If this is what you are looking for in an action super hero movie, then you have come to the right place because we’ve got Nazi’s (who doesn’t hate them?) and good old fashioned American Pride.
Steve Rogers is living during the heart of World War II. He sure doesn’t like the Nazi’s, and he’s got a whole lot of American Pride. There’s just one problem. Steve is no heavyweight champion. In fact, he weighs about 90 pounds, has toothpick arms, and boast an unimpressive 5’2” height. But what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in heart, determination, and courage. He is going to serve his country. He’s going to make a difference.
“I don’t want to kill anyone,” he say. Followed by, “But I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”
And that is what Steve lives by. This is also part of what makes Dr. Abraham Erskine (brilliant scientist) notice Steve. The man just won’t quit, even though no military doctor will pass him as fit for service. So Erskine doe more than that. He drafts Steve into classified government program designed to create chemically altered super-soldiers.
So why Steve? The guy can’t even bench press half his weight. To Erskine, that’s irrelevant. He needs a man of courage, determination- a man who has walked in the shoes of the oppressed and want to protect others from that evil. “The weak man knows the value of strength,” Erskine tells him. “And knows compassion.”
So, after proving his worth, Steve is subjected to a chemical experiment. Before the procedure begins, Erskine has one last talk with Steve. “Promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
The results of the procedure are shocking, especially to Steve. Instead of walking out of the tank in his 90 pound body, Steve emerges a foot taller sporting shoulders that have doubled in size. He looks like he can take on anything and anyone.
Good thing, too, because the Nazi’s want in on the secret super soldier serum. In fact, before anyone can even celebrate a spy breaks into the lab, kills Dr. Erskine, steals the formula, and leaves havoc in his wake. Steve manages to save the day, but the only vial of formula is compromised in the process, and the mastermind behind it is dead. All of that money and research results in just one super soldier. Steve.
Heroism seems to have died in the genre of action films, but with this movie we see it rise once more. Steve emulates obvious qualities of heroism and honor, and they didn’t start with his super human biceps. They started when he was a 90 pound “weakling” being bullied on the streets of Brooklyn. Everything that really made Steve heroic was already inside.
Steve doesn’t let his size discourage him. In fact, when we are introduced to Steve, he’s standing up to towering bullies. Not that he gets very far. As always, his friend hops onto the scene to get Steve out of trouble.
While undergoing military training Steve is put to the test. Erskine tosses what everyone thinks is a live grenade into the group of gathered soldiers. While the others pull back in fear, Steve throws himself over the grenade in an effort to save the others, yelling “stand back!”, once again portraying what real heroes are made of.
Sexual content is mild. There are a few scenes with dancing USO girls wearing skimpy sequined outfits. Steve is also given a rather passionate, and unsolicited, kiss by a female government official. Agent Peggy Carter, the only woman Steve has eyes for, also gives Steve a kiss by the end of the movie. There is a comment made about fondue, which Steve mistakes as a sexual reference. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Steve emerges from the chemical chamber shirtless, allowing us to fully witness his transformation.
Action hero movies wouldn’t be action hero movies without violence. That being said, Captain America is a war movie, so the violence is against Nazi people, as opposed to monsters or aliens, like many of the other Super Hero movies. There are explosions, fire, gun shots- everything that typically comes with the genre.
Steve doesn’t hesitate to kill the enemy, something which might bother certain audience members. The enemy is the enemy, and they are trying to harm innocent people. Body count in the movie is high, but the futuristic weapons used in the film allow for little gore.
The most disturbing portrayals of violence come from our villain. One time he guns down a civilian and blood splatters, an exit wound is showed in the man’s back.
Drugs are briefly seen when a spy bites into a vial filled with poison, foaming at the mouth as he dies. Some people would also argue that the chemicals used to inject Steve are drugs or steroids, and that is obviously a fair argument to make.
Alcohol is introduced when Erskine drinks some Schnapps the night before Steve’s big transformation, admitting later that he drank more than he should have. Steve commiserates his friend’s death in a bar, but learns that his regenerative body does not allow him to get drunk. There is also a bar scene with a group of soldiers.
Profanity seems to come with the hero turf now a day. I lost count how many times the h word was used. There is also a sprinkling of B,D, and A words. A British bloody is also used.
The only other negative elements worth noting are that Steve falsifies his records while trying to get in the army and later leaves base against orders. To be fair, Steve leaves in order to save 400 men from certain death and gives himself up for disciplinary action when all is said and done
Marvel has been pumping out movies recently, but none of their films have portrayed a man like Steve.
This film reminds us of what our country stands for; of what it is we love about America. It is a land of the brave, the home of the free, and consists of an unbreakable spirit that will not back down.
Steve is straight forward and to the point. He allows his actions to speak for him, just like this movie speaks for itself. While the movie has its issues, there is a goodness- a wholesomeness- to Captain America. Yes, there is war and devastation, but there is war and devastation around us today. Just flip on the news and look around you. What Captain America offers audiences is the unchanging truth that good men are still capable of great things. We are asked once again, if good men do nothing, will evil ultimately triumph in our world?