The Marvel Cinematic Universe started eight years ago this week with the release of 2008’s Iron Man. Fast-forward to 2016 and the first weekend in May is now Marvel Weekend. They park a film here every year, and every year, advance an ongoing film universe that now contains four TV shows (with four more planned) and is on its 13th installment with Captain America: Civil War. It is well on its way to becoming the most prolific (it should pass the Bond franchise for most installments in a series around 2020) and successful film franchise in history. The cornerstone of the Marvel Universe is Captain America.
2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, honestly did not totally sell me on Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. Cap is a tough character to nail. He’s a soldier and a patriotic veteran, but he’s also a skinny kid from Brooklyn who finds himself in his nineties in an entirely different world than the one where he was born and re-created. The Avengers and then (what I still think is the best MCU film) The Winter Soldier, would go on to cement Evans. He nailed it, and I was probably a little too hard on The First Avenger when it came out. It had a lot to establish, was largely a period film and had a main villain who really did not want to be in the film he was in (don’t ever look for Hugo Weaving to reprise the Red Skull).
The first film got the essence of who Steve Rogers is down in a great little scene early in the film. Pre-transformation, Stanley Tucci (who is the MVP of this film) and Tommy Lee Jones were arguing Roger’s merits. At the time, Rogers is not in any way a physical specimen, but a simple test, shows his heart. It’s nice to relive this simpler time in the MCU. Civil War is going to change everything (it’s a comic cliché, but in this case it is true). Things are going to go very grey very soon, so it’s nice to revisit a time when things were cut and dried, good vs. evil.