Captain America: The First Avenger

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Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America The First Avenger poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Johnston
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely
Based on Captain America 
by Joe Simon
Jack Kirby
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Shelly Johnson
Edited by Jeffrey Ford
Robert Dalva
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures[a]
Release dates
  • July 19, 2011 (2011-07-19) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • July 22, 2011 (2011-07-22) (United States)
Running time 124 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $140 million[5]
Box office $370.6 million[6]

Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures.[a] It is the fifth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Joe Johnston, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci. Set predominantly during World War II, the film tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super-soldier Captain America to aid in the war effort. Rogers must stop the Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry and the leader of an organization that intends to use an artifact called the "Tesseract"[b] as an energy-source for world domination.

Captain America: The First Avenger began as a concept in 1997 and was scheduled for distribution by Artisan Entertainment. However, a lawsuit, not settled until September 2003, disrupted the project. In 2005, Marvel Studios received a loan from Merrill Lynch, and planned to finance and release it through Paramount Pictures. Directors Jon Favreau and Louis Leterrier were interested in directing the project before Johnston was approached in 2008. The principal characters were cast between March and June 2010. Production of Captain America: The First Avenger began in June 2010, and filming took place in London, Manchester, Caerwent, and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and Los Angeles in the United States. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.

Captain America: The First Avenger premiered in Hollywood on July 19, 2011, and was released in the United States on July 22, 2011. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing over $370 million worldwide. The Blu-ray and DVD were released on October 25, 2011. A sequel titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released on April 4, 2014, and a third film titled Captain America: Civil War is scheduled to be released on May 6, 2016.

Plot[edit]

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a frozen circular object with a red, white, and blue motif in the cockpit of a derelict aircraft.

In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt and his men enter the town of Tønsberg in German-occupied Norway, to steal a mysterious device called the Tesseract,[b] which possesses untold powers. Meanwhile, in New York City, Steve Rogers is rejected for World War II military recruitment because of various health and physical problems. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, Rogers again attempts to enlist. Overhearing Rogers' conversation with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited into the Scientific Strategic Reserve as part of a "super-soldier" experiment under Erskine, Col. Chester Phillips, and British agent Peggy Carter. Phillips is unconvinced by Erskine's claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure but relents after seeing Rogers commit an act of self-sacrificing bravery. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Schmidt underwent an imperfect version of the procedure and suffered permanent side-effects.

Back in Europe, Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola harness the energies of the Tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola's inventions, mounting an offensive that will change the world. Schmidt discovers Erskine's location and dispatches an assassin to kill him. In the U.S., Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with "vita-rays". After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and more muscular, one of the attendees kills Erskine, revealing himself to be Schmidt's assassin, Heinz Kruger. Rogers pursues and captures Kruger, but the assassin avoids interrogation by committing suicide by cyanide capsule.

With Erskine dead and his super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as "Captain America" to promote war bonds, rather than allow scientists to study him and attempt to rediscover the formula. In 1943, while on tour in Italy performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes's unit was MIA in a battle against Schmidt's forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt's Hydra organization, freeing Barnes and the other prisoners. Rogers confronts Schmidt, who removes his mask, revealing a red, skull-like visage that earned him the sobriquet "the Red Skull". Schmidt escapes and Rogers returns to base with the freed soldiers.

Rogers recruits Barnes, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier to attack other known Hydra bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, most notably a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nearly indestructible metal. Rogers and his team sabotage various Hydra operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola. Rogers and Jones succeed in capturing Zola, but Barnes falls from the train to his assumed death.[c] Using information extracted from Zola, the final Hydra stronghold is located, and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using weapons of mass destruction on American cities and soon other major cities across the globe. Rogers climbs aboard Schmidt's aircraft as it takes off. During the subsequent fight, the Tesseract's container is damaged. Schmidt physically handles the Tesseract, causing him to dissolve in a bright light. The Tesseract falls to the floor, burning through the plane and falling to Earth. Seeing no way to land the plane without the risk of detonating its weapons, Rogers crashes it in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the Tesseract from the ocean floor but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft, presuming him dead.

Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing from an anachronistic radio broadcast that something is wrong, he flees outside and finds himself in present-day Times Square, where S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury informs him he has been "asleep" for nearly 70 years. In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers, proposing a mission with worldwide ramifications.

