gcse film studies captain america first avenger: a scheme of work and case study
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- 1. SUPERHERO CASE STUDY NUMBER ONE: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- 2. The story: In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a mysterious object with a red, white and blue motif. In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt and his men invade a castle in Tnsberg, Norway, to steal a mysterious Tesseract which Schmidt calls "the jewel of Odin's treasure room." In New York City, Brooklyn native Steve Rogers is rejected for World War II military duty as 4F for the fifth time. Rogers' friend, Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, takes Rogers to the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibition, where Rogers slips into a recruitment center for another attempt at enlisting. When Barnes attempts to dissuade him, Rogers' fervent conviction about serving his country catches the ear of expatriate Bavarian scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine, who is with the U.S. government's Strategic Scientific Reserve. He recruits Rogers to a squad of soldiers at Camp Lehigh in New York state. There, under Colonel Chester Phillips and SSR officer Peggy Carter, one will be chosen as the first in a "super-soldier" experiment. Phillips suggests Gilmore Hodge, but an act of a self-sacrificing bravery by Rogers convinces Erskine to use Rogers. In Europe, Schmidt and scientist Arnim Zola attempt to harness the power of the cube-like Tesseract. In a secret lab behind a Brooklyn antique store, Erskine and others gather with Senator Brandt and U.S. State Department employee Fred Clemson as Rogers is given micro-injections of serum and then doused with what Erskine calls "vita- rays". Rogers emerges from a chamber tall and muscular and his abilities are put to the test immediately when Clemson is exposed as assassin Heinz Kruger who kills Erskine. Rogers pursues Kruger in his car, but the spy flees to his submarine after Carter kills the driver. Rogers captures Kruger, but the spy commits suicide with a cyanide capsule. With the experiment dead, Brandt has Rogers don a colorful costume for a gaudy War Bonds promotional stage show that leads to one unimpressed soldier audience in Italy, November 1943, jeering Rogers. When he hears Barnes is among a number of soldiers captured by Schmidt, also known as the Red Skull, Rogers convinces Carter and Stark to fly him behind enemy lines for a solo rescue mission. Breaking into what turns out to be a base for the Skull's private terrorist group, HYDRA, he frees Barnes and the others, memorizes a map of HYDRA bases, and briefly confronts the Skull Erskine's first super-soldier before the scientist's escape. The Skull takes off his mask revealing his bleached red skin, saying that he wasn't a failure, but a success. The Skull and Zola retreat, and Rogers returns the men to base, along with high-tech guns that use Tesseract energy. To destroy HYDRA's bases, Rogers recruits a team consisting of Barnes, Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan, and Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier. Adopting a circular shield made of a substance Stark calls vibranium, which absorbs vibrations, Rogers and his squad take out all but one base. Finally, Rogers and Barnes zip line onto a train transporting Zola; during the ensuing battle, Barnes seemingly falls to his death in a gorge. Rogers, using information Phillips has gleaned from Zola in his interrogation, leads the commandos to the Skull's final redoubt. Rogers scrambles onto the Skull's jet as it takes off on a mission to obliterate the U.S. using the Tesseract energy, and eventually confronts the Skull. The Skull attempts to use the Tesseract but instead opens a portal into space, and disintegrates into light that shoots away, possibly towards Asgard (as the Tesseract is of Asgardian origin). The Tesseract melts through the plane and falls to Earth. Rogers, as Carter listens on radio, crashes the plane into the ocean to prevent it from reaching the United States. Shortly after, the Allies celebrate V-E Day. Carter, Stark, and Phillips manage to recover the Tesseract, but are unable to locate Rogers. Rogers awakens in a New York City hospital room with a Brooklyn Dodgers game playing on the radio. When he realizes the broadcast is from a game he attended before the war, he is surrounded by security guards. Rogers flees the building and finds himself in modern day Times Square. S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury arrives on the scene and tells Rogers that he has been asleep for nearly 70 years. Shocked by this, Rogers' only response is that he had a date with Carter.
- 3. Narrative: The narrative structure of Captain America: The First Avenger is a classic 3 Act structure. Label each of the diagrams below with key parts from the film to fit each of the different theories.
- 4. The comics: Use the internet to find out why these 4 comics are so important to the films of Captain America. In the space next to each, write down a one sentence summary for each. Captain America: Man Out of Time Captain America: No More Avengers Civil War Captain America Comics Issue 1
- 5. The films: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) The Avengers (2012) Captain America: The Winter Soldier(2014) Captain America: Civil War (2016) Use the internet to find out the narrative for each of the films. Use the space underneath to write a short (two sentences) synopsis of each film.
