9:00 am EDT, April 22, 2018

Fan Favorite Filmography: Breaking down the back catalog of Chris Evans

Revisit the highs and lows of Chris Evans' career as you fret over Cap's fate

Already freaking out about the impending lack of Chris Evans in your post-Infinity War life? Perhaps a perusal of Chris Evans’ movies is in order.

Chris Evans is one of our favorite people over here at Hypable, and for good reason. He first rose to fame in the excruciating Noughties “classic” Not Another Teen Movie, and after a somewhat less successful superhero role in Fantastic Four, he reached Marvel mega-stardom when he was cast as our beloved Cap.

He has perfected the dichotomy of the duty-bound icon Captain America and the sassy, stubborn and sensitive Steve Rogers, and it’s the combination of his physicality as a great action hero and his dedication to deep character work that has drawn in thousands – if not millions – of new fans to the franchise.

Evans began his MCU tenure in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, the WWII origin story that introduced new audiences to Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter, the beloved Jack Kirby-created characters who – despite being long-time staples of the comics industry – never before entered the casual pop culture zeitgeist in the same way that DC’s Superman and Batman, for instance have long been household names.

The subversive tale of Captain America – a skinny, sickly, scrappy working-class artist from New York City, pumped up by the powers of science and the purity of his own heart into a perfect physical ideal, a blonde, blue-eyed, Nazi-punching machine – is one of Marvel Studios’ many successes in their market-cornering mission to throw cliche out the window and prove that superhero stories really can be all things to all people.

Since we first met the star-spangled man, Evans continued to show us Steve Rogers’ story as he adapted to the shock of 21st century life in 2012’s The Avengers. 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier deepened the exploration of Steve’s displacement and trauma and his frustration at being somewhat owned by the U.S. government, especially after the reveal that his closest friend Bucky Barnes, who he failed to save in 1945, had been brainwashed and tortured by the enemy for the 70 years Steve himself had been frozen.

During his secret search for Bucky, Steve continued his duties with the superhero team in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which the central conflict is one of colleague Tony Stark’s own making, as the Avengers are forced to stop Stark’s sentient AI creation Ultron from destroying the world. The events of Age of Ultron lead directly to those of Captain America: Civil War, in which, amidst a debate of principles regarding the control and regulation of superhero intervention, Helmut Zemo, a survivor of the destruction in Sokovia, frames the Winter Soldier for a huge terrorist attack.

Article Continues Below

Zemo’s end goal – to tear the Avengers apart – was ultimately successful, as he drew Steve, Tony and Bucky into a circumstance that revealed the truth about Bucky’s past and his involvement in the death of Tony’s parents. Steve ultimately chose his beloved friend over his duty, throwing down the iconic shield without a second thought and walking away from both Tony and from the mantle of Captain America. Bucky and Steve sought refuge in Wakanda, where – as Black Panther revealed – Bucky has made a full recovery, and Steve – according to Infinity War promo – is working with a number of his more rebellious teammates as covert vigilantes.

Avengers: Infinity War brings Evans to the end of his initial six-picture deal with Marvel, and while we know he extended it to include a seventh movie (not including a few cameos) – you can expect to see Steve Rogers’ journey come to an end in the as-yet-untitled fourth Avengers outing next year. The main question is whether we’ll see him ride off into the sunset, or whether that last ride will be in the back of a hearse.

Either way, unless something major shifts, Evans is out. He’s currently skipping the Infinity War press tour to make his Broadway debut in Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, so it’s kinda vibing like Chris Evans really has thrown down the shield as soundly as Steve did at the close of Civil War.

Chris Evans has become famously wary of celebrity — so much so that he almost didn’t take the Captain America role — and his career trajectory outside of Marvel reflects this mindset. As a young actor he pursued mainstream success, and then backed off into more independent films, exploring many genres. He’s also hoping to pursue a career behind the camera, and Before We Go, his first feature film as a director, premiered at TIFF in 2014.

