When this Captain America movie was first announced, no one outside of the 50 states was expecting anything special. As the film’s subtitle alleges, the Captain may be The First Avenger, but he’s still a patriotic prat in tights whose main powers seem to be excessive arrogance and blunt force. So respect is due to Joe Johnston and his screenwriters for not only fashioning a highly entertaining comic-book action, but for making this most divisive of costumed crusaders universally relatable.

The film’s period setting helps: by taking the character back to his mid-’40s roots and pitting him against the Nazis, the filmmakers have neatly sidestepped questions of American imperialism. They even take a few witty potshots at patriotic fervour in a terrific mid-film musical sequence, as weed-turned-warrior hero Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) traverses the country selling war bonds and bopping a comedy Adolf on the nose.

But the film has other problems: the action scenes are inventive, but can feel somewhat slight; the characters are well sketched but far too plentiful; and the 3D effects are confusing – if you can catch this in 2D, you probably should. Most damagingly of all, Captain America is hamstrung by its commitment to the upcoming Marvel superhero ensemble movie, The Avengers, leading to a deeply unsatisfying non-sequitur ending. The result is pacy and punchy, but not quite a knockout.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Duration: 124 mintues
Released: Sep 1st
Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci
Language: English
Classification: PG13
Captain America: The First Avenger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_America:_The_First_Avenger_(film)
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