The Marvel Comics superhero Captain America was born of World War II, so if you're going to do the origin story in a movie you'd better set it in the 1940s. But how, then, to reconcile that hero with the 21st-century mega-blockbuster The Avengers, a 2012 summit meeting of the Marvel giants, where Captain America joins Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk and other super pals? Stick around, and we'll get to that. In 1943, a sawed-off (but gung-ho) military reject named Steve Rogers is enlisted in a super-secret experiment masterminded by adorable scientist Stanley Tucci and skeptical military bigwig Tommy Lee Jones. Rogers emerges, taller and sporting greatly expanded pectoral muscles, along with a keen ability to bounce back from injury. In both sections Rogers is played by Chris Evans, whose sly humor makes him a good choice for the otherwise stalwart Cap. (Benjamin Button-esque effects create the shrinky Rogers, with Evans's head attached.) The film comes up with a viable explanation for the red-white-and-blue suit 'n' shield--Rogers is initially trotted out as a war bonds fundraiser, in costume--and a rousing first combat mission for our hero, who finally gets fed up with being a poster boy. Director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman) makes a lot of pretty pictures along the way, although the war action goes generic for a while and the climax feels a little rushed. Kudos to Hugo Weaving, who makes his Nazi villain a grand adversary (with, if the ear doesn't lie, an imitation of Werner Herzog's accent). If most of the movie is enjoyable, the final 15 minutes or so reveals a curious weakness in the overall design: because Captain America needs to pop up in The Avengers, the resolution of the 1943 story line must include a bridge to the 21st century, which makes for some tortured (and unsatisfying) plot developments. Nevertheless: that shield is really cool. --Robert Horton
The First Avenger came in the mail in perfect condition with both the DVD and BLU Ray also in perfect condition.
Watched the whole film on bluray without any issues. Read more