Cast[edit]

A frail, sickly young man who is enhanced to the peak of human ability 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 f—-ed [sic]. If the movie hits, I'm f—-ed!' 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] Theater actor Leander Deeny was the body double in some shots for Steve Rogers' pre-transformation physique as well as appearing as a bartender.[14][15]
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.[16] 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".[17]
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][18][19] In the film, Red Skull is the commander of the terrorist organization Hydra.[20] Weaving stated that he patterned Red Skull's accent on those of Werner Herzog and Klaus Maria Brandauer.[21] 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."[22]
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."[23] 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".[24] "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."[25]
Steve Rogers' best friend. Stan has signed on for "five or six pictures".[26] He 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".[27]
The father of Tony Stark, who worked on various government projects dating back to the World War II era.[28][29] Rogers, unsatisfied with his USO-issued Captain America costume, turns to Stark to design a sensible ensemble made of sophisticated fabrics.[30] 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!"[31]
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."[32]
A 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?'"[33]
The scientist who created the Super Soldier Serum.[34] 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.[35]
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."[36]
A French member of Rogers' squad of commandos. Ricci auditioned for and got the part while filming the French series The Hawk.[37]
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."[38]

Additionally, Toby Jones was cast as Arnim Zola, a biochemist for the Nazi party.[39] Richard Armitage portrays Heinz Kruger, the Red Skull's top assassin.[40] Natalie Dormer portrays Private Lorraine, a soldier who attempts to seduce Rogers.[41] Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, the director of the super-spy agency, S.H.I.E.L.D.[42] Stan Lee has a cameo appearance as a general.[43]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

"He [Captain America] wants to serve his country, but he's not this sort of jingoistic American flag-waver. He's just a good person. We make a point of that in the script: Don't change who you are once you go from Steve Rogers to this super-soldier; you have to stay who you are inside, that's really what's important more than your strength and everything... It's also the idea that this is not about America so much as it is about the spirit of doing the right thing. It's an international cast and an international story. It's about what makes America great and what make the rest of the world great too."

—Joe Johnston, director of Captain America: The First Avenger, about the film.[44]

In April 1997, Marvel was in negotiations with Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn to produce Captain America, and Larry Wilson and Leslie Bohem were set to write a script.[45] In May 2000, Marvel teamed with Artisan Entertainment to help finance the film.[46] However, a lawsuit arose between Marvel Comics and Joe Simon over the ownership of Captain America copyrights, disrupting the development process of the film. The lawsuit was eventually settled in September 2003.[47] In 2005, Marvel received a $525 million investment from Merrill Lynch, allowing them to independently produce ten films, including Captain America. Paramount Pictures agreed to distribute the film.[46][48][49] Originally, the film would stand alone; producer Kevin Feige said "about half" the movie would be set during World War II before moving into the modern day.[50] Producer Avi Arad said, "The biggest opportunity with Captain America is as a man 'out of time', coming back today, looking at our world through the eyes of someone who thought the perfect world was small-town United States. Sixty years go by, and who are we today? Are we better?" He cited the Back to the Future trilogy as an influence, and claimed he had "someone in mind to be the star, and definitely someone in mind to be the director".[51] In February 2006, Arad hoped to have a summer 2008 theatrical release date.[52] Jon Favreau approached Arad to direct the film as a comedy, but he chose to make Iron Man instead.[53] In April 2006, David Self was hired to write the script.[54] He explained that Captain America was his favorite superhero as a child because "my dad told me I could one day be Captain America".[55] Joe Johnston met with Marvel to discuss directing the film.[56]

Captain America was put on hold during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. However, in January 2008, Marvel Entertainment reached an interim comprehensive agreement with the Writers Guild of America that would put writers immediately back to work on various projects that were under the company's development.[57] On May 5, 2008 (after the success of Iron Man), Marvel announced the film The First Avenger: Captain America (the working title) for release in May 6, 2011 (before being pushed back to July 22).[58] Louis Leterrier, director of The Incredible Hulk, viewed some of the concept art being created for the film and was impressed enough to offer his services, but Marvel turned him down.[59] Johnston finally signed on in November 2008,[56] and he hired Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to rewrite.[60] Feige cited Johnston's directorial work on October Sky and The Rocketeer and his special effects work on the original Star Wars trilogy to explain why he was an appropriate choice. Raiders of the Lost Ark was an influence on the film, because they hoped the film would not feel like a period piece.[61]

