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, 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 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. Captain America must stop the Red Skull — Adolf Hitler’s ruthless head of weaponry, and the leader of a mysterious organization that intends to use a device called a tesseract as an 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 rights were acquired by 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 and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and Los Angeles in the United States. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a circular object with a red, white and blue motif.
In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) and his men invade Tønsberg, Norway, to steal a mysterious tesseract possessing untold powers. In New York City, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is rejected for World War II military duty due to various health and physical issues. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Rogers again attempts to enlist. Having overheard Rogers’ conversation with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited as part of a “super-soldier” experiment under Erskine, Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), and British agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Phillips is unconvinced of 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 treatment, and suffered side-effects.
In Europe, Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) successfully harness the energies of the tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola’s inventions. Schmidt, having discovered Erskine’s location, dispatches an assassin to kill him. In America, 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 muscular, one of the attendees kills Erskine, revealing himself as Schmidt’s assassin, Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage). Rogers pursues and captures Kruger but the assassin commits suicide via cyanide capsule before he can be interrogated.
With Erskine dead and the super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt (Michael Brandon) 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 Erskine’s formula. In Italy 1943, while on tour performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes’ unit was lost in battle against Schmidt’s forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers mounts a solo rescue attempt with Carter and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) flying him behind enemy lines. Rogers infiltrates the fortress belonging to Schmidt’s HYDRA organization, freeing Barnes and the other captured soldiers. Rogers confronts Schmidt who reveals his face to be a mask, removing it to display the red, skull-like face 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 (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James Montgomery Falsworth (J. J. Feild), and Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci) to attack the other known HYDRA bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, in particular a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nigh-indestructible metal. Rogers and his team successfully sabotage various HYDRA operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola. Zola is captured, but Barnes falls off the train to his apparent death. Using information extracted from Zola, the final HYDRA stronghold is located and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using WMDs on American cities. Rogers clambers 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 safely land the plane without risking its weapons detonating, Rogers crashes it in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the tesseract from the ocean floor, but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft.
Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing that something is wrong due to an anachronistic radio broadcast, he flees outside into what is revealed to be present-day Times Square. There Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) informs him he has been “asleep” for nearly 70 years.
In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers, proposing a mission with worldwide ramifications.
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First Published: Dec 9, 2011 – Last Updated: Jun 10, 2013