Captain America: The First Avenger

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Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. It is the fifth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Joe Johnston,[3] written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely,[4] and stars Chris Evans,[5]Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci. The film tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super soldier Captain America to help the war effort. However, Captain America must stop Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry and leader of a terrorist organization, who intends to use a mysterious tesseract energy-source for world domination.

Captain America: The First Avenger began as a concept in 1997 and was scheduled to be distributed by Artisan Entertainment. However, a lawsuit, not settled until September 2003, disrupted the project. After Marvel Studios received a grant from Merrill Lynch, the project was set up at Paramount Pictures. Directors Jon Favreau and Louis Leterrier were considered to direct the project before Johnston was approached in 2008. The principal characters were cast between March 2010, and June 2010. Production of Captain America: The First Avenger began in June 2010, and filming took place in London, Manchester and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and Los Angeles in the United States. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.[6]

Captain America: The First Avenger premiered in Hollywood on July 19, 2011, and was released in the United States on July 22, 2011.[7][8][9]

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a mysterious object with a red, white and blue motif. In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) and his men invade a castle in Tønsberg, Norway, to steal a mysterious tesseract which Schmidt calls "the jewel of Odin's treasure room." In New York City, Brooklyn native Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is rejected for World War II military duty as 4F for the fifth time. Rogers' friend, Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan), takes Rogers to the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibition, where Rogers slips into a recruitment center for another attempt at enlisting. When Barnes attempts to dissuade him, Rogers' fervent conviction about serving his country catches the ear of expatriate Bavarian scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who is with the U.S. government's Strategic Scientific Reserve. He recruits Rogers to a squad of soldiers at Camp Lehigh in New York state. There, under Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and SSR officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), one will be chosen as the first in a "super-soldier" experiment. Phillips suggests Gilmore Hodge (Lex Shrapnel), but an act of self-sacrificing bravery by Rogers convinces Erskine to use Rogers. In Europe, Schmidt and scientist Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) attempt to harness the power of the cube-like tesseract. Schmidt then kills a few Nazi officials when they learn Schmidt and his private group HYDRA are planning to take over every country in the world, including Nazi Germany.

Erskine tells Rogers about the super soldier serum he will be using, explaining that he used to work with Schmidt and he tested an original formula on Schmidt. However, as the serum had not been perfected, Schmidt experienced physical side effects. Also, the serum enhanced Schmidt's sinister nature and intentions, causing Erskine to flee to the United States. Erskine, having now perfected the serum, tells Rogers he was chosen because his weak physical nature has given him humility. In a secret lab behind a Brooklyn antique store, Erskine and others gather with military inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Senator Brandt (Michael Brandon) and U.S. State Department employee Fred Clemson as Rogers is given micro-injections of serum and then doused with what Erskine calls "vita-rays". Rogers emerges from a chamber tall and muscular — and his abilities are put to the test immediately when Clemson is exposed as assassin Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage) who kills Erskine. Rogers pursues Kruger in his car, but the spy flees to his submarine after Carter kills the driver. Rogers captures Kruger, but the spy commits suicide with a cyanide capsule.

With the experiment dead, Brandt has Rogers don a colorful costume for a gaudy War Bonds promotional stage show that leads to one unimpressed soldier audience in Italy, November 1943, jeering Rogers. When he hears Barnes is among a number of soldiers captured by Schmidt, Rogers convinces Carter and Stark to fly him behind enemy lines for a solo rescue mission. Breaking into what turns out to be a HYDRA base, he frees Barnes and the others, memorizes a map of HYDRA bases, and briefly confronts Schmidt, who reveals his true altered physical nature as the Red Skull. The Skull and Zola retreat, and Rogers returns the men to base, along with high-tech guns that use tesseract energy.

To destroy HYDRA's bases, Rogers recruits a team consisting of Barnes, Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan (Neal McDonough), and (unnamed except in the end-credits) Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James Montgomery Falsworth (J. J. Feild), and Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci). Adopting a circular shield made of a substance Stark calls vibranium, which absorbs vibrations, Rogers and his squad take out all but one base. Finally, Rogers and Barnes zipline onto a train transporting Zola; during the ensuing battle, Barnes falls to his death in a gorge.

Rogers, using information Phillips has gleaned from Zola, leads the commandos to the Skull's final redoubt. Rogers scrambles onto the Skull's jet as it takes off on a mission to obliterate the U.S. using the tesseract energy, and eventually confronts the Skull. The Skull attempts to use the tesseract but instead disintegrates into light that shoots into space. The tesseract melts through the plane and falls to Earth. Rogers, as Carter listens on radio, crashes the plane into the ocean to prevent it from reaching the United States. Shortly after, the Allies celebrate V-E Day. Carter, Stark, and Phillips manage to recover the tesseract, but are unable to locate Rogers.

In the present-day, Rogers awakens in a room designed to appear as if he were still in the early 1940s. Deducing the truth and escaping to Times Square, Rogers learns from S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that he has been asleep for nearly 70 years, and they had wanted to acclimate his reentry into modern times. Rogers' only response is a sorrowed statement that he is late for a dance he had promised to Carter nearly 70 years ago.

