At its heart, the story of Captain America has always been about the underdog fighting the good fight against evil. In this film’s case, the underdog is Steve Rogers, a 30-pound weakling whose only dream is to join the army and fight for his country. The “evil” is a red faced Nazi who is out to take over the world with a combination of science and magic. What could have amounted to a cheesy rendition of an old fashioned hero actually takes a 3D twist and transfers to the big screen quite well. Not really knowing what I was in for, this film was a pleasant surprise with lots of great performances and a plot that never gets heavy-handed or cheesy.
Playing our hero is Chris Evans, hot off his turn as Johnny Storm (the Human Flame) of the “Fantastic Four.” When I heard he was gonna be playing Cap, I immediately thought he would play it with a sly grin and a bit of arrogance. But he surprised me with a very charismatic yet humble turn as the anemic Rogers and then later as the bulked up Captain America. With the help of some serious CGI, the director and his special effects crew somehow manage to take Evans’ head and put it on the body of someone who is probably a 12-year old kid. How they did it, I don’t know but it totally works and never once did I think it looked fake or cheesy. As the story goes, Rogers is recruited by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) for his good heart and his underdog status to take a super serum that will make him into a super soldier.
For whatever reason, Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) decides NOT to put the new super soldier into battle right away so Cap decides to go on tour with a traveling group to get the country excited about buying bonds to help the soldiers at war. After a few months of performing on stage, it becomes obvious that Captain America needs to get to work and so the Colonel ‘s assistant, Peggy Carter (played by a stunning Hayley Atwell) and Iron Man’s father, Howard Stark (played cooly by Dominic Cooper), find him and send him on a mission to rescue a captured platoon of soldiers. It is on this mission that Cap meets his nemesis for the first time and The Red Skull is as much a super soldier as he is. The Skull (Hugo Weaving) is a menacing maniac and as with his evil Agent Smith in the Matrix movies, Weaving brings a special amount of snarl to the character.
As with all super hero movies, there are plot holes and I’m not a fan of the ending of “Captain America” even though I know why they did what they did. All of the Marvel movies (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk) are leading up to next summer’s “The Avengers” and so they had to get Steve Rogers into the modern age somehow but still the ending is a bit contrite. Overall though, compared to “Thor,” I found this film to be a lot more “believable” (as far as comic book movies go) and I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire movie! And I can finally say…go see this movie in 3D!!! It’s the first movie in a while that actually looks great with all the tanks and planes and lazer guns and such. And the art deco from the 40’s really pops with the 3D. The end credits are really cool with Rosie The Riveter and other 40’s icons making an appearance and don’t leave too early because there is a sweet trailer for “The Avengers” movie at the end!
OVERALL RATING: A