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Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

Shield thrown, target hit. Read full review

4.0

Grae Drake Profile

The red white and blue comes through. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    66

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Once Captain America goes off to war in his endearingly silly suit, however, the movie starts to lose its vibe.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Sticking to its simplistic, patriotic origins, where a muscular red, white and blue GI slugging Adolf Hitler in the jaw is all that's required, Captain America trafficks in red-blooded heroes, dastardly villains, classy dames and war-weary military officers.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    While the story is preposterous and most of the cast standard-issue, it's hard not to like a comic-book movie that features both Busby Berkeley-style dance numbers and high-tech vaporizing weaponry.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Stolidly corny, old-fashioned pulp fun.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Captain America: The First Avenger reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 11+

Comic book adventure mixes patriotism, explosive action.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this 1940s-set comic book-based superhero adventure is full of explosive action violence -- expect tons of gun battles, fireballs, and fistfights (all of which are even more in-your-face in the 3-D version of the movie), as well as a scary-looking villain -- in most other respects, it's pretty tame as these kinds of movies go. Captain America is wholesome, compassionate, and brave; he doesn't have the dark side that many other superheroes do, and he's not a ladies' man or a party animal. There are a couple of tame kisses and a little bit of drinking, as well as a few uses of words like "hell" and "ass," but what lingers after the last bomb has exploded and the last fight is over are the movie's messages about standing up against bullies and doing the right thing. (That and a very strong sense of "U.S.A! U.S.A!" patriotism.)

  • Families can talk about what sets Captain America apart from other superheroes. How does he compare to Batman? Iron Man? Is he more or less of a "good guy" than those characters?
  • At one point Steve Rogers says he doesn't want to kill anybody, but during the movie he dispatches plenty of bad guys. Was that his only option?
  • How does the fact that much of the movie's violence is larger than life affect its impact? How is it different watching masked human soldiers (like the HYDRA minions) get hurt than individual characters?
  • What did you think of the scenes where Captain America performed on stage to inspire people to buy war bonds and join the Army? What does that say about the role of celebrities in our society?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: The movie celebrates the idea of the hero as someone who believes in something greater than him/herself and stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Self-sacrifice, friendship, and loyalty are also key themes. There's a very pro-America message, which is reinforced by the strong patriotism of the 1940s setting. Although Captain America at one point professes a reluctance to kill people, he and his soldiers don't have any qualms offing tons of bad guys or using violence as their main means to solve problems.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Steve Rogers/Captain America is about as wholesome as superheroes come. As both a skinny weakling and a strapping soldier, he's brave, compassionate, resourceful, loyal, and kind. He doesn't have the personal demons/conflict that mark darker heroes like Batman; he is unquestionably a good guy. And though he doesn't seem to mind dispatching Nazis and other bad guys, he also says at one point that he doesn't really want to kill anybody -- he just hates bullies. Agent Carter is a positive female role model; she's respected and good at what she does. Captain America's team is a diverse group (especially for the '40s). The bad guys are clearly evil.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Frequent strong explosive action violence and weapons. Buildings, vehicles, and more are engulfed in fireballs; lots of gun use. A villain known as Red Skull has a monstrous/skeletal face that could be very scary to younger kids. The bad guys are developing super weapons powered by a mysterious energy source; they're extremely powerful, and some can completely vaporize people. Characters are killed, many impersonally/mostly bloodlessly in gun fights and big explosions, but a few (including some we care about) in more upsetting ways -- a couple are shot point-blank, and one goes through a propeller (blood is spattered). Car and motorcycle chases, fist fights, and war imagery. A child is held hostage. A character commits suicide rather than be captured.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some flirting and a couple of kisses; romantic tension between two main characters. Soldiers ogle a woman when she wears a pretty dress. One implied mooning by a soldier; several scenes with Steve/Captain America shirtless.

  • language false2

    Language: Several uses of "hell," plus very infrequent use of "ass," "damn," "son of a bitch," "oh my God," and British slang like "bloody." Some insults, like calling soldiers "ladies" to demean them.

  • consumerism false4

    Consumerism: Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Dr. Erskine drinks some schnapps; he later implies that he had too much, but he's not shown drunk. Soldiers drink beer (and harder liquor) in a pub/bar; one is a little tipsy. Captain America tries to get drunk but is unable to.

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