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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)


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. Meanwhile in New York City, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is rejected for World War II military duty because of various health and physical issues. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Rogers again attempts to enlist. Overhearing 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 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 side-effects.

Back 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 more muscular, one of the attendees kills Erskine, revealing himself to be Schmidt’s assassin, Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage). Rogers pursues and captures Kruger, but the assassin commits suicide by 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 1943, while on tour in Italy performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes’ unit was lost in a battle against Schmidt’s forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) 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 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 from 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 weapons of mass destruction 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 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.

Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing from an anachronistic radio broadcast that something is wrong, he flees outside into what is revealed to be present-day Times Square, where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) tells him he has been “asleep” for nearly 70 years.

In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers, proposing a mission with worldwide ramifications.


Joe Johnston


Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay)


Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving and Samuel L. Jackson


Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Canada] |




English | Norwegian (a few lines) | French (a few lines)

Release Date:

9 September 2011 (Indonesia)

Also Known As:

Captain America

Filming Locations:

Aldershot, Hampshire, England, UK

Box Office


$140,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$65,058,524 (USA) (24 July 2011) (3715 Screens)


$368,608,363 (Worldwide) (31 December 2011)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios

Technical Specs


124 min

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital  | DTS (as Datasat Digital Sound) | SDDS

Did You Know?

Jon Favreau was originally chosen by Marvel Studios to direct this film (which he intended to make as a buddy comedy), but he chose to direct Iron Man. Nick Cassavetes, was also considered to direct this film, and had been set as a director for Iron Man in December 2004.

Despite being “The First Avenger”, it is the last solo Avenger film to be released before the team-up film, The Avengers.

Joe Johnston was chosen as the film’s director because of his previous work on the period films The Rocketeer (like Captain America, also an adventure movie) and October Sky.

Louis Leterrier viewed some of the concept art for the film, and was impressed enough to offer his services, but Marvel Studios turned him down. However, his film The Incredible Hulk features a small appearance by Captain America: a deleted scene set in the Arctic features his body hidden in a slab of ice.

Screenwriter David Self, who wrote a draft of the script, claimed Captain America was his favorite childhood superhero: “My dad told me I could one day be Captain America.”

Sam Worthington and Will Smith were in early talks for the role of Captain America. Later on Garrett Hedlund, Channing Tatum, Scott Porter, Mike Vogel, Sebastian Stan, Chris Evans, Wilson Bethel, John Krasinski, Michael Cassidy, Chace Crawford and Jensen Ackles were on the final shortlist for the role. Kellan Lutz, Ryan Phillippe and Alexander Skarsgård carried out auditions, but ultimately the role went to Chris Evans.

Alice Eve, Gemma Arterton and Keira Knightley were considered for the role of Peggy Carter. Emily Blunt turned down the role.

Tommy Lee Jones who plays Colonel Phillips in this film, also appeared as Two-Face/Harvey Dent in Batman Forever. Both Captain America and Batman faced off in the Marvel vs. DC crossover in 1996.

This is the fifth live-action adaptation of the superhero. The first was the serial Captain America; the second was the TV movie Captain America and its sequel Captain America II: Death Too Soon; and the fourth was the theatrical film Captain America.

Chris Evans was attracted to the role of Captain America by its character: “Even if it wasn’t a comic book. I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He’s a great guy. Even if it was just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it. It wasn’t necessarily about the comic itself. He’s a great character to play; he just happens to be a comic book character.”

Hugo Weaving based the Red Skull’s accent on renowned German filmmakers Werner Herzog and Klaus Maria Brandauer.

To prepare for her role as Peggy Carter, Hayley Atwell trained six days a week.

Originally cameo appearances were planned in the film for James Logan Howlett (Wolverine) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto), who were present during World War II (Logan was a soldier and Lensherr was a prisoner of war). These cameos were scrapped due to rights issues.

Chris Evans sixth comic book movie after the two Fantastic Four movies, Push, The Losers, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. He also voiced Casey Jones in TMNT, which also had a comic tie-in.

The final Paramount Pictures film produced with Marvel Studios. Disney bought the rights to The Avengers and Iron Man 3.

Chris Evans declined the role three times before accepting the part. After that, he had a meeting with the director and the producers who convinced him to take the role.

Originally cameo appearances were planned in the film for Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Prince of Atlantis, but this was scrapped.

Sebastian Stan was considered for the role of Captain America, but got the role of Bucky instead.