When asked whether anti-US sentiments would affect the film's box office, Feige said, "Marvel is perceived pretty well around the world right now, and I think putting another uber-Marvel hero into the worldwide box office would be a good thing. ... We have to deal with much the same way that Captain America, when thawed from the Arctic ice, entered a world that he didn't recognize," similar to the way Stan Lee and Jack Kirby reintroduced the character in the 1960s.[50] Likewise, Arad noted, "Captain America stands for freedom for all democracies, for hope all around the world. He was created to stop tyranny and the idea of stopping tyranny is important today as it was then. So I think that we will have some interesting challenges but at the end of the day if the movie is terrific and the movie talks to the world, it's not about one place, it's about the world and I think [on] that basis it will be very successful."[62] Later, after the election of US President Barack Obama, Feige commented, "The idea of change and hope has permeated the country, regardless of politics, and that includes Hollywood. Discussions in all our development meetings include the Zeitgeist and how it's changed in the last two weeks. Things are being adjusted".[63]

Pre-production[edit]

Johnston at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.

In December 2009, director Joe Johnston indicated that he planned to start filming in April 2010.[64] In a separate interview that month, he described the film's pre-production: "Rick Heinrichs is production-designing and we're set up down in Manhattan Beach, California. ... We have eight or ten really talented artists, and we all just sit around all day and draw pictures and say, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we could do this?' It's that phase of the production where money doesn't matter: 'Let's put all the greatest stuff up on the wall and [then later] see what we can afford.'" The film, he said, will begin "in 1942, 1943" during World War II. "The stuff in the '60s and '70s [comic books] we're sort of avoiding. We're going back to the '40s, and then forward to what they're doing with Captain America now."[65] In February 2010, Johnston stated that the Invaders will appear in "the entire second half" of the film,[66] leading fans to speculate this was the World War II-era Marvel superhero team of that name,[67] and in November Johnston refuted speculation that the Sub-Mariner, an Invaders team-member in the comics, would be included.[68] Johnston later explained that "the Invaders" had been discussed simply as a possible name for the squad of commandos Captain America leads in the film.[67] Christopher Markus, one of the screenwriters, said the unnamed group was "called the Howling Commandos in the script, but no one says that out loud."[67]

The design as a whole tried to create technology that could be built in the 1940s, though with the added Cube technology in Hydra's case. Abandoned Nazi projects or actual vehicles from the period were used as inspiration. Daniel Simon, who was previously responsible for many vehicle designs in TRON: Legacy,[69] was appointed Lead Vehicle Designer.[70] Director Johnston cited Simon's book Cosmic Motors as a reason to trust his influence, saying "he's sort of the guy I wanted to be when I was designing stuff for Star Wars".[71] The Red Skull's car, for instance, was based on two Mercedes-Benz vehicles from the 1930s, the 540K and the G4.[70]

Variety reported in March 2010 that Chris Evans was cast as Captain America and Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull;[18] Marvel Studios confirmed the latter in May.[72] Ryan Phillippe and John Krasinski were also considered for the role of Captain America.[73] In April 2010, Sebastian Stan, who had been mentioned in media accounts as a possibility for the title role, was cast as Bucky Barnes. Stan is contracted for multiple films.[26] Also in April, it was announced that Hayley Atwell had been cast as Peggy Carter, and that the film's name had been changed from The First Avenger: Captain America to Captain America: The First Avenger.[74] The next day it was reported that Joss Whedon would be rewriting the script as part of his negotiation to write and direct The Avengers. Whedon said in August, "I just got to make some character connections. The structure of the thing was really tight and I loved it, but there were a couple of opportunities to find his voice a little bit —and some of the other characters' — and make the connections so that you understood exactly why he wanted to be who he wanted to be. And progressing through the script to flesh it out a little bit".[75] Samuel L. Jackson revealed in an interview that he would reprise his role as Nick Fury in the film.[42]

In May, Toby Jones entered final negotiations to play Arnim Zola.[39] Iron Man director Jon Favreau said a younger Howard Stark would appear in the film, played by Dominic Cooper.[28][29] Atwell revealed that Tommy Lee Jones would have a role in the film.[76] By June, Neal McDonough was in talks to play Dum Dum Dugan.[77] Four days later, he confirmed he was taking the part.[78] The same day, Stanley Tucci joined the cast as Dr. Abraham Erskine, the scientist who created the super-soldier serum.[34] In November 2013, McDonough revealed that he is signed to appear in multiple projects for Marvel, not limited to films.[79]

Filming[edit]

Photo taken in Manchester on the set of Captain America: The First Avenger.

