It doesn't bode well for Chris Evans' star power when you mention his name in conversation and the most popular response is: "Yeah, he was really good in 'Star Trek.'"
No, we're talking about Chris Evans, not his pseudo-doppelganger Chris Pine (who, to be fair, does share the same first name). Evans has been in the acting game for a while, yet he somehow hasn't managed to really take ownership of the leading-man status. This week, he's helming the comic book hero movie 'Captain America: The First Avenger,' and if he's going to have any chance of making a name for himself, this is probably it.
Evans has that "everyman" quality in spades -- that ability to fade into the background without making a noticeable impact. Some argue he hasn't been given a solid role yet, while others claim that he lacks that certain special "something." Regardless of the reason, when 'Captain America' hits theaters, it's Evans' moment to shine.
Moviefone took a quick look at five of Evans' past roles to see how his 'Captain America' character measures up, and we try to predict if he'll make the grade. Of course, we'd love to hear what you think about it -- let us know in the comments!
'Fantastic Four' (2005), Johnny Storm: Cast as the ubiquitous "hot" superhero guy, Evans came onto the scene as Johnny Storm, his first major role. With occasionally funny one-liners and a familial chemistry with co-star Jessica Alba, Evans is totally suited for this role. Unfortunately, a leaden script and an overload of superheroes in popular culture pushed 'Fantastic Four' to the sidelines, along with Evans.
'Sunshine' (2007), Mace: When a team of scientists/astronauts is sent into outer space to reignite the sun, Evans tags along as Mace, the ship's engineer. Mace is described as "level-headed and calm," and he comes from a military background -- and let's just say he doesn't spend too much time on-board the ship. All in all, this movie wasn't the best opportunity for Evans to break out of his shell.
'Push' (2009), Nick Gant: Imagine! Evans starring in a movie based on a comic book! As with his 'Fantastic Four' role, Evans' character is blessed with superpowers -- Nick's a "Mover," meaning he has telekinetic capabilities -- and he's assigned to find a young girl (Dakota Fanning) somewhere in Hong Kong. The action sequences are great, but the movie buckles under the weight of blandness, and while we sorta care about Nick, once the screen goes black at we forget most aspects of the film.
'The Losers' (2010), Jensen: Called 'G.I. Joke' and 'The D-Team' by critics, 'The Losers' follows a team of CIA black ops who are left for dead. Evans is Jensen, the computer whiz who studies a hard drive in the hopes of figuring out who tried to kill the team. While we give him kudos for donning a pair of glasses (no stereotypes here) and trying to break out of his superhero/strongman typecasting, this probably wasn't the best vehicle to try it in.
'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World' (2010), Lucas Lee: In arguably his most memorable role to date, Evans plays one of Ramona Flowers' evil exes, the popular actor and skateboarder, Lucas Lee. As a badass, Evans is a stand-out. Rather than the brawny cookie-cutter action hero we're used to seeing him play, this character actually has some edge to him. A welcome change.
Consensus: We've seen Chris Evans as a superhero, we've seen him as a buff, built guy with an axe to grind, and we've seen him several times as a member of an entourage (usually involving superpowers). In 'Captain America,' he's a superhero, yes, but he's flying solo this time -- he's carrying the movie squarely on his own massive shoulders. If he's going to make that leap from also-ran to A-lister, this movie is his best chance to do it.
--'Captain America' photo by Jay Maidment/Marvel Films