main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Colonel Chester Philips (the Tommy Lee Jones character) - when he thought Captain America/Steve Rogers was dead, was he actually upset about the fact that a man may have died in vain - and with him many other men - or was he just mad because Cap snuck out under his watch meaning he could very well have lost his career? For that matter, was there any real merit in his request to have Cap kept in a lab to see if a new version of the formula could be extracted from him or was he just being a bully taking his frustration and resentment out on someone who didn't deserve it simply because Rogers wasn't HIS preferred choice for the serum?
  • Anvilicious / Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Power makes good men into great men. It makes bad men worse. So never give bullies power!
  • Awesome Music
  • Base Breaker: Peggy. Her fandom usually focuses on her Badass/Action Girl status, her hatedom focuses on her Jerkass tendencies and lack of plot-purpose.
  • Broken Base: The film's antagonist being Hydra instead of the Nazis like in the original comics: an interesting update, or Political Correctness Gone Mad?
  • Complete Monster: Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull, is a profound Narcissist who believes himself a god that is no longer bound by humanity's rules. The head of HYDRA, a Nazi military organization, Schmidt has turned the group into his own personal cult. He's first introduced killing the guardian of the Tesseract and ordering the entire village where it was hidden wiped out for seemingly no reason. He goes on to betray Hitler and the Nazi party to pursue his own goals and murders the three men sent to check on the status of his research. Schmidt uses the Tesseract to make fantastic new weapons for HYDRA, and has POWs torturously experimented on in order to replicate Dr. Erskine's Super Soldier Super Serum. Despite their fanatical devotion to Schmidt, he continually shows no concern for the welfare of his men, having them chomp cyanide pills when captured to avoid giving out information on him, executing one merely for surviving an attack on a HYDRA base, and activating the self-destruct sequence at another HYDRA base when the Allied forces overrun it, not caring that hundreds of his troops will be killed in the blast. Schmidt's ultimate plan is to use his new weapons to wipe out half the planet, bombing nearly every major city including his own capital, just so he can rule over what's left.
  • Demonic Spiders: The Hydra mooks with the arm-mounted flamethrowers. Cap is forced to yield every time they appear, regardless of how much ass he was kicking prior.
  • Ear Worm: "The Star-Spangled Man," brought to you by Alan Menken and David Zippel.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Madame Hydra, from the tie-in video game.
    • Hodge
    • Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Philips is in full-on jerkass authority figure mode, and is funny as hell ("Well, star-spangled man with a plan, what is your plan today?").
    • Also, Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan is both visually and character-wise one of the most awesome characters in the film, and provides much badassery while being completely human.
    • Similarly, JJ Feild as Falsworth, who despite having such a small role, is pretty badass and classy.
    • Erskine's also pretty awesome in his own way.
    • The nameless kid that gets thrown into the drink, too.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Red Skull, of all people. It probably helps that he's played by Hugo Weaving. He's a Large Ham Bad Boss and in some ways he's more evil than Hitler, he wears a Badass Longcoat and can fight Captain America to a stalemate. Note, however, that in between all the For the Evulz plotting, he has one Pet the Dog moment. The cool thing is, it's to the benefit of both his minion and his car.
    • He also wants to kill Hitler and take over everything he has. That's pretty cool in itself.
    • Seriously? He's a Nazi Supersoldier Mad Scientist who glorifies the Norse Gods. He's the coolest character in the movie.
    • In a lot of ways, he's like M. Bison from the Street Fighter movie. Of COURSE!
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Although Marvel and Paramount offered simply The First Avenger as an alternative title for countries requesting it, only Russia, South Korea and Ukraine took that option. All the others, including China, settled for the original title for the film instead.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The movie opens with an attack on Norway. The very day the movie was released, Oslo was bombed in Real Life.
  • Harsher and/or Heartwarming In Hindsight: Captain America's co-creator, Joe Simon, died about five months after this movie's release, but its box office and critical successes likely helped re-assure him of Cap's lasting value before he passed away.
  • He Really Can Act: After all the Jerk with a Heart of Gold characters he's played, it came as a surprise to some people just how well Chris Evans pulls off an Adorkable puppy dog of a Super Soldier. See WTF Casting Agency below.
  • He's Just Hiding:
    • Some fans speculate that Red Skull had actually been temporarily banished from the mortal plane than killed. The fact that the way he was disintegrated was similar to the Bifrost travel in Thor supports it; and if you look closely at the ceiling when the Red Skull first grasps the Cosmic Cube in his bare hand, it temporarily warps to a star-filled view of the same interdimensional void that the Bifrost travels through and that Loki falls into.
