This movie is set during World War II. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is small and slight. He often gets bullied but always stands up for himself and for what’s right. He’s tried many times to join the army, but has always been rejected because of his slight build and asthma. After trying yet again, he’s overheard by scientist Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who’s working on a very secret project for the American War Office. Through Dr Erskine, Steve’s enlisted in the army and becomes the first volunteer to trial a new serum. The serum makes him stronger and faster than the average human.
At the same time, evil scientist Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) is hunting for Dr Erskine. Dr Schmidt is part of a Nazi weapons research unit called Hydra. He raids a small Norwegian village and finds a crystal that supposedly comes directly from the gods and will provide unlimited power for weapons. Nothing can defeat him except Dr Erskine’s serum, but Schmidt knows that the serum can create men who also can’t be defeated. He eventually assassinates Dr Erskine and destroys the serum, but Steve has been already been injected.
Steve is now Captain America and needs to defeat Dr Schmidt before Schmidt tries to conquer the world.
Superheroes; war; medical experimentation
This movie contains many violent scenes. Some of them are intense and frightening. For example:
- Dr Schmidt raids a Norwegian village and kills some of the residents. He threatens an old man with the death of the whole village if the man doesn’t cooperate. In the end, Schmidt gives the order to destroy the village and kill the old man anyway.
- A large bully punches Steve many times.
- Steve chases Heinz Kruger (Dr Erskine’s assassin), and Heinz kills himself using cyanide. He foams at the mouth as he dies.
- Heinz Kruger shoots his enemies with a laser-like weapon that vaporises people.
- Many battle scenes involve shooting, explosions, people being blown up, people being shot, planes being shot down and hand-to-hand combat.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie has some use of substances. For example, soldiers drink in a bar. Also, Captain America tries to get drunk but can’t.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, there’s some kissing. Also, a soldier ‘moons’ Steve.
There’s no product placement of concern in the movie. But Captain America is a Marvel Comics character with associated merchandise available.
This movie contains some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Captain America: The First Avenger is a classic good vs evil action adventure story. It’s based on a Marvel Comics character. It contains violent and disturbing scenes that make it unsuitable for younger children and teenagers.
There’s a strong pro-American message as can be expected in a 1940s setting.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- standing up for what you believe in, and sticking with your own values
- loyalty and friendship.
You could also talk about bullying and what the movie says about solving the problem. Is violence really the best solution?