Character and Hollywood Formula – A Captain America Review
This review will be breaking down two opposing characters: Steve Rogers as Captain America and Schmidt, the Red Skull.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) is a superhero film within the Marvel universe. It takes place during the Second World War and Steve Rogers, a very small young man envies his friend Bucky who can join the army, while fighting in the war is denied to Steve because of several health issues. Not giving up, he finally finds a professor who in turn for signing up, gives him a serum that gives him super human strength – and the perfect soldier is born.
Schmidt, a high ranking official amongst the Nazis is quickly revealed as his enemy, as Schmidt stole the tesseract (an artefact of unmeasurable power) and constantly tries to “improve” himself using serums, which make him more demon like and give him the nickname Red Skull.
Their personal world views could not be different as Steve was a sickly boy for the longest time who got stepped on by everyone else but will still look for any way possible to save people, even if they haven’t been kind to them and his biggest motive is his best friend Bucky, who he adores. Schmidt on the other hand, as the head of Hydra (a secret Nazi organisation) and now owner of the tesseract believes he is walking in the footsteps of gods and will kill anyone in his way if necessary.
In Schmidt’s inherited world having power means everything while for Steve not being able to join the army is the worst thing that could happen as Steve’s wants and goals are for everyone to be save and finally have peace, while Schmidt’s goal seems to become the ruler of the world through the power of the tesseract.
Both their needs are simple, as Steve does everything in his might to join the army, while Schmidt simply strives for overall power.
Steve’s internal traits are his insecurities (especially when talking to women) and overprotectiveness, while his external traits change extremely throughout the film from tiny and weak to superhumanly strong. Schmidt’s internal traits reveal that he is a ruthless killer while his external slowly reveal the inside by showing him as a monster with a Red Skull.
One of Steve’s flaws, his physical weakness, is taken care of early in the film but he being overwhelmed by female recognition takes a longer time to deal with while Schmidt’s flaw is him “improving” himself, which makes his good traits better and the bad one worse.
Steve’s overall story arc depicts him being turned into a super soldier to eventually fight against Hydra while Schmidt, Hydra’s leader turns into a monster no longer recognisable as human.
To value a change in a scene I chose the scene in which Steve and Bucky are both on a train, fighting against Hydra minions when Bucky gets thrown out of the door, can barely hold on and eventually falls off a mountain, Steve believes him to be dead. Steve entered this scene hopeful and confident as he knows how much of a good soldier Bucky is but leaves the scene absolutely devastated as his best and only friend just lost his life.
For Schmidt’s scene, I chose the one where both he and Steve are on an aircraft heading to New York and Steve finally made it into the cockpit, after many difficulties and tries to kill Schmidt. Schmidt went into the scene feeling confident about easily being able to destroy Steve with the powers of the tesseract but as the tesseract sinks through the floor Schmidt seemingly melts in a rush of light and only his bones remaining, he is whisked away, possibly still alive.
Altogether, the breakdown of two opposing characters works well on The First Avenger, as it has the typical good guy and a typical bad guy that have frequent confrontation and open hate for each other. I very much enjoyed watching it as it has a good story arc for Steve and leads up to a series of films that all feature Captain America.