Steve Rogers’s 100th birthday has come and gone. While the character has been iconic between the comic book pages since World War II, I don’t think he’s ever been as popular as he has been since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began to grace our silver screens. We have the studio to thank for that, but we also need to thank Chris Evans.
His time as Captain America has been transcendent, and brought the character to the forefront of the Marvel universes. What happens to the character in the MCU come Avengers 4 we will have to wait and see, but there’s no denying how important he’s been, and how beloved he’s become. Chris Evans has brought depth and humanity to a character that for many years was viewed as old fashioned and no longer relevant.
Evans is an actor with more talent than a lot of people give him credit for, and while I’m sad that his Captain America likely won’t play a large role in the MCU going forward (he’s expressed that he wants to move on from the role, the next Avengers film is the last in his contract, and Marvel is going to give me Bucky Cap because they’ve been teasing me with it since 2011) I’m excited to see where he will go from here.
Though he’s largely known for his portrayal of the Star Spangled Man with a Plan, Chris Evans’s filmography is full of excellent roles in excellent movies. Many of them have not reached the same adoration as the Captain America films, but Evans is an actor whose talents are genre spanning.
If you’re in the mood for some more Chris Evans related content (and let’s be real, who isn’t), here are some of my recommendations:
The MCU aren’t the only comic book movies that Chris Evans has starred in, in fact he’s starred in many. The original Fantastic Four movies as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, TMNT as Casey Jones, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as Lucas Lee. But my favourite non-Cap comic book inspired role of his has to be as Jake Jensen in The Losers.
The Losers are an elite black ops team, lead by Franklin Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Jensen is the team’s intelligence specialist and computer hacker who is much beefier than one would expect from someone with that job title. The movie is equal parts engaging and exciting, and seems to have slipped under the radar of many.
Some of the most hilarious moments in The Losers (of which there are many) come from Jensen. This includes him loudly singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” while boarding an elevator in an office building, voicing his opinions on cats (they can’t be trusted), and getting into a fight with a referee at a child’s soccer game.
And if you’re looking to get a Marvel fix beyond Steve Rogers, it also includes Idris Elba (Heimdall) and Zoe Saldana (Gamora)! Something for everyone!
Push is one of those films that created a rich, beautiful universe and left me wanting more. The fact that there were never any sequels pains me.
There’s a big bad government agency who is looking to round up people with supernatural abilities and turn them into super soldiers – and not the kind that punch Hitler in the face.
Chris plays Nick Gant, a “mover” (telekinesis), who uses his abilities to cheat at dice games, which is definitely a poor use of his power. That is, until he meets Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), a “watcher” (precognition). Together they’ll take down the Division. So they’ve been told.
The film didn’t seem to be terribly well received upon its release. It did okay at the box office and with fans, but critics seemed to think it was convoluted or were left wanting to more. I don’t think there’s a whole lot to unpack here – people with supernatural abilities fighting bad people, some of them with supernatural abilities as well.
Chris as Nick is easily one of my favourite things about this film though. Not just because of the growth of his character, but because of the relationship that he has with Cassie. He begrudgingly becomes a big brother figure to her. Though she’s tough she’s ultimately still a child who is looking for her mother and could use someone to look up to. Evans absolutely shines as their relationship unfolds, as he doesn’t seem to view her as a kid, but rather as an equal.
What’s Your Number?
Do you love romantic comedies? I know I do! And what’s better than a romantic comedy starring Chris Evans?
In a movie that has become one of go-to’s for cheering up or for when I want something lighthearted and delightful, What’s Your Number? features Chris in his element – Boston. He plays Colin Shea, the neighbour of Anna Faris’s Ally Darling, who is frequently without many or any articles of clothing (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Ally, who is worried about how many partners she’s had (she reads an article in Marie Claire that says women who have over 20 partners might have difficulty landing a husband – she has 19), enlists Colin’s help (because he’s good at digging up dirt) to track down her ex-boyfriends in hopes that one of them will have matured into a man that she wants to marry.
