Falling into the superhero film category, it has to several conventions including:
- Having special powers - after being injected with the super serum, Steve Rodgers (aka Captain America) develops exceptional strength and enhanced ability which doubled with an indestructible shield, makes Rodgers a very formidable man.
- A moral code - in the film, Steve Rodgers has a very strong sense of good and wrong, constantly being beaten up but still standing up for what he believes in. Later on in the boot camp, he shows complete loyalty after trying to protect everyone for a fake grenade which then leads on for him to be chosen to be the first test subject to subjected to the super serum.
- A secret identity - like every classic superhero Steve Rodgers superhero alias is Captain America, but even though the public of America doesn't know who he is, only a small group of people do, "I'm just a kid from Brooklyn".
- Supporting characters - in this film, we see that Steve develops a love interest for Peggy but that devastatingly ends once he is forced to crash the plane into the ocean. Also one of Steve's other close friends was Bucky, who remained loyal until the very end.
- Motif - Being Captain America, he bears the America flag in a very unusual style, a silver star with blue, white and red stripes, which can be seen on his shield.
- Backstory - Steve would constantly fail to get into the Army because he was too small and light to be able to help fight alongside other soldiers, and he was constantly getting beaten up due to the fact he was stubborn and loyal to his country (such as the incidence with the film at the start of the movie).
- Rogues gallery - in the movie, the Nazi group Hydra, have got their hands on the tesseract (which has transformed their leaders appearance, hence giving him the name the Red Devil) and Captain America and his team mates are forced to break into their headquarters to try and stop them.
- Costume features - Captain America sports a blue uniform with a silver star on his chest and a silver A on his head. His costume covers over
the top half of his face, to help protect his identity. Another significant feature is his shield, which he uses to distinguish himself from the other soldiers and as extra protection.
The target audience for this film is "male (64%), mostly over 25 (58%)" according to http://news.softpedia.com/news/Captain-America-Takes-Down-Harry-Potter-at-the-US-Box-Office-213245.shtml due to the fact it is the first film in the Marvel Universe (timeline wise), meaning that diehard comic book fans would be wanting to watch the movie adaptation in the cinemas to see one of their favourite heroes.
The binary oppositions present is firstly the second world war (Germans vs America in this case in the movie) so you get a sense it is a battle between good/evil, in the sense that when taking the tesseract, the Red Devil has turned "insane", creating weapons that atomise a person (in which he plans on using during the war). However thanks to Captain America, these weapons never make it out into the world. Another binary opposition is the weak/strong, as at the start of the movie Steve Rodgers is a 'weakling', seen as unfit to serve in the army, an image which the Americans don't want to associate with their army. However when Steve has been subjected to the superserum, he is suddenly put in the spotlight now that he is seen as 'strong'.
Captain America does reinforce gender stereotypes because it is set in World War Two where women have yet to have an equal role in society (at the end of the war there was great social change), so throughout the film, it is only the men that do the physical fighting and hardly any women make any appearances. Peggy, the strongest women role in the film, however she is one of the most important officers of the American Army. Although she doesn't need to be rescued, she is often on the sidelines rather than in the middle of the fighting action.
Finally, the film seeks to entertain it's audience by firstly creating a hero for the audience to root for, as at the beginning of the film, we see Steve being brutally beaten but refusing to stand down from the fight. Also we get to see the transformation of Steve into Captain America, via the super serum. This has the audience on the edge of their seats as they don't know if it is going to work, and for a heart crunching moment, when they consider calling the experiment off. Another heart in the mouth moment was when Captain America and his comrades were on the train in the middle of the snow locked mountains; however not worrying for Steve, but when one of his friends fall off of the train, plunging to his death below. This moment is lifechanging for Steve as he realises that he will now sacrifice himself for the greater good of the war.
From zero to hero.