Hayley Atwell based her performance as Peggy Carter on Ginger Rogers: “She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels.”

To prepare for his role as Bucky, Sebastian Stan watched many World War II films/documentaries, and drew inspiration from Band of Brothers.

Stanley Tucci took the role of Dr. Erskine because the role enabled him to use a German accent, which he always wanted to do.

The film was originally meant to be a standalone film, but after Joss Whedon was hired to direct The Avengers he was given a copy of the film’s script and made a few rewrites to tie it in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “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.”

Joe Simon, who created the “Captain America” comic in 1941 (before Stan Lee revived it in 1964), was approached to make a cameo appearance in the film.

Joe Johnston, the director of “_Captain America: The First Avenger_”, also directed “The Rocketeer”. In The Rocketeer, the hero, Cliff Secord, finds a rocket pack created by Howard Hughes, thus becoming the Rocketeer. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America obtains his iconic shield from Howard Stark, a character closely based on Howard Hughes.

Contrary to popular belief, a body double was not used for Chris Evans for the scenes when he was skinny. The filmmakers had originally planned to hire a body double and superimpose Evans’ face onto the double’s body, but ultimately scrapped the idea since director Joe Johnston claimed that Evans moved in a unique way and that no body double could replicate his movements. Ultimately, the filmmakers utilized digital technology to “shrink” Evans down, essentially erasing portions of his physique, until they came up with what the filmmakers called “Skinny Steve”. Over 250 shots were filmed like this, and because the shrinking process left empty space in the background, many of the scenes had to be filmed in front of a green screen so that they could superimpose the backgrounds back into the scene. Even attempts to double him for long distance shots and the scene where Steve chases down Kruger failed due to Chris having a unique and unduplicatable way of moving.

The Captain America comic book shown in the movies bears the cover of the actual Captain America #1 released in 1941.

Captain America’s special forces unit he assembles and leads is an amalgamation of the characters of Marvel Comics’ World War II period titles. These are the 1960s war title, “Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos” about an elite special forces infantry unit and the 1970s “The Invaders,” about a superhero team operating during the war under the command of Captain America. The contributions of the former title include most of the soldier characters, while the latter includes Captain America, Bucky and James Montgomery Falsworth, who appears in the comic book as the British superhero, Union Jack.

In the exhibition, there is a mannequin in a red jumpsuit under a glass dome. That is a reference to the android, the original Human Torch, the first superhero created by Timely Comics (October 1939), which eventually became Marvel Comics. He was also part of The Invaders along with Namor and Captain America. Marvel Comics recycled the name and abilities with the Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm (1961). Chris Evans portrayed Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the ‘Fantastic Four’ films.

Hydra’s futurist aircraft take their designs from actual WWII German concepts such as the Horten H.XVIII flying wing bomber and Triebflügeljäger fighter plane.

WILHELM SCREAM: Rogers is pursued by Hydra soldiers on motorcycles, but releases a flamethrower defense. One screams as he swerves, loses control and is thrown headlong.

The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is only referred to as the “Red Skull” once in the movie, in the letter that is read by the German SS officer from Hitler.

Arnim Zola’s first appearance, in the form of his face as an image on a television screen, is evocative of the “classic” comic-book Zola, whose body was a headless hulk containing his preserved consciousness with a viewscreen on its chest displaying an image of his face. In the scene where Zola is gathering his papers before the Red Skull self-destructs the base, the schematic for that robot body is visible as he packs it, establishing the possibility of him reappearing in modern times.

That Steve Rogers sketches costume designs for Howard Stark and is caught doodling pictures of himself as a circus monkey refers to the comics’ depiction of Cap’s alter ego as an artist since 1979 – he even worked on the fictional Captain America comic book published on Marvel Earth. There is a very similar scene of Steve drawing costumes and caricatures of himself in the 1991 comic miniseries “The Adventures of Captain America” which detailed his origin. This series seems also to have been influential in other ways – for example, the character of Peggy Carter in the film (which is very different from the comics) is reminiscent of Steve’s love interest Lt. Cynthia Glass in the miniseries – who there turned out to be a German spy in the end, however.

Johann Schmidt/Red Skull’s car was built from scratch over a modified truck chassis. It was 25 feet long and eight feet wide. Its design was inspired by the Mercedes 540K and the Mercedes G4, and included an exposed “supercharger” between the front wheels. The car had a 700 horsepower Drexler engine just to move it. Director Joe Johnston actually took it for a drive: “I drove it myself and it has about a 38-foot turning radius. So it’s not a lot of fun to drive. But it looked fantastic. Just a beautiful car.”