In the near future, you can expect to see Evans in The Red Sea Diving Resort – an upcoming biopic about the evacuation of Jewish refugees, which filmed last summer – but we don’t know what the future holds for Evans after his final moments with the Avengers. What we do know is how he got where he is today. If you’re already freaking out about the impending lack of Chris Evans in your life, perhaps a perusal of some of the biggest hits (and misses) of his back catalog is in order.

Chris Evans movies: a filmography review

‘The Perfect Score’ (2004)


What is it? A teen coming of age/heist movie that touches on the issues created by standardized testing as a means of assessing different people. Chris Evans plays Kyle, a painfully average but very driven high school senior with dreams of attending Cornell University to pursue architecture. However, his first attempt at the SAT doesn’t go so well, and when his best friend’s score also gets in the way of his college plans, Kyle ends up as the ringleader of a group of students who make a plan to steal the answers to the SAT before they re-take the test. The movie follows their attempts to break into the building where the answers are kept and explores the reasons that each member of their group is so desperate to succeed.

Should you watch it? Sure. The Perfect Score is a little cheesy, but it’s a feel-good film with an unrepentant message about individuality. Baby Chris Evans is adorable and very natural in it, and it’s also his first co-starring role with his future superhero BFF, Scarlett Johansson.

‘Fierce People’ (2005)


What is it? Finn (Anton Yelchin) and his massage-therapist mother Liz move from New York to the guesthouse of a country estate owned by Ogden C. Osbourne, a billionaire ex-client who owes Liz a favor. It’s here that Finn, a wannabe anthropologist, meets Osbourne’s teenage grandchildren — Maya (Kristen Stewart) and Bryce (Chris Evans.) He gets sucked into their world of privilege and excess, simultaneously becoming infatuated with them and attempting to study them. Along the way, he discovers a dark underside to their supposed life of bliss. This independent thriller, also starring Donald Sutherland as Osbourne, was adapted from a novel by Dirk Winterbottom. Winterbottom himself also wrote the film’s screenplay, but overall it works a bit better as a book, despite the lack of Chris Evans. But if you can stomach Finn’s nature channel-style narration of his new society, it’s a pretty gripping story in movie format as well.

Should you watch it? Objectively, the book is better, but it’s a decent watch. Bryce is a much, much darker role than Evans usually plays, and he pulls it off.

‘London’ (2005)


What is it? You know those movies that obviously want to be seen as a genius exploration of the human condition and are actually just sort of pathetic? That’s London. Chris Evans as Syd spends most of the film hiding in the bathroom at his ex-girlfriend’s going-away party, taking cocaine with a stranger and having flashbacks to his failed relationship and his inability to say “I love you.” It’s mostly dialogue — full of awkward, pretentious conversations — yet we learn absolutely nothing about the characters except that they have sex and take drugs. Evans has good chemistry with Jessica Biel the eponymous London, but that’s probably more to do with the fact that they were dating in real life at the time than praise of what the film has to offer.

Should you watch it? Only if your thirst is greater than your ability to love yourself.

‘Sunshine’ (2007)


What is it? A sci-fi thriller by iconic British director Danny Boyle. In the year 2057, the sun is dying, and in an attempt to save Earth, a team of astronauts is sent to launch a bomb into the sun in an attempt to re-start it. The crew of the Icarus II is the second such attempt — the first mission, Icarus I, was lost without a trace. However, as they approaches the sun, the crew — an international cast including Rose Byrne, Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh and Hiroyuki Shimosawa — discovers the Icarus I vessel, still potentially operational. Chris Evans plays Mace, Icarus II’s pragmatic engineer who does not approve of the decision to re-route via Icarus I. Evans is very critical of his own past work, but Sunshine is one of the movies he’s actually proud of, even theorizing that he’d have a different career if people had remembered him from this movie as opposed to, say, Fantastic Four.

Should you watch it? Yes, because Chris Evans wants you to, and we should give the birthday boy what he wants.

