Who's In It: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci
The Basics: In World War II, Steve Rogers (Evans) is desperate to join the ranks of America's military and follow his family's legacy--the only problem is he's about 90 pounds soaking wet and keeps getting rejected. But perseverance and lying is the American way, so when he applies for the fifth time and crosses paths with Dr. Erskine (Tucci), his dream comes true. What he didn't know was that he was part of a unit of guinea pigs for a strength enhancing experiment. He's the first to be put under the knife, and then all hell breaks loose so he is the only one that got pumped up to evolve into tall, beefy and extra-strong Captain America. He learns the hard way that a similar experiment resulted in his supremely evil Nazi counterpart Johann Schmidt (Weaving), or Red Skull to his Nazi pals, so Captain America sets out to fulfill his destiny of being a part of the military and helping good win over evil.
What's The Deal: My perception of this summer is that our superheroes are failing us--the Avengers franchise got off to a slow start, and DC Comics is quaking in it's comic-y boots over the future of its properties. Luckily, Captain America showed up to save the day--it's so meta, I just can't stand it. He's saving people in the movie, and he's also saving our summer. Get it? I had a blast watching this movie, and think it was definitely the strongest superhero movie I have seen since Iron Man. It actually went so far as to remind me of days of old, where action heroes were valiant and adorable, and you just want them to kick the bad guy's butts and get the girl.
Prepare Yourself: Chris Evans had yet to really live up to the star power that his biceps promise…until now. He is so rock solid in this movie (both physically and in his acting) that I'm now thrilled about seeing him next year in the Avengers movie. It was starting to seem that in order to have another hit superhero flick, the character had to have the swagger of Tony Stark, but no--Chris Evans and Steve Rogers are pretty much the antithesis of Robert Downey Jr.'s character, and it worked just as well. He nailed this one. Nice work Chris, I sat through Push because I knew you were capable of great things. Now if my stock portfolio would pay off the same way...
Warm Fuzzies: I actually, for the first time in ages, bought the love subplot. The script allowed Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter (Atwell) to actually develop an attraction for each other instead of just flicking on the "I'm Hot For You" light switch when his abs were showing. Her character wasn't terribly interesting, but she wasn't as two dimensional as others I've seen. The movie kept me laughing enough to excuse it for its faults, which brings me to…
No Weak Links: Every secondary character in this movie is well-written enough to be interesting and have a moment that bolsters the quality of the entire production. Tommy Lee Jones steals the show as Colonel Chester Phillips, bringing furrowed brows and sharp sarcasm, Dominic Cooper charmed as Howard Stark, and Stanley Tucci touched my heart with all his liquor swigging and compassion. Hugo Weaving was his usual excellently evil self, while tense yet endearing Toby Jones as his scientist sidekick quivers in a corner. It's hard to pick a favorite, everyone was so good.
Eye Candy: Director Joe Johnston captures the look and feel of the '40s wartime and comic books without trying too hard. And Chris Evans is allowed to settle into his Captain America kicks and show his motivation and character; unlike Green Lantern, which just threw Ryan Reynolds into a whirlwind of gobbledygook and didn't give him a chance to show his personality.
Okay, There Is ONE Thing… The plot details escaped me a bit because I was so busy being dazzled by the acting and chemistry. All I know is, Red Skull is bad and has lots of powerful and shiny blue weapons, and he must be stopped. It was so exciting I kind of lost focus, just like when I saw Raiders for the first time. That's a nice memory to associate with this film.