Production began on June 28, 2010.[80] On the same day, Marvel confirmed that Tommy Lee Jones had been cast to play US Army Colonel Chester Phillips.[16] The next day Marvel confirmed that Dominic Cooper would portray the younger version of Howard Stark, the character played by John Slattery in Iron Man 2.[81] It was announced that the film would shoot in London in late July and was expected to include scenes featuring key London landmarks.[82] War scenes were filmed in September at the former Royal Navy Propellant Factory in the Welsh village of Caerwent.[83][84] Filming was scheduled to take place that month in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, where parts of the 2004 film Alfie and the 2009 Sherlock Holmes had been shot,[85] followed by the Stanley Dock area of Liverpool, both doubling for the period's Lower East Side of Manhattan.[86] Further scenes were scheduled to be shot in Liverpool's Albert Dock.[87] Johnston included a scene of a technology fair that includes in passing a display case containing the 1940s android superhero known as the original Human Torch, another character, like Captain America, in comics published by Marvel Comics' predecessor, Timely Comics.[88]

In July 2010, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said that both this film and Thor would be released in 3-D.[89] Johnston did a one-day test shooting with a 3-D rig, rather than shooting in 2-D and converting, and found it "a nightmare" due to bulky gear, calibration issues and restricted filmmaking options. Nevertheless, he said he believes 3-D is "a new challenge and it's exciting". Feige insisted that the conversion would not compromise the film's image quality, as the decision to release the film in 3-D was made early in development, and that "an unprecedented amount of time" would be devoted to the conversion process, to render all the film's visual effects in true 3-D.[89]

Post-production[edit]

Evans as pre-serum Steve Rogers before (top) and after (bottom) he was visually reduced.

In November 2010, Stanley Tucci stated that he had completed filming his scenes and that the rest of the production would wrap in about three weeks.[90] In February 2011, it was announced that Alan Silvestri had been chosen to compose the film score.[91] In March 2011, CraveOnline reported that Captain America: The First Avenger would be undergoing reshoots in the United Kingdom and in Los Angeles in April 2011.[92][93] A scene was also filmed in New York City's Times Square on April 23, 2011.[94]

The film features nearly 1,600 visual effects shots, which were split between thirteen different companies.[95] To achieve the appearance of the skinny, pre-serum Steve Rogers, director Joe Johnston stated that he used two major techniques:

Most of the shots were done by an L.A. company called LOLA that specializes in digital "plastic surgery." The technique involved shrinking Chris in all dimensions. We shot each skinny Steve scene at least four times; once like a normal scene with Chris and his fellow actors in the scene, once with Chris alone in front of a green screen so his element could be reduced digitally, again with everyone in the scene but with Chris absent so that the shrunken Steve could be re-inserted into the scene, and finally with a body double mimicking Chris's actions in case the second technique were required. When Chris had to interact with other characters in the scene, we had to either lower Chris or raise the other actors on apple boxes or elevated walkways to make skinny Steve shorter in comparison. For close-ups, Chris' fellow actors had to look at marks on his chin that represented where his eyes would be after the shrinking process, and Chris had to look at marks on the tops of the actor's head to represent their eyes. ... The second technique involved grafting Chris's head onto the body double. This technique was used mostly when Chris was sitting or lying down, or when a minimum of physical acting was required....[96]

Captain America's shield, which serves as both a defensive tool and a weapon, came in four types: metal, fiberglass, rubber, and computer graphics (CG).[95] Prop master Barry Gibbs specified that "We had the 'hero shield,' which was made of aluminum, for our beauty shots [and] close-up work. We then created a lighter shield that was aluminum-faced with a fiberglass back, for use on a daily basis. ... And then we had a stunt shield made of polyurethane, which is sort of a synthetic rubber ... and we made an ultrasoft one we put on [Evans'] back, so that if there were an accident, it wouldn't hurt him."[67] Visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend said Evans "would practice swinging the practical shield so he knew the arc and the speed at which he should move. We would take the shield from him and shoot the scene with him miming it. Then we would add in a CG shield".[95]

Hugo Weaving, who portrayed the Red Skull, wore a latex mask conceived by prosthetic makeup designer David White. The visual effects team had to manipulate his face considerably, as the mask was bulky and they wanted to make it look like tight skin wrapped around a very bony structure. They thinned out Weaving's cheeks and lower lip, hollowed out his eyes, and removed his eyelashes and nose to make him appear more like the Red Skull character.[95]

Closing credits were created by visual effects firm Rok!t by means of 3-D and stereoscopic processing that used iconic American war propaganda, such as James Montgomery Flagg's Uncle Sam recruitment poster from World War I and J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" poster from World War II.[97]

Music[edit]

In June 2011, Walt Disney Records announced the details for the soundtrack release of Captain America: The First Avenger. The album includes the original score by Alan Silvestri, and the original song "Star Spangled Man" composed by Alan Menken to lyrics by David Zippel. The soundtrack was recorded at Air Studios in London and released on July 19, 2011.[98]

Release[edit]

El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California before the movie's world premiere.

The world premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger was held on July 19, 2011, at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.[99] The film was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con International on July 21, 2011.[100] It was commercially released in the United States and Canada on July 22, 2011.[101][102]

Paramount opted against altering the American-centric title when distributing to foreign territories, instead offering international markets a choice between the official title and the alternative The First Avenger. Many international distributors chose to retain the original title, believing the franchise name to be more identifiable than the alternative, and that the latter would risk losing ticket sales. Three countries chose the alternative title: Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine. An "insider" speaking to The New York Times explained that the name change in these countries stemmed from cultural and political concerns, though Marvel and Paramount both declined to state an official reason.[103] In July 2011, it was thought that the film would not be released in China because of a policy limiting the number of foreign films screened there each year,[103] but it eventually opened there in the second weekend of September.[104]

Days before the film's release, a teaser trailer for The Avengers that served as a post-credits scene of Captain America: The First Avenger was briefly leaked online. Entertainment Weekly speculated it came from a preview screening and described the footage as "shaky, fuzzy, flickering and obviously filmed on a cell phone".[105]

Marketing[edit]

Evans promoting the film at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2011 during the Military Salute.

At the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, some footage that had been shot in the previous week was shown at the San Diego Convention Center.[21] The first television advertisement aired during Super Bowl XLV on the Fox network in the United States. Paramount paid $3 million to run the 30-second advertisement.[106] The first full trailer was released in March 2011.[107] In May 2011, the USO girls from the film performed aboard the USS Intrepid at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum as a part of the 2011 Fleet Week celebration in New York City.[108] In June 2011, Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins teamed with Marvel to search for real-life super-soldiers. The contest sought nominations for veterans or active U.S. servicepersons making a difference where they live or serve.[109] In July 2011, Paramount Pictures promoted the film during an Independence Day celebration hosted by the Chicago White Sox.[110] Promotional partners include Harley-Davidson, Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.[111]

In February 2011, Marvel Comics launched the eight-issue digital comic Captain America: First Vengeance, on the same day as the first trailer aired. Written by Fred Van Lente and featuring a rotation of artists, the story is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each of the eight issues focuses on a specific character from the movie, heroes and villains alike, and what brought them to the point where the movie begins.[112]

Sega announced a video game tie-in titled Captain America: Super Soldier, that was released in 2011 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS.[113] Marvel released the mobile game, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, in July 2011.[114] A toy line was released as well.[115]

Home media[edit]

Captain America: The First Avenger was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD on October 25, 2011. The three-disc set includes the film on Blu-ray in high-definition 3D and in high definition 2D, as well as on standard definition DVD with a digital copy. The two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes a high-definition presentation of the film and a standard-definition presentation with a digital copy. Both sets include over an hour of bonus material, including the short film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer, a sneak peek of The Avengers, six behind-the-scenes featurettes, and deleted scenes with commentary by director Joe Johnston, director of photography Shelly Johnson and editor Jeff Ford.[116] In its first week of release, Captain America: The First Avenger topped the Blu-ray and DVD sales charts, selling 1.54 million Blu-ray units and 726,000 DVD units and making a combined total of $52.6 million.[117][118]

The film was also to be collected in a 10-disc box set titled Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled which includes all of the "Phase One" films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[119] However in September 2012, the release of the box set, which was scheduled on the same day as the Blu-ray release of The Avengers, was delayed until April 2, 2013, due to a pending law suit over the suitcase used to package the collection.[120][121]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Captain America: The First Avenger earned $176.7 million in North America and $193.9 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $370.6 million.[6]