I’m pretty sure you know how this all goes down.
The comedy itself is a bit predictable, but Anna and Chris play off against one another beautifully. Faris is a love her or hate her actor I’ve found, but I absolutely adore her. And, because every actor ever is Marvel movies now, you can find a couple others in this one – Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson), and Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross).
Based on the true story of Michael Weiss and Paul Danziger, Puncture is one of my favourite Chris Evans films. Evans plays Weiss, a lawyer and drug addict, who along with Danziger take on the case of an ER nurse who is pricked by a contaminated needle. As they dig deeper into the case they discover a healthcare and pharmaceutical conspiracy. As heavyweight lawyers begin moving in on the defense, the case pushes them to their breaking point.
Evans’s portrayal of Weiss is equal parts fantastic and devastating. He’s the kind of hero that we want to root for, and we do. Weiss and his partner are the underdogs here, and it seems at every turn that there is something in their way.
As the movie plays out you can see the toll that it takes on Weiss – who pops pills to help him sleep at night, who sneaks off into a bathroom while he’s in court to do a bump, or who reads law books while using the very safety needles that are the centrepiece of the story.
While I found this film to be a bit formulaic in its presentation, it’s the performances that give it a leg up, especially Chris’s. I can’t listen to the song featured in the credits (Rusted Wheel by the Silversun Pickups) without fighting back tears.
I’m mad that it took me years after this film came out to watch it, because it’s honestly one of the best things that I’ve watched in recent memory.
In a not-so-distant future where the planet has become uninhabitable because humans can’t stop being terrible, the last remnants of humanity live on the globe spanning Snowpiercer train. Chris stars as Curtis Everett, a member of the lower-class which lives in the tail section of the train, who becomes the reluctant leader of the revolution to get to the front.
This may be one of Chris’s best roles to date. Curtis is a quiet and introspective leader, who’s mantra “We go forward,” is a constant throughout the film. Each section of the train that he and his friends find themselves in brings with it a new host of challenges. Their mission isn’t without immense sacrifice, and you can see how much every difficult decision, every life lost in the name of the revolution wears on Curtis as they keep going forward.
In keeping with Chris’s comic book movie appearances, Snowpiercer is based on a French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. We know Chris is capable of being in non-comic book movies – we’ve seen it! But it does strike me as funny that he happens to keep showing up in them.
This is one of my top five favourite films of all time (not just starring Chris), and I’ve made it my mission in life to get everyone to watch it at least once if they haven’t already.
In the year 2057, the sun is dying and Earth is freezing. A crew are on a mission aboard Icarus II with a nuclear bomb headed for the sun, in hopes that they will be able to jumpstart it. En route, they discover the distress signal from Icarus I, which went missing seven years prior. The crew debates whether or not to continue with their mission, or seek out Icarus I and any survivors.
Chris is the ship’s engineer, Mace, who sees everything as pretty black and white – there’s a wrong way, and a right way to approach and do things. As you can imagine, there are a lot of high pressure situations, and Mace doesn’t falter – he always does what he thinks is right. Whether or not this is what’s best remains to be seen, but he believes in their mission.
Mace’s level headedness and commitment to their mission is executed beautifully by Evans. When things begin to go pear shaped, I feel that even the audience looks to him for reassurance that everything is going to be all right.
The fact that two of Chris’s best roles involve a not-so-distant future in which the planet is peril is kind of funny when you think about it. Chris himself has in the past said that this is one of his favourite movies that he’s starred in. And really if it’s good enough for Chris, I think it’s good enough for all of us.
Chris Evans is one of those actors that I feel that in a few years’ time that we’ll be looking at and thinking “Wow, how lucky are we that we get to watch him on screen?” If we aren’t already thinking that, of course!
Evans has said many times in the past that he wants to spend more time behind the camera. I’m excited to see more of his directorial work, but I hope that he will remain in front of the camera as well. It doesn’t seem like there’s any genre that he can’t take on, and getting to see him on screen is always a treat.