    • Bucky, in following with the comics. They never did find his body in the film, after all. In addition, in the scene where Captain America finds him, he is strapped onto a bed, implying that they may have done some sort of experiment on him or at least planned it. These theories involving Bucky was indeed confirmed in the sequel.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Considering how Hugo Weaving made the phrase "Mister Anderson" memetic, they had a golden opportunity for him to address Captain America derisively as "Mister Rogers". We can only assume they didn't because the scenes where Cap and Red Skull meet aren't the best times to slip so spectacularly hilarious.
    • Why is Brooklyn-born Steve so notably bereft of Brooklyn Rage? Cos he used it all up as Casey Jones.
    • Some found it hilarious that Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones played rival German scientists in this film, then a year later found themselves announcing the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
    • Natalie Dormer, who plays the young private that flirts with and kisses Steve Rogers, later had a small role in Rush... as a young nurse who makes out with Chris Hemsworth.
  • Iron Woobie: Cap. You can tell he's sad about waking up after most people he knew were dead, but he won't let that get in his way.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: The title character himself. He's shipped with Peggy, Howard, all of his Avengers "love interests," Bucky, every single one of the Howling Commandoes...Super-Soldier's a super-suitor.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Red Skull of course.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    "You just don't give up, do you?"
  • Mood Whiplash: There's one between the final scene and the credits. The final line is quite somber, with Cap sad about not being able to see Peggy. The music for the credits, however, is very upbeat.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In Schmidt's very first scene, even after obtaining the Tesseract, he orders his tanks to fire on a defenceless town.
  • Narm Charm:
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Locked in a metal coffin, screaming in agony... And note that Steve also grew about a foot as well as gaining about eighty pounds of muscle - he was essentially being rack-tortured.
    • When Johann Schmidt rips his face off, revealing his true face.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Actually, it's not that bad! While rough around the edges, and saddled with a slow, uninteresting beginning, the Captain America: Super Soldier game clearly is more than just a meager cash-in like the Thor or Green Lantern games; it's got an imitation of the combat system from Batman: Arkham Asylum and a really huge castle full of HYDRA goons to explore. It's not quite as good as Arkham Asylum, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    • In fact, in the preview of the game, one of the designers even lampshaded this trope and explained that they planned to subvert it.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Thorin Oakenshield works for Red Skull!
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: A complaint some have about the Steve/Peggy romance is that it is ultimately pointless and bears no significance to the rest of the plot. It's not as commonly complained as Thor/Jane from the previous film, though.
  • Smurfette Breakout: Peggy Carter has been heralded as one of Marvel's better supporting ladies, and her popularity led to her receiving her own Marvel One Shot that led into her own TV show.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: For many, the downplaying of real swastika-bearing Nazis (and the real German Army) in favor of the fictional breakaway HYDRA trivializes the World War II setting. Not helped by Cap being firmly established as fighting real Nazis in the comics, where the Red Skull was also loyal to Hitler. While it's true that today's Germany prohibits the display of Nazi symbols, exceptions are made for World War II films. (A similar thing happened with the cartoon The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.) Further not helped by being released in the same year as X-Men: First Class, where the Nazi element is much more prominent.
    • On the other hand, keeping the movie focused on Captain America's battle against HYDRA showcased his heroic Useful Notes/WWII Legendary status, without altering the course of WW2 too drastically, as he mostly kept HYDRA's super-science from turning the tide of the war.
  • Uncanny Valley: In the early scenes, it's quite obvious that the Red Skull is wearing a Hugo Weaving mask over his mutated face. The effect can actually make him look far creepier than his true face ever could.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: They make Chris Evans look like DJ Qualls. The effect was so good that Roger Ebert couldn't tell which body was Chris Evans' real one!
    • The make-up for the Red Skull is fairly impressive too, especially the Hugo Weaving mask he wears, which has semi-obvious neck flaps and red areas around the eyes which make it more realistic.
    • Never mind that, what about the fact that 90% of the film is in-camera effects?
  • What an Idiot: S.H.I.E.L.D. surprisingly. Trying to ease Captain America into the present day with a fake 1940's hospital room and baseball game on the radio can be excused. The fact that they didn't take the time to make sure the game was from after Steve crashed cannot.
  • WTF Casting Agency: Apparently Will Smith was one of the top choices to play Steve, at one point.
    • What are you talking? That would have been amazing.
    • Quite a few people even had this reaction after Evans was cast in the title role after his stint as a certain other Marvel Comics character, but now it feels like he was born to play the Sentinel of Liberty.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy