Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America (2011)

The weakest of the Marvel Avenger films so far, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is the transformation of Steve Rogers from 90 pound weakling to Nazi-stomping superhero.  Unfortunately, the film is a whole lot of the form and a convoluted mess of the latter.

Try though he might, Steve Rogers can’t join up to go save the day in Europe – too scrawny and weak for the military, he’s doomed to sit on the sidelines until scientists offer him the chance to be the man he wants to be.  Reborn as Captain America, he still struggles to find his place in the war effort until he takes his fate by the horns and charges into the fray to save the day against the evil Hydra!  Sound exciting?  You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

This movie had all the pieces that it should have needed.  Well-meaning do-gooder volunteers to save the day, heroism, guys going off to war for mom, democracy and apple pie, a sinister enemy, super heroes, explosions, everything!  The History Channel managed to build an entire network out of Hitler and his Nazi cronies and this movie couldn’t make the guy who’s MORE evil and sinister into an interesting story.  The film takes FOREVER to get going.  By the time he becomes Captain America, it’s halfway over.  Once it DOES get going, most of what Captain America and his cohorts do is glossed over montage-style, because apparently the actual fighting and beating up bad guys isn’t nearly as important as Captain America trying to get a date and sell war bonds.  Red Skull and Hydra discover a hideous new power source (which is never explained) and use it to create a boatload of powerful new weapons (which are basically just lasers) and a doomsday machine that will decimate America (although is never fully explored why or how).  All of this so that our hero can find himself in a ridiculously contrived plot device to get him from World War II to the present day without the rest of the Avengers having to wheel him around in a wheelchair (apparently, the “superhero” thing wouldn’t have been plausible enough).

The highlights of the film are Hugo Weaving as Red Skull and the CGI that they used to drop Chris Evans’ head on a scrawny frame in the beginning.  Tommy Lee Jones is good as the resident hard-nosed commander, but he seems too big for the role…you keep expecting more.  Really, that’s the problem with the whole film…you keep expecting more.  The whole thing plays as a whole lot of unnecessary backstory to set up the Avengers movie, when most people would have been perfectly happy just having Captain America in the movie without this.

Stars: 2/5


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