Captain America: The First Avenger, the next big Marvel superhero film – and the precursor to the highly-anticipated The Avengers, is out in less than two weeks. Fortunately, that means the media output for the film will be more and more frequent.

Today, Marvel/Paramount released a number of very pretty production stills from the film, featuring Cap, Bucky, the Red Skull, the Howling Commandos, Peggy Carter, and more.

There are some pretty gorgeous and crystal clear images here, one of which gives us possibly the best look yet at Cap and Bucky, side-by-side. Bucky fans will notice that the color of his coat is a darker hue than the original Bucky, and the exact same color as Winter Soldier’s outfit. This is further evidence that the Winter Soldier storyline from the comics will feature prominently in a hypothetical sequel.

Check out the Captain America photos below, courtesy of Coming Soon (click to enlarge):

Furthermore, this is the first time we’ve seen really up close and personal shots of Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan and Toby Jones (doing his best Major Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark impression) as the villainous Arnim Zola.

In the comics, Zola eventually constructs a sort of robot body for himself – with a holographic image of his human face on the chest plate – which allows him to “live” on through the ages.

Lastly, we get a few glimpses of the way-ahead-of-its-time technology utilized by the Red Skull and Hydra – perhaps as a result of discovering the Cosmic Cube? In fact, check out Derek Luke’s Gabe Jones (the first black man to serve in an integrated unit in the canon of the Marvel universe) wielding a massive Hydra gun he probably stripped from a deceased villain soldier. Does this mean that Gabe’s famed golden horn won’t be making an appearance?

Captain America is the last vestige of Marvel Studio blockbusters until The Avengers on May 4th, 2012. Additionally, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag this year as far as superhero films go: Thor was fairly well-received and a modest success, X-Men: First Class seems primed to do a little better than break even, and Green Lantern fell far below box office expectations. The point being: Nothing so far this year has been mind-blowingly awesome. Hopefully, Captain America is mind-blowingly awesome and then some.

Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters July 22nd, 2011.

Source: Coming Soon

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.