- 6. What makes Captain America: First Avenger a Superhero film? What makes Captain America a Superhero film? narrative / theme / characters / style / props / settings
- 7. Characters Steve Rogers Captain America Red Skull Johann Schmidt Peggy Carter Colonel Chester Dr. Abraham Erskine Bucky Barnes Use the space next to each character to make notes on each character. You may want to include details such as their role in the narrative, costume, key props or anything that may be of use to you.
- 8. Characters: alter ego / politician(bureaucrat) / hero / villain / love interest / side kick / scientist / father figure Firstly, label each each character with their name and then add their character type and why they are that character. Dont forget; characters can be more than one type.
- 9. A review of the film: Use the guide on the next page to help write a review about the film Captain America: The First Avenger. Make sure that you include information about the film and explain your opinion about whether you liked it or not, explaining why.
- 10. A review of the film:
- 11. A review of the film:
- 12. A review of the film:
- 13. The one-sheet poster: Using the things you learned from your coursework, label each of the technical elements of the one-sheet poster. The names of these have been included at the bottom of the page as a reminder. montage image / title / release date / credit block / production company / film format
- 14. The one-sheet poster: Using ideas from here and what you know about film posters, design your own one-sheet poster for Captain America. Use the space around the poster to annotate anything you need to make clear, such as colours. Top Bottom
- 15. The teaser poster: Using the things you learned from your coursework, label look closely at the image and around the outside do two things: 1, label what you can see and 2, what it tells the audience and how it is trying to convince people to go and watch the film.
- 16. The teaser poster: Using ideas from here and what you know about film posters, design your own teaser poster for Captain America. Use the space around the poster to annotate anything you need to make clear, such as colours. Top Bottom
- 17. Merchandise Here are some examples of the kinds of things that have been created to promote the film. Task One: Complete the table on the next page Task Two: think of 3 things that you could design to promote the film. Think of props in the film that you could design to be used or use the images of the characters on items to promote the film. Use the blank page to design them. 1 2 3 4 5
- 18. Merchandise Task One: Task One: Complete the table below. First of all, consider what the merchandise is and who is likely to buy and wear/use the product. Then, suggest how this merchandise if of use to the producers of the film: why has it been made and how might it be of use to them? Merchandise number What is the item? Who is likely to wear / use it & why? How is the item useful for the producers of the film? 1 2 3 4 5
- 19. Merchandise Task Two: Task Two: think of 3 things that you could design to promote the film. Think of props in the film that you could design to be used or use the images of the characters on items to promote the film. Draw them below and label what they are and any key features they have:
- 20. Key scenes: Number 1: The transformation scene https://youtu.be/6O5dvsRRluE What is a transformation scene? Why do most superhero films need them? What does this scene help to tell us about Steve? What does it it help to foreshadow (set up) later in the film? What camera angles are shot sizes are used to help make clear that he has dramatically changed? What camera movements are used to help make clear that he has dramatically changed? What sounds are used to help make clear that he has dramatically changed? How does the mise-en-scene help to show that this room is full of scientists and is designed to do incredible things? Answer the questions in the space below each question or on separate paper.
- 21. Key scenes: Number 2: Fighting Montage https://youtu.be/BTi-TW65vWY Why is this part of the film edited as a montage? What does it show? How does Captain Americas costume and props help to show that he is a hero in this extract? What camera angles are shot sizes are used to show that he is a hero? Can you spot any moments of editing that highlight that he is a hero? How are the other characters represented here? With reference to any 2 micro elements, explain how its shown here that they are beating the bad guys. Think another film that also features the hero winning a battle. Name the film and explain how some of the micro or macro elements are similar in both films. Answer the questions in the space below each question or on separate paper.
- 22. Key scenes: Number 3: The Grenade scene https://youtu.be/xUApyX-iPKo How does the narrative from this extract portray that Steve is brave? What themes do you think are present in this scene? In what way are they shown? What camera angles or camera movements stand out showing that he is brave? How is sound used in this extract? Explain what sound is being used (using the correct technical terms) and then explain how each links to Steve being brave and the themes you have identified. Why is this extract important to the narrative of the film? What do we as an audience learn about him as a person? How might this extract help to tell the audience what might happen later in the film? Answer the questions in the space below each question or on separate paper.
- 23. Themes: Themes are the subjects or ideas in a film or that come from a film. Themes are NOT the storyline, but the ideas that come from the storyline. For example: love concurs all, death as a part of life, man vs nature, revenge. List what themes you think are present in Captain America: The First Avenger and give an example of how and where we see this theme. What themes are present in Captain America?
- 24. Style: Use the space below each image to describe what you can see in terms of style. Then, use the box at the bottom of the page to compare the two images. Consider why the two images look so different; what does each suggest, what does each tell us about the difference between the characters, situation or how and why Captain America changes?
- 25. Style Superman (1978) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) In terms of style, what are the differences? How would describe their looks? Why do you think that they are different? Does one look more realistic than the other? Why might that be?