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I have to admit, I didn't have high expectations for the Captain America movie. They're tried to adapt it twice before and... well, it was ridiculous. And I'm not just talking about the costume.

So it came as a pleasant surprise that this latest comic book movie is not only better than the previous adaptations of Captain America's story, but is a robust, action-packed thriller in its own right. "Captain America: The First Avenger" has an earnest, idealistic tone mingled sometimes poignant realism -- exactly what it needs to have.

The time: World War II. Scrawny asthmatic Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) desperately wants to defend his country, but he's too puny to enter the army. Dr. Abraham Erskine sees the goodness and courage in Steve's heart, and enlists him in a top-secret experiment to create a super-soldier. Within minutes, Steve has superhuman strength, speed and big shiny muscles. HOORAY!

Unfortunately, the army seems more interested in using the superpowered Captain America as a mascot than a fighter. Are you really surprised? This is the GOVERNMENT we're talking about.

When Steve learns that his best buddy has been captured by the Nazis, he singlehandedly invades an enemy base and rescues dozens of soldiers. But this brings him to the attention of the Nazi super-science division Hydra, and its malevolent leader Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) -- who is the only other man as strong as Captain America.

This summer has had a lot of comic book movies -- some were horribly disappointing ("Green Lantern," "Priest") and some were wonderful ("Thor"). I wasn't entirely sure which kind of movie "Captain America: The First Avenger" would be, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well-written and solidly-plotted it was.

There's also a lot of gritty, smoky action with flying bullets (and shields), fiery explosions, and speeding trains carrying machine-gun robots. But the writers don't neglect the human side of Captain America's story, whether it's his friendship with a fellow soldier or his budding romance with an icy sharpshooter.

My biggest criticism is the MacGuffinness of the subplot MacGuffin, which really doesn't do anything except also be an unnecessary deus ex machina. Really, was there ANY reason for the Odin cube to be in this?

As for the cast, they're uniformly solid. Chris Evans plays Steve as earnest, sweet and loyal, but with iron-clad determination and plenty of courage, and he's backed by excellent performances by Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones and a steely-nerved sharpshooting Hayley Atwell. And Hugo Weaving is AWESOME -- this guy can play a Nazi in a red latex mask, and still come across as insanely scary.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is a lot like Captain America himself -- robust, action-packed, with a good earnest heart at its core. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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While this film represents a fairly accurate adaptation of the Jack Kirby character and origin, it does take a few liberties (pun intended). First, the costume. While it's not much of a detriment to the movie, I don't see why making changes to iconic costumes are done at all. What's worse is that they insulted the original design by turning into a cheap, ill-fitting USO costume with puffy plush wings on the temples. Clearly the filmmakers were going out of their way to make the original costume look silly when they could have easily made it "real" and cool without changing it. Cap's shirt is supposed to be chainmail, not spandex.

Second, the origin. It's fairly faithful (definitely more than Thor was), except that instead of Rogers just being skinny, he's now also diminutive in stature. But it's a small point to make (again, pun intended) and the special effects done to Chris Evans were definitely effective. Tony Stark's father being involved in the experiment was another unnecessary addition, but again it doesn't detract from the scene too much. Also, Spider-Man is the one who had the showbiz career before he became a heroic crime-fighter, not Cap. Why the USO subplot was inserted into the film, I don't know. Just as I don't know why Spidey becoming a successful performer is always left out of his movies. It's pretty messed up.

Third, and most importantly, the heroes' use of lethal force. This is the worst offender of modern super-hero films and they are all guilty of it. As long as it continues they'll never earn a five-star rating in my book. In the MCU, Iron Man supposedly gained a conscience when he vowed to stop making weapons of mass destruction, only to later put on a wearable weapon himself and do the killing personally. Likewise, the Incredible Hulk was said to have murdered dozens of people. (Compare that to Bill Bixby's Hulk, who was said not to kill because Banner could not kill). You would think that Captain America would be the one to draw the line on this kind of behavior. Just because the government says it's not illegal to kill during wartime doesn't invalidate the fact that it is immoral, and you'd think Steve is not the kind of person who would throw his opponents out of planes without parachutes.

I don't buy the excuse that times are different now, that the world is darker. Not only were most of these classic super-heroes invented during times of war (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) but they were invented BECAUSE of it--to combat the horrors of war with optimism. But at least the heroes of the MCU are tempered with some sense of decency and responsibility and are frequently shown saving innocent bystanders. They also have something human called a sense of humor. Conversely, look at the negative backlash to "Man of Steel" and "Batman v. Superman," films whose grim agendas apparently endorse so-called "heroes" carelessly racking up "collateral damage." More and more, audiences are speaking with their dollars to keep misguided filmmakers inline where these iconic, optimistic role-models are concerned.