Captain America: The First Avenger opened on July 22, 2011, in the United States and earned $4 million in midnight showings, outgrossing other 2011 original superhero movies like Thor and Green Lantern as well as the prequel X-Men: First Class, which all made between $3.25 million and $3.5 million in Friday midnights.[122] On Friday, the film opened at the number one spot at the American and Canadian box office with $25.7 million.[123] It then went on to make $65.1 million in what was the second highest-grossing opening weekend for a superhero film in 2011, behind Thor ($65.7 million).[124] Captain America: The First Avenger is the third highest-grossing motion picture set during the World War II era, after Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor.[125]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 79% approval rating with an average rating of 7/10 based on 222 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment."[126] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score, rated the film 66 out of 100 based on 36 reviews from critics.[127] Audiences surveyed by Cinemascore gave the film an "A-" rating.[128]

Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave Captain America: The First Avenger a positive review, saying, "Johnston has delivered a light, clever and deftly balanced adventure picture with real lump in the throat nostalgia, with Nazis – who make the best villains, and with loving references to Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.'"[129] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times remarked, "I enjoyed the movie. I appreciated the 1940s period settings and costumes, which were a break with the usual generic cityscapes. I admired the way that director Joe Johnston propelled the narrative. I got a sense of a broad story, rather than the impression of a series of sensational set pieces. If Marvel is wise, it will take this and Iron Man as its templates".[130] A. O. Scott of The New York Times declared it "pretty good fun".[131]

Karina Longworth of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, calling it "[A] hokey, hacky, two-hour-plus exercise in franchise transition/price gouging, complete with utterly unnecessary post-converted 3-D".[132] Peter Debruge of Variety said, "Captain America: The First Avenger plays like a by-the-numbers prequel for Marvel Studios' forthcoming The Avengers movie".[133] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter had mixed feelings about the film, writing, "As the last Marvel prequel that includes two Iron Man and Incredible Hulk movies before next summer's The Avengers, this one feels perhaps a little too simplistic and routine".[134]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer: Movie Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated [135]
Choice Summer Movie Star: Male Chris Evans Nominated
Scream Awards The Ultimate Scream Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated [136]
Best Science Fiction Movie Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated
Best Science Fiction Actress Hayley Atwell Nominated
Best Science Fiction Actor Chris Evans Nominated
Best Villain Hugo Weaving as Red Skull Nominated
Best Superhero Chris Evans as Captain America Won
Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones Nominated
Breakout Performance - Female Hayley Atwell Nominated
Fight Scene of the Year Final Battle: Captain America vs. Red Skull Nominated
Best 3-D Movie Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated
Best Comic Book Movie Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated
2012 BMI Film & TV Awards Film Music Award Alan Silvestri Won [137]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Superhero Chris Evans Nominated [138]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture Charlie Noble, Mark Soper, Christopher Townsend, Edson Williams Nominated [139]
Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture Casey Allen, Trent Claus, Brian Hajek, Cliff Welsh Won
Empire Awards Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated [140]
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Captain America Nominated [141]
Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction Film Captain America: The First Avenger Nominated [142]
Best Actor Chris Evans Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Stanley Tucci Nominated
Best Music Alan Silvestri Nominated
Best Production Design Rick Heinrichs Nominated
Best Costume Anne B. Sheppard Nominated
Best Special Effects Mark Soper, Christopher Townsend, Paul Corbould Nominated

Sequels[edit]

Captain America: The Winter Soldier[edit]

A sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo, was released on April 4, 2014.[143][144] Evans reprises his role as Captain America. Stan also returns, this time as the Winter Soldier, and Jackson as Nick Fury. Also starring is Scarlett Johansson as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow and Anthony Mackie as the Falcon.

Captain America: Civil War[edit]

Captain America: Civil War is scheduled to be released on May 6, 2016 and will be directed by the Russo brothers once again.[145][146] Evans will reprise his role as Captain America[147] and is joined by Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man and Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther.[148][149][150]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b In July 2013, the film's distribution rights were transferred from Paramount Pictures to The Walt Disney Studios.[1][2][3]
  2. ^ a b Producer Kevin Feige stated that the Tesseract of the films is based on the Cosmic Cube of the comics.[7] After Thor: The Dark World, he further stated it was also the Space Infinity Stone.[8]
  3. ^ Speaking together, with some crosstalk, Joe Johnston, Shelly Johnson, and Jeffrey Ford said on the audio commentary that the experiments performed by Zola enabled Barnes to survive the fall shown in the film.[9]

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