Movie franchises should take notes from the folks at Marvel. Captain America: The First Avenger is a good movie, that’s part of a larger film series.
Set in 1941, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a sickly young man with a sense of duty larger than his body. After repeatedly being rejected to be a US soldier, Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America.
There are several reasons to like Steve Rogers. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He continues to learn from his mistakes and he’s always more concerned with the people around him, instead of himself. Pleasantly lacking the ego and bravado of a modern day hero. He’s no cynic.
With the assistance of Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones,) Captain America helps take down a rogue Nazi unit led by baddie Red Skull (Hugo Weaving,) who a developed a occult superpower.
The nostalgia of the Captain America is lost on this remake though. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Captain is reinvented as a patriot, who when asked whether he wants to kill Nazis, responds by saying he doesn’t want to kill anyone. He just wants to serve his country. Another reason to like him. He’s the everyman.
I was not as much impressed with the action as much as the general storyline. That campy feel of a WWII war- action drama is there, but the characters own it. They mock themselves. There’s also a romantic subplot that seems to go nowhere. Still, this is a tale of the little guy facing a bully, so you always know who to root for.
This could have been just another run of the mill origin story, which leads us all to the May 2012 release of The Avengers, but it’s not. This movie is self-contained and that is something we see far too little of.