There's not a tremendous amount of action in this film, surprising considering it's Captain America, whose Kirby-drawn tales define action. What little there is has that overly-processed, "fake" look to it (e.g. the zip-lining to the train scene), something that plagues most modern movies. But the film has heart and isn't a frantic CGI mess, so I would be remiss in giving it less than four stars.
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By now, everything that anyone can say about this movie has been said. At the time it was released I was going into a "not another Marvel hero" mood. So I passed it up. Then I saw it on television and decided that it would indeed be a movie I would like to watch and enjoy. At present, I am having fun looking for the errors in it and have reached 17. But that only adds to the fun. Watch my favourite musical "The Bandwagon", and while Nanette Fabray is singing 'Louisiana Hayride', watch for the stage hand who wanders on camera. And no one at MGM caught it. But "Captain America", jingoism aside, is essentially a well made film, and has many special effects that are not of simply destroying the set when it tries for an action sequence; that particular device should now be banned from films. And that magic here is one of its best features. So is the cast, the direction, and the superb camera work.
So even those of us who think we are 'too old' for this fun, need to rethink that, and this is about as good a starting point that I can imagine.
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on December 20, 2013
There is an element of irony in the way Captain America feels today. Strong, patriotic, never questioning his beliefs, etc. He is a living caricature of the American Dream, and director Joe Johnston plays it like such for the majority of the movie, but never at the expense of the character or the actor. And this is what makes the movie so good (for me, it is): many characters meet irony in the face when Rogers becomes Captain America. The symbol may lack perspectives, but Rogers is all heart when it comes to battling the Red Skull's army. The time reconstitution is quite astounding, and so are the special effects, all blended for the purpose of bringing the comic book character to cinematic life for the first time (let's not talk about that 1990 Captain America movie, please).

For a fan who expects many special features, Marvel and Paramount have grown quite cheap indeed, for they include just under 60 or 70 minutes of special features, never really going deep into the process of production, following the EPK formula of interviews and what a great time it was, etc. They feel rushed and not even scratching the surface.

Nevertheless, that shouldn't hold you from watching Captain America The First Avenger, for it contains its fair share of fun, action, special effects and all the goodies one may have come to love and enjoy from a Marvel movie.
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It’s World War II and the US Army needs to up its game in its war against the villainous Nazis under the command of Adolf Hitler.

Enter Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a little guy from Brooklyn with all sorts of health problems, but who has possibly the strongest sense of morals and courage than any man on the front line. Unfortunately, due to his fragility, Steve is not allowed to join the American army despite multiple tries. A scientist experimenting in a super soldier serum for the US army notices this and offers him a chance to take part in a dangerous procedure that, if it goes well, will grant Steve superhuman-like abilities and enable him to be an ultimate man, athlete and warrior. Steve accepts and transforms into the world’s first super soldier: Captain America.

Meanwhile, the first test subject of the serum, Johann Schmidt–aka the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving)–has come into possession of the Tesseract cube, a powerful energy source rumored to be from Asgard. His plan? Nothing less than overthrowing Hitler himself and taking over the world.

If only we had a super soldier to stop him. Wait . . . we do.

His name is Captain America.

Like all good fanboys, I saw this movie in the theatre. Having grown up on the cheesy Captain America movies starring Reb Brown and, later, the 1990 version with Matt Salinger, a part of me, I admit, was waiting for a repeat of the 1990 film (in the general sense). I was more interested in how Captain America: The First Avenger would tie into the then upcoming Avengers and this movie didn’t disappoint.

The introduction of the Tesseract–which would be key in Avengers–was real smart on the filmmakers’ part because not only did it point to the forthcoming ensemble film, but also gave a quick link to the Thor movie as well.

Watching Chris Evans as Steve Rogers was fantastic. He really suits the role and played it perfectly. I wasn’t sure how the once Human Torch–all witty and sarcastic–would fare as the famous super soldier, and I’m glad Chris Evans proved he can play a kind of Superman-like character as well. Seeing him play both the small, frail Steve Rogers (facially, anyway, as someone else’s body was used), to playing the suped-up Steve made the film truly a story about how our greatest power lies within as opposed to externally.

Likewise, Hugo Weaving as Red Skull did a great job, especially since playing villains is no strange task to Weaving (Agent Smith, anyone?). Even with the German haircut he looked different never mind later when his red skull visage was revealed.

The story was simple and, like the first Spider-Man movie, I left the theatre underwhelmed. After seeing it a second time, I saw it for what it was and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the end battle was anti-climatic. It didn’t need to be an all-out brawl between Cap and Red Skull, but it felt brief considering these two are the heads and tails of the same coin. Some sort of super soldier/titan clash would have punched up the ending. Speaking of which, the ending of this movie has one of the best last lines to a flick ever. It was the kind of line I try to end my own novels on, one that finishes the tale but also has a punch to it.

As far as superhero stories go, the World War II setting gave the genre a breath of fresh air movie-wise as, thus, far, pretty much every super flick to come out recently is all set in the modern day. Alternate times and/or worlds with a superhero figure are few and far between. The Spirit is the only one that comes to mind in this regard.

After this movie and Avengers, I’m excited to see Captain America: Winter Soldier, which is presently set for 2014.
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on December 11, 2011
I found this movie very entertaining. The special effects were fantastic. And when Chris Evans comes out of the machine bulked up and oiled down I knew I had to own this movie.(Sorry but what a hottie!) I never followed this in the comic books, but I did enjoy it. Check it out.
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on April 10, 2014
Great to see the origins story of Cap - But $41 for a movie that' has already been out for a while now and is not considered a blockbuster is ridiculous.
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on May 17, 2014
The action is well done and place in a very good sequence. As a whole this movie is entertaining and the characters are good. If you love action you will love this one.
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on December 9, 2013
It's a very entertaining movie. Fast paced.

I think every Marvel fan should watch it.

Even maybe even sci-fi lovers.
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on May 14, 2014
I'm a fan of the Marvel Franchise films. This one is a pretty good effort. The Winter Soldier is far better, but this story is good
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