‘The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond’ (2009)


What is it? Adapted from a never-produced Tennessee Williams screenplay, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is Chris Evans’ only period drama film — unless, of course, you count Captain America: The First Avenger! Set in 1920s Memphis, it follows the story of a young heiress, Fisher Willow, who returns from Europe a little too wild and carefree for the upper-class society she must take her place in. She requests that Jimmy, the son of one of her father’s staff — this is Evans’ role, obviously — be her escort to parties for the season, despite not being her social equal. Drama erupts around the loss of a diamond earring, one of a pair worth $10,000 that belong to Fisher’s aunt. Unfortunately, despite being written by America’s greatest dramatist, this isn’t a very good film. It’s slow and stilted, the Southern accents are unconvincing, and it feels a bit like a Hallmark made-for-TV movie.

Should you watch it? Unless you’re completely desperate for anything Evans — he does have a few “Mountain Lodge“-worthy scenes hauling sacks of grain and stuff — give this one a miss.

‘The Losers’ (2010)


What is it? An action comedy adaptation of the Vertigo comic book. The Losers, an elite black ops team, are left high and dry in Bolivia when their mission to destroy a drug cartel goes wrong. An unknown corrupt superior — codename Max — hijacks control of the mission via the comms system, and they becomes accidentally responsible for the deaths of 25 children when Max blows up the rescue helicopter presumed to contain the team. The Losers are offered a way to get back to America, clear their names and get revenge on Max by the mysterious and skilled Aisha, played by Zoe Saldana. Chris Evans is Captain Jake Jensen, the team’s light-hearted hacker, a talkative and shameless character obsessed with his niece’s junior soccer team who — according to his mom, legend has it — is the most similar of Evans’s past characters to his real life personality.

Should you watch it? If you enjoy dude-centric action films with a lot of violence and not a lot of depth, then yes. If that’s not your thing, just fast-forward to the main Chris Evans scenes — his performance is worth watching, regardless of plot.

‘Puncture’ (2011)


What is it? Puncture is based on a true story, and it shows that Chris Evans has what it takes to do straight drama that packs an emotional punch — he doesn’t need a side of action or comedy to deliver a stellar performance. Evans plays Mike Weiss, a young lawyer who is also a functioning drug addict. Mike and his partner take on a lawsuit involving a local nurse who was pricked by a contaminated syringe. While researching their case, they begin to uncover a conspiracy in the corporate medical world — that the safest possible single-use needles have been invented, but are are kept off the market by the dominant presence of certain medical supply companies due to its slightly higher manufacturing cost. Mike, a talented lawyer, becomes obsessed with the case – it’s Evans’ very own Erin Brockovich moment — but his drive is hindered by his own addiction.

Should you watch it? Absolutely. Puncture had a limited release, only showing in a handful of cinemas after premiering at Tribeca, but get your hands on it if you can. It’s one of the best performances of Evans’ career.

‘What’s Your Number’ (2011)

chris evans 6

What is it? After reading an article claiming that women with more than 20 sexual partners won’t find a husband, the quirky Ally (Anna Faris) re-evaluates her life and becomes determined to revisit her past flings to see if she can marry one without raising her “number.” She recruits her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) to help with the detective work involved, and hijinks ensue. The movie features supporting roles from Ari Graynor, Anthony Mackie, Blythe Danner, Martin Freeman, Zachary Quinto, Joel McHale, Eliza Coupe, Andy Samberg, and Faris’s husband Chris Pratt. There is no possible way to quantify how attractive Chris Evans is in this movie. Colin is playful, sweet, supportive, chill. He doesn’t care about your “number.” He wants you to be who you truly are. He uses his natural Boston accent. He sings. There’s an adorable bit with a small child. And the scene where the pair play basketball will cause you to re-evaluate your life.

Should you watch it? Yes. Once, twice, three times yes. The movie’s whole premise regarding one’s “number” is pretty horrid, but every single other aspect of it — the acting, the dialogue, the comedic timing, the plot, even the cinematography, is fantastic.

