made popular. On another level OH GOD, CAP, PULL UP, YOU DON’T HAVE TO- *sobs*.
Captain America; the First Avenger is where shit got real. It was the first we’d seen of an infinity stone (before the majority of us even knew what an infinity stone was) and it set the MCU on the path towards The Avengers.
So let’s get to recappin’!
The movie opened in present day with a government team summoned to collect something found in an icy tundra. This probably should have been our first clue that this movie was going to punch our feelings to death.
But then we forgot all about that as we dove back to the 40s during World War II, and a very rude man (Schmidt, also known as Red Skull), was ruining someone’s night to steal a glowing blue Rubik’s cube.
This, as we now know, is the Tesseract, and it’s hella powerful (and also the Space Stone).
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, a short, skinny asthmatic hero was desperately trying to enlist in the army.
He was denied for a plethora of reasons, which bummed him out because he wanted to do his part for his country like everyone else he knows. Oh, and both his parents died in the war. You know, because he’s not already sympathetic enough.
Some 1940s version of a douche-bro was yelling during the war propaganda before a movie, and Steve gave him the ol’ what-for, and got beat up for his troubles. But look who stepped in!
Bucky! It’s Bucky, you guys! He’s an all-around nice fellow who has been Steve’s best pal for a very long time. He was shipping off to war the next day, which made Steve all the more anxious to go as well.
Doctor Stanley Tucci (Erskine) was creepin’ on their conversation, and decided to give Steve a morality test to see if he would be a good super soldier.
And so Steve was accepted into the army!
Meet Agent Peggy Carter. Agent of what, you ask? Why, the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve, a precursor to SHIELD). She is a queen, and she resides in my heart.
Colonel Phillips is a lovable grump who just wants a normal soldier-type for the super-soldier program. That is until he throws a dummy grenade into the gaggle of soldiers, and Steve is the one to throw himself on it to save everyone else.
So Steve was chosen, and given a charming pep talk about why he was chosen from Dr. Stanley Tucci that boiled down to; “you’re not a douche.” He also mentioned some Nazi soldier who underwent the same treatment, and how he WAS a douche, so it went badly. And Steve was like, ‘does this seem like the right time to tell me about how this experiment once went horribly wrong?” (in my head) and Stanley Tucci was like, “I’m sorry, the audience needed to know,” (also in my head).
Steve was having nice talks all over the place! He and Peggy discussed the merits not giving up, and also of waiting for the right dance partner, and Peggy was ABOUT IT.
They went to the super secret SSR facility and met Howard Stark, who was exactly how you’d expect Tony’s dad to be (a charming flirtatious genius). And then THIS happened…
Success! It sounded like it hurt a whole lot, but Steve soldiered through (yes, that was a pun, love me for me), and was Captain-America-ified. Then a hydra agent stole the serum and ran off, killing Doctor Stanley Tucci, which means he and Steve can never have that drink together, and now I’m upset. Oh, and the serum can’t be replicated, that part is a bummer too, I guess.
Peggy (😍) shot his driver and Steve ran after him with his newly Captain-America-ified body, jumping over cars, dodging bullets, and punching through submarines.
You know when people are dehydrated and that weird gross white goop forms at their lips? That’s what this scene made me think of, and I legit gagged. Anyway, this guy was all, “Hail Hydra! See you never!” and Steve was like, “????” but that didn’t really matter short-term, because the last of the super-soldier serum was smashed, and Steve was out of a job.
Steve was recruited to do shows in order to raise money for the war effort, but even though he got to punch Hitler in the face every night, he wasn’t exactly having the greatest time. The soldiers he was there to entertain were NOT having it.
Peggy gave him a pep talk about having more options than lab rat vs. dancing monkey, then she happened to mention who he was there ‘entertaining’, and wouldn’t you know it – it was Bucky’s unit! Bucky himself was missing behind enemy lines along with a whole whack of allied soldiers. Cap was all, “let me save them!” and Colonel Phillips was all, “nuh uh!”, so Steve had to go behind his back like a cheeky, heroic little gremlin.
Meanwhile, Schmidt got a visit from some of Hitlers goons, who were none too impressed by his progress.
These guys were all, “shut it down, Hitler is pissed,” and Schmidt was like, “I politely decline,” and by ‘politely decline’, I mean he poofed them to death with a Tesseract-powered ray-gun. It was very rude!
Peggy enlisted Howard to fly them into enemy airspace in order to help Steve with his heroing, but they started to get fired at and Steve jumped out early. What followed was a very Pink-Pantheresque sneak-around with Steve quietly taking out Nazis and busting soldiers out of camp.
The freed soldiers started a riot while Steve went in search of his very best bud, who he found lazing about in a lab like a bum.
It seemed they were doing some sort of experimenting on Bucky, but I’m sure it’s fine.
Schmidt saw Steve over the cameras and was all, “ugh, this is so annoying, I JUST decorated,” and then blew up the facility so they wouldn’t know what was in there (little did he know Steve grabbed a Tesseract-powered gadget for later study.)
Schmidt and Steve had a face-to-face where Schmidt tried to tell Steve to buzz off forever, and Steve just rolled his eyes, and then Schmidt and Doctor Zola escaped.
