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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

MCU Crossover Series - Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Co-Host: Adam Hitchcock, The Streaming Circuit podcast


  • Joe Johnston, Director

  • Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Screenplay

  • Alan Silvestri, Score

  • Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America

  • Tommy Lee Jones as Chester Phillips

  • Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt / Red Skull

  • Hayley Atwell as Margaret "Peggy" Carter

  • Sebastian Stan as James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes

  • Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark

  • Toby Jones as Arnim Zola

  • Neal McDonough as Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan

  • Derek Luke as Gabe Jones

  • Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine

Budget: $140 million

Box Office and Ranking:

  • 30th out of 31 current MCU films

  • Worldwide box office: $370.6 million

  • Total domestic box office: $176.7 million

  • Domestic opening weekend: $65 million

Critic Scores:

  • RT: 80%

  • Metacritic: 66

  • Letterboxd: 3.2/5

Plot Summary: In a world bruised by the battle scars of World War II, "Captain America: The First Avenger" emerges as a stirring tale of valor, resilience, and the enduring power of the human spirit. Set against the backdrop of a globe overshadowed by the sinister rise of HYDRA, a nefarious organization, this film unfurls as a beacon of hope in the darkest hours.

Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), an ordinary man with an extraordinary heart. Hindered by physical limitations that have barred his entry into the armed forces, Steve's indomitable spirit becomes his greatest asset. The film weaves a captivating narrative of Steve's journey – from a selfless soldier-in-the-making to a beacon of hope for the free world. His bond with Peggy Carter adds a touch of romance amidst the explosions and espionage. Their chemistry dances delicately through the fog of war, allowing love to flourish amid the battlefield's brutality.

Director Joe Johnston skillfully orchestrates a cinematic symphony of heart-pounding action sequences and intimate character moments. The film's sepia-toned palette transports audiences to a bygone era, yet its emotional resonance is timeless. A tug-of-war between heroism and villainy ensues, culminating in a final showdown aboard a skybound vessel – a striking metaphor for the battleground of ideals that war encompasses.

Did You Know?:

  • Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) surprisingly touching Chris Evans' chest, as he emerged from the pod upon turning into Captain America, was very much improvised, and the surprise on her face is genuine, as she admitted in interviews she was very taken by Chris' physique and nearly broke character and ruined the take that made it into the film as a result.

  • Most of the shots in the film were done by a Los Angeles company called LOLA, that specializes in digital "plastic surgery". The technique involved shrinking Chris Evans in all dimensions. They shot each "skinny Steve" scene at least four times. Once like a normal scene with Evans and his fellow actors and actresses in the scene, once with Evans alone in front of a greenscreen, so his element could be reduced digitally, again with everyone in the scene but with Evans absent, so that the shrunken Steve could be re-inserted into the scene, and finally, with a body double mimicking Evans' actions in case the second technique was required. When Evans had to interact with other characters in the scene, they had to either lower him or raise the other actors and actresses on apple boxes, or elevated walkways to make "skinny Steve" shorter in comparison. For close-ups, Evans' fellow actors and actresses had to look at marks on his chin that represented where his eyes would be after the shrinking process, and Evans had to look at marks on the tops of the actor's head to represent their eyes. The second technique involved grafting Evans' head onto the body double. This technique was used mostly when Evans was sitting or lying down, or when a minimum of physical acting was required.

  • Chris Evans declined the role three times before accepting the part. Not out of dislike for the role, but because he feared what the effects of the sudden increase of fame would be on his private life. Then Robert Downey Jr. convinced him to take the part, and thus gain the freedom to sign on any other role he'd want afterwards.

  • H.Y.D.R.A.'s futurist aircraft take their designs from actual World War II German concepts such as the Horten H.XVIII flying wing bomber and Triebflügeljäger fighter plane.

  • Shields made of different materials were used depending on what was needed for the shot. Rubber shields were used for when Captain America punches people with it. For scenes where he put the shield on his back, magnets were used to keep it in place. In many of the scenes where he is seen throwing the shield, Chris Evans would mime out the actions of catching and throwing the shield, with the shield being added later, using CGI.

Best Villian: Hydra/Red Skull

Best Love Interest: Peggy Carter (100% chance)

Best Sidekick: Bucky Barnes (75% chance)

Best Scene:

  1. Transformation

  2. Rescuing the 107th

  3. Stopping Schmidt

  4. Boot Camp

  5. World's Fair

Best Lines:

Abraham Erskine: Do you want to kill Nazis?

Steve Rogers: Is this a test?

Abraham Erskine: Yes.

Steve Rogers: I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from.

Abraham Erskine: So many people forget that the first country the Nazis invaded was their own.

Steve Rogers: I'm gonna need a rain check on that dance.

Peggy Carter: All right. A week next Saturday at The Stork Club.

Steve Rogers: You've got it.

Peggy Carter: Eight o'clock on the dot. Don't you dare be late. Understood?

Steve Rogers: You know, I still don't know how to dance.

Peggy Carter: I'll show you how. Just be there.

Steve Rogers: We'll have the band play something slow.

Red Skull: Arrogance may not be a uniquely American trait, but I must say, you do it better than anyone.

Peggy Carter: You can't give me orders!

Steve Rogers: The hell I can't! I'm a Captain!

Howard Stark: The moment you think you know what's going on in a woman's head is the moment your goose is well and truly cooked.

Steve Rogers: I can go all day. (100%)

The Stan Lee Rubric:

Legacy: 6.5

Impact/Significance: 6.25

Novelty: 5.75

Classic-ness: 7

Rewatchability: 7.5

Audience Score: 7.9 (83% Google, 75% RT)

Total: 40.9

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