After Howard Stark’s demonstration at the exposition, you can hear an instrumental version of “Make Way for Tomorrow Today” playing in the background.

Neal McDonough plays a soldier in the 107th infantry. In Band of Brothers he played an officer in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment who also fought in Europe throughout WWII.

At the Expo Howard Stark demonstrates his semi-functional “Reversion” technology. It’s an obvious precursor to Tony Stark’s “Repulsors”, perfected for his Iron Man armor. They both even have an orange glow when functioning.

The comic version of Captain America’s shield is most commonly said to be a mixture of Vibranium and Adamantium. Vibranium = the shield’s ability to absorb vibrations; Adamantium = the shield’s (near) invincibility. However, because of the X-Men/Wolverine movies (which are not a part of the “Marvel Studios” universe), Marvel Studios left the Adamantium part out to avoid confusion with moviegoers who might think that it’s a reference to Wolverine.

The wall art hiding the Tesseract at the beginning of the film shows the World Tree, the same concept design that Thor shares with Jane Foster in Thor.

The Asgardians from ‘Thor’ are the “Gods” referenced throughout the film.

When Steve discovers the gunmetal circular shield in the development office of Howard Stark, he asks what it’s made from. Vibranium is a fictional element in the Marvel universe that comes from the country of Wakanda, the land where The Black Panther, another Marvel superhero, lives.

The first Captain America comic makes a cameo in the film. In real life the movie is inspired by the comic book, while in the movie the comic book is inspired by “real life”.

Thee sniper rifle Bucky uses to save Cap is a modified 1941 Johnson rifle, which was adopted in limited numbers by the US Marine Corps.

During the escape from the HYDRA facility, Dugan and Jones steal a tank. As they drive away, you hear Dugan exclaim “Wahoo!” In the comics, this is the battle cry of the Howling Commandos, of which both men are members.

According to producer Avi Arad: “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 America. Sixty years go by, and who are we today? Are we better?”

The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) searches for a powerful artifact, the Cosmic Cube. In Transformers, Weaving voiced the villain Megatron, who also searched for a similar cosmic cube-shaped relic (the AllSpark).

Samuel L. Jackson filmed a scene for this movie in New York City’s Time Square which serves as a scene that preludes The Avengers

Just before his death, Bucky wields Captain America’s shield. In the comics, when Steve Rogers was killed, Bucky took over as Captain America.

When chasing down the Hydra agent after being injected with the super soldier serum, Steve picks up a Taxi Cab door. The cab company is ‘Lucky Star Cab Company’ – with the name circling the star for a logo – resembling and foreshadowing the iconic shield that Steve eventually wields as Captain America.

Although not specifically identified by name in the film, the agent in 1940s attire at the end when Steve Rogers wakes-up is played by Amanda Righetti, and is listed in the credits as “SHEILD agent”. She is also identified as Sharon Carter (Peggy Carter’s granddaughter and love interest of Steve Rogers in the comics) in The Avengers movie.

When Bucky takes Steve to the World’s Fair near the beginning of the film he says, “We’re going to the future” – a foreshadowing that Steve Rogers will actually go to the future at the end of the film.

Red Skull’s deformed appearance is explained by his body’s rejection of the serum because he was not worthy – the serum drives him even madder. This is exactly what happens to Emil Blonsky which leads to his transformation into the Abomination, with the help of gamma rays, in ‘The Incredible Hulk’.

There are several references to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which Director Joe Johnston worked on as Art Director:

  • Red Skull’s consumption at the hands of the Tesseract is very similar to how the Ark of the Covenent kills the Nazis.
  • Cap throws a HYDRA bad guy into a fighter plane’s propeller.
  • After he holds the Cosmic Cube in his hands, Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull makes a comment about how the Fuhrer “searches the desert for trinkets.”

Howard Stark finds the lost Tesseract at the end, which leads him to creating blue print designs about the cubes structure and overall power, which can be seen in a case of paperwork that Tony Stark looks through in the middle of Iron Man 2.

When Captain America attacks the base and finds the prisoners, he finds Bucky strapped to a table and very out of it. Later Bucky falls to his apparent doom into the frozen river. In the comics Bucky becomes Winter Soldier, so these events are setting up his return in a Captain America and/or Avengers sequel.



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