Steve was getting Bucky out, but then the fire raged on and the beam broke, and Steve was all, “get out of here!” and Bucky was all, “Not without you!” and then Steve yelled, “I love you and I respect your decisions!” and Bucky yelled back, “I have always admired you and I strive to be more like you,” and Steve was like, “k back up, here I come,” and Bucky was like, “I support you in whatever endeavor you may embark on!” (I may be paraphrasing) Cap jumped and the screen filled with flame and we didn’t know whether or not he survived (LOL).
Colonel Tommy Lee Jones is now #TeamCap and it is VERY CUTE.
Steve needed a new shield, so Howard Stark made him some, but then Steve was all, “what about this obviously superior one?” and Howard was like, “naw, that’s not available,” and Steve was like, “but it’s cannon,” and Howard was like, “so it is.” Then Peggy tested it out by shooting at him because he kissed another girl (Natalie Dormer!), which was fun, but a bit icky thematically.
Because Steve got a look-see at a map of other hydra bases, he was given permission to put a team together and go stir some shit up. And stir shit up they did! Hydra bases were getting their asses whooped all over the dang place, and Red Skull was not pleased.
After Cap and the Howling Commandos finished up their montage of fighting evil (where it was shown that Cap keeps a picture of Peggy in his compass, awwwww), they decided to attack a train to capture Red Skull’s number one inventor and best friend forever, Doctor Zola. They succeeded, BUT AT WHAT COST???
This was very, very sad. Goodbye forever, Bucky! *wink*
To cheer Steve up, Tommy Lee Jones ate a steak and got all the information from Zola so they could go stop Red Skull / save the world / get revenge / look cool.
Red Skull took off in a comically large plane to drop Tesseract-powered bombs on major cities (world domination is a lot of work), but Steve wasn’t having that. After a smooch with Peggy (hubba hubba), he hopped onto the plane, had a scuffle with some hydra minions where he got to RIDE A BOMB (haha), then confronted Red Skull and politely asked him to quit it.
Cap knocked the Tesseract off it’s cute little holder and Schmidt picked it up, only to be swallowed by the energy and sent we know not where. *wink*
Thing is, the plane still had bombs, and there wasn’t a way to land it safely without straight-up vaporizing a shit-ton of people, so Steve did the only thing he could.
This also was very very sad. Everyone listening knew he was about to die. Peggy knew. Steve knew. And he brought the plane down into the ice anyway, saving millions, sacrificing himself. Ugh man, it STILL GETS ME, even if this IS one of the biggest plot holes in the MCU. Why didn’t Cap just parachute out? Why not eject the bombs? Why didn’t he ride one of the bomb-planes to safety? Why not tuck and roll at the last minute? The Avengers, that’s why. Whatever. It meant more Cap in further movies, so I ain’t mad (except I kind of am).
Welcome to 2011, Cap!
And there we go! The post credits scene was basically a trailer for The Avengers, which is fine. I remember being VERY pumped for that movie, so I wasn’t mad.
How ARE you guys??? This movie was all, “oh, you’re here for some action and comedy? Hahahahhaha, idiots.” Yes, there was action. Yes, there was comedy. But overall this movie was about grounding the MCU in emotions, and boy howdy did it EVER.
It showed us selfless heroism, it showed us the horrors of war, it showed us how relationships are forged in the heat of battle, it showed us abs, and it showed us the absolute comic genius of Tommy Lee Jones.
This was an important movie in the MCU, and might I say, my favourite thus far (yes, yes, I know, my love for RDJ should cancel that out, but the heart does what it does!)
- My crush on Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter remains at optimum levels. And while I am a fan of all the Chrises, I must admit Kaitlin Thomas is correct in that Chris Evans is the best Chris.
- “So many people forget that the first country the Nazi’s invaded was their own.” Put Stanley Tucci in all the things, please.
- Total assist by the kid that was thrown into the water by the hydra agent. “Go get him, I can swim!”
- The events of Steve Roger’s life are very sad in general, and they never stop being sad. Ever.
- Did he seriously just wake up after 70 years and NOT immediately go to the bathroom??? If you woke up after 70 years, would that be the first thing you did? Do you immediately go to the bathroom upon waking after one single night? If not, are you a cyborg, and how did you get to be this way?
- The shot of the Howling Commandos mourning their friend as everyone else celebrated the win, MY HEART JUST CAN’T, YOU GUYS. Are any Howling Commandos still alive? Do you think Steve visits their old age homes and shoots the shit about old times?
- Are you guys watching these movies with me? I’ve never watched them all back-to-back before (because there’s 20 of them and that is madness), but this is fun!
- A few people have asked about the Bechdale Test, and how the MCU fares. Here’s the breakdown; the test doesn’t measure feminism, it simply measures if women are represented. Rule 1) there has to be at least 2 named female characters. Rule 2) Those characters have to talk to each other. Rule 3) The conversation has to be about something other than a man. That’s it! Sounds easy, right? From now on, I’ll put a note in this section to see how many of the MCU movies pass. So far:
- Iron Man – not quite – the conversation between Pepper and Christine (reporter) is about Tony.
- Incredible Hulk – HARD NO
- Iron Man 2 – Yes, it gets by on a brief business interaction between Pepper and Nat.
- Thor – Yep! Darcy and Jane, nerd brigade.
- Captain America – sadly no, even though it introduces the love of my life Agent Peggy Carter.
That’s it from me!