‘Snowpiercer’ (2013)


What is it? Snowpiercer is an independent dystopian drama set on a train that travels around the world, sheltering the last few human beings on earth after a man-made attempt to fix global warming brings on a new ice age. The microcosmic society of the train ranges from poverty to luxury, and seventeen years into the Snowpiercer’s journey, Chris Evans’ character Curtis leads a revolution — a march from the lower-class tail end of the train to the front, in an attempt to take control of the engine from transportation magnate Wilford, who created the train. The film, made by acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-ho, is visually arresting, scary, absurd, introspective and full of social commentary. Evans has the reluctant leader thing down-pat. He seems very at home in the role, and is supported by a great cast including Octavia Spencer and Tilda Swinton.

Should you watch it? It’s an excellent film, but not for the squeamish. When the apocalypse comes, avoid the protein blocks.

‘Before We Go’ (2014)

What is it? A romantic drama in which a Nick, a trumpet-playing street busker at Grand Central Station – Evans – meets Brooke (Alice Eve), a woman desperately trying to catch a train. It’s one of those “one stranger changes the entire course of your life” type deals, as Nick and Brooke race around New York City at night, trying to find a way to get her to Boston before morning. It’s not a happily-ever-after type romance – Brooke’s story is based in trying to save her existing marriage – but more a story about human connection. Evans directed the picture, which was shot over 19 days in the winter of 2013, mostly on hand-held cameras on location in New York, and despite his open admission of this project being more a case of “what will someone let me direct” rather than picking and choosing a dream script, he’s at home in the role and behind the camera.

Should you watch it? Look, it’s not the most complex and mindblowing film of all time, but it’s Evans’ directorial debut, so yes, if you’re a fan, it’s a must.

‘Playing It Cool’ (2015)


What is it? A subversive romantic comedy about a cynical screenwriter who’s been contracted to write a romantic comedy. Chris Evans plays the unnamed narrator, a writer who doesn’t believe in love, until he has a chance encounter with the girl of his dreams. He also hangs out with a group of other artists and creatives (including Aubrey Plaza, Luke Wilson and Topher Grace) who aren’t shy on offering their opinions about his life. The film — both the writing and by extension the leading man — is a little bit narcissistic, but the characters are well-drawn and the acting is very naturalistic, despite the fact it includes some bizarre fantasy scenes, such as the narrator imagining him and his new-found lady playing the parts in every love story he comes across. The romance part tries a bit too hard to be anti-rom-com, but the dynamic between Evans and best friend Scott (Topher Grace) is particularly enjoyable.

Should you watch it? Some people loved this movie, but some people — particularly reviewers — totally hated it. Chris Evans is great in it though — he looks great, he sounds great and he appears to be having a lot of fun in the role. Ultimately, if you’re a fan, it’s a yes.

‘Gifted’ (2017)

What is it? A highly nuanced family drama about a highly-intelligent child. Seven-year-old Mary (Mckenna Grace) has been raised by her uncle Frank Adler (Evans) since her mother’s death. Frank raises Mary in a modest apartment in Florida, and when she enters the public school system, teachers begin to take an interest in her genius-level mathematical ability. We discover that both Frank and Mary – who have a wonderful peer-like friendship – are perfectly aware of her unusual gifts, and when the principal tries to push Frank to put Mary into an advanced school, more of the truth emerges. The entire Adler family is extremely gifted, and Mary’s mother Diane was a dedicated scholar close to solving one of the Millenium Prize problems. Ultimately, this lifestyle led to Diane’s suicide, and Frank – a former philosophy professor – left academia to raise Mary in a much more normal way. When the school starts delving into Mary’s history, Frank and Diane’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) appears back on the scene, and a custody battle between mother and son ensues as Evelyn believes that Mary, like Diane, is a one-in-a-billion prodigy who needs to be pushed as far as she can go.

Should you watch it? Yes, this is far and away the strongest movie of his entire career. Gifted pulls no punches, and Evans’ loving familiarity with both Grace as his niece and – more unusually – Duncan as his mother that he’s technically in a feud with is, like Mary, one-in-a-billion.

We want to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Write a comment below or submit an article to Hypable.

The Hypable App

Free for iOS and Android

Introducing the Hypable app

Free for iOS and Android