Cast

A sickly young man who is enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort.[10] Evans, who previously worked with Marvel as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four film series, said he declined the part three times before signing a six-picture deal with Marvel, explaining that, "At the time, I remember telling a buddy of mine, 'If the movie bombs, I'm fucked. If the movie hits, I'm fucked! I was just scared. I realized my whole decision-making process was fear-based, and you never want to make a decision out of fear. I can't believe I was almost too chicken to play Captain America".[11] He ultimately agreed to the role, saying, "I think Marvel is doing a lot of good things right now, and it's a fun character. ... I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He's a great guy. Even if it [were] just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it. So it wasn't necessarily about the comic itself."[12] Regarding the extent of the character's abilities Evans remarked, "He would crush the Olympics. Any Olympic sport he's gonna dominate. He can jump higher, run faster, lift stronger weight, but he can be injured. He could roll an ankle and be out for the season. He's not perfect, he's not untouchable. So a lot of the effects, if I'm going to punch someone they're not going to put them on a cable and fly them back 50 feet, but he's going to go down, probably not getting back up, which I think humanizes it. It makes it something that, again, I think everyone can relate to a little bit more, which I really like."[13]

In the early comics, Phillips recruited Steve Rogers to join Project Rebirth, the secret experiment that created the Super Soldier known as Captain America. The character was updated for the film.[14] Jones described his character as "the one you've seen in a thousand movies: the gruff, skeptical officer overseeing a team of talented, slightly sarcastic, specially talented soldiers".[15]

Captain America's nemesis and Adolf Hitler's head of advanced weaponry, whose own plan for world domination involves a magical object known as the Tesseract.[11][5][16][17] In the film, Red Skull is also the commander of the terrorist organization HYDRA.[18] Weaving stated that he patterned Red Skull's accent on those of Werner Herzog and Klaus Maria Brandauer.[19] About the character Weaving remarked, "I think the major difference between Skull and Cap, they've both had the serum, and the serum seems to augment certain qualities that each of them have. Cap is much more in tune with other people I think. Schmidt is in tune with himself, and his own needs, and his own ego, so I suppose it augments that. From that point of view, they're quite opposite."[20]

An officer with the Strategic Scientific Reserve and the love interest of Captain America. Regarding her preparation for the role, she said, "I'm training at the moment six days a week to make her a bit more military and make it convincing that I could kick butt."[21] About the character Atwell stated, "I likened her character to that famous Ginger Rogers quote. She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels. She's an English soldier through and through, although she always looks fabulous. She might stand there with a machine-gun shooting Nazis, but she's obviously gone to the loo beforehand and applied a bit of lipstick. She doesn't need to be rescued. That's exciting to me – her strength".[22] "I think she's quite stubborn, a slightly frustrated woman who struggles with being a woman in that time. But more importantly she's a modern woman and she sees something in Captain America that she relates to, and becomes kindred spirits. He treats her very differently to how she's been treated by lots of men, in this kind of dominated world she lives in. So she's very much a fighter."[23]

An orphan who befriends Captain America and becomes his sidekick. Stan has signed on for "five or six pictures".[24] Stan revealed that he didn't know anything about the comic books but watched a lot of documentaries and films about World War II in preparation for the role, calling Band of Brothers "very helpful". About the role, Stan stated, "Steve Rogers and Bucky are both orphans and kind of like brothers. They kind of grow up together and look after each other. It's a very human, relatable thing.... I also wanted to look out for how their relationship changes once Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. There's always a competition and they're always one-upping each other. I paid attention to how Bucky is affected by Steve's change and suddenly Steve is this leader".[25]

The father of Tony Stark, who worked on various government projects dating back to the World War II era.[26][27] Rogers, unsatisfied with his USO-issued Captain America costume, turns to Stark to design a sensible ensemble made of sophisticated fabrics.[28] About the role Cooper stated, "It's an opportunity where you can see his future because I know the guy who becomes my son and I see myself as an older version in Iron Man 2 which is great for an actor to have those tools. All I know of him is that he's a fantastic engineer and inventor and a very slick Howard Hughes type that's into aviation and women!"[29]

A member of Steve Rogers' squad of commandos. McDonough said he grew Dugan's trademark mustache and wore the character's signature bowler hat. About his role in film he remarked, "Oh, I'm going to see a lot of action. [I'm] the go-to guy, so I'm very happy with that".[30]

An African-American member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Luke said he was cast without a script or much of a description of the character. As to why he took the part, "I just believed that Marvel was doing some really great work, great messages in films. The good versus evil and I was just like, 'How can I be down?'"[31]

The scientist who created the Super Soldier Serum.[32] Tucci said that what drew him to the role was the opportunity to do a German accent, which was something he always wanted to try.[33]

A Japanese-American member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Choi said he was the last actor to audition for the part and that he read sides from Saving Private Ryan. About his preparation for the role, Choi said, "[I] did a lot of WWII research especially in regards to the "Nisei" soldiers, or Japanese-American soldiers. I wanted to get as much true, real-life information for a guy like Jim Morita fighting in WWII. I felt that if I had built a factual basis for him, I could then let go and permit the character to exist in the Marvel Universe, which allows for a lot of imaginative circumstances.[34]

A French member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Ricci auditioned for and got the part while filming the French series The Hawk.[35]

A British member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Feild called his part in the film "a very physical job. I play one of the Captain's sidekicks so I've been running around shooting things and blowing things up and trying to look cool for about a year."

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