Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America Poster Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America is a swift and engaging summer blockbuster. The patriotic superhero gets a serious upgrade in this old-fashioned matinee style flick. Well-cast, acted, and directed, Captain America should please both die-hard fanboys and newcomers. Chris Evans dials the smarm way back and makes for an engaging Steve Rogers and Captain America. The CGI trickery is well used to create a Steve Rogers who is a small and very thin, but brave young man growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn. The movie was directed by Joe Johnston, who made the underrated gem The Rocketeer back in 1991. That movie failed at the box office but connected with audiences on home video and cable. Captain America will surely avoid that fate. Captain America has the same sort of superb period detail and costuming on a larger scale.

Captain America is about a small, bullied kid from Brooklyn named Steve Rogers who is recruited by a scientist (a restrained, likable Stanley Tucci) to join the army and undergo an experiment to become a super soldier in the war against Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. Tommy Lee Jones adds sturdy support as a crusty, amusing Colonel while Hayley Atwell is the plucky, touch love interest. Jones is especially good at playing authority figures (cops, military, etc), though he could play this role in his sleep. Hugo Weaving is also effective as the villanious Red Skull. He commands an offshoot of Hitler’s army named Hydra. Captain America becomes a buff soldier and in the movie’s best scene, he is used as a recruiting tool in glitzy song and dance numbers to get young soldiers to enlist. The scene brilliantly mirrors the reality of the popularity of Captain America during its comic book heyday.

Whatever your politics, Chris Evans makes patriotism fresh and honorable, and Captain America is an entertaining blast at the movies. While not quite on the level of X Men: First Class, the film is better than Thor and the disaster that was Green Lantern. The action scenes are not quite inventive enough to be fresh (though not bad) and the ending is a tad anti-climatic, but besides those issues, Captain America gets things right. Steve Rogers is just a “kid from Brooklyn” who wants to do the ring thing and the movie rings true for fans of all ages.

Grade: B+

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