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Captain America - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Captain America
Directing: B
Acting: B
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+
Special Effects: B-

There's an almost pointed lack of cynicism in Captain America that ultimately lies at the heart of its appeal. Setting it during World War II, with its main character eager to serve its country for reasons virtually anyone today can agree are noble reasons, it's the first movie in ages that manages to be patriotic without being in any way partisan or political. This is an old-fashioned, entertaining superhero movie with just enough earnestness to avoid going over the top.

If Captain America as a character has any fatal flaw, it's the striking similarity he has to Superman: he's essentially incorruptible. There is none of the moral conflict here of, say, Batman. Steve Rogers is simply a runt who is so desperate to join the army that he applies in five different places, only to be rejected until a German American immigrant (Stanley Tucci) comes along to offer him the chance to be the subject of a scientific experiment. Steve gamely complies, until he becomes the superhuman Captain America -- a title cleverly given to him here by virtue of his tour of the U.S. as a cult hero after saving a child, in an effort to sell war bonds.

One might argue that that is where the corniness of his Captain America costume, which is designed for this tour (complete with tights), ends. But let's get real: even when he ends up in his modernized, "gritty" getup, he's still got a stupid helmet on that pointlessly wraps under his eyes.

But okay, maybe I'm just being picky. This is a superhero movie, after all, albeit a fairly derivative one -- Captain America seems to be a combination of Superman (in spirit), the Incredible Hulk (in muscular transformation), and Wonder Woman (in magical far-reaching leaping ability). Probably most of us can agree that Chris Evans is pretty easy on the eyes, at least.

Although the beats and trajectory of the story are pretty standard (superhero origin trappings give way to the inevitable climactic showdown with an only slightly weaker villain -- her played by Hugo Weaving), the writing team here deserves credit for allowing that story to breathe. The script, punctuated with several moments of surprising wit, refuses to rush into the action and instead lets things unfold more organically. Transformers this is not, and thank God for that.

And it's notably straightforward. There isn't a whole lot in the way of nuance here, as it's very standard good vs. evil stuff, but at least it's presented as a solid story, with charming actors bringing otherwise unremarkable characters to life. The whole thing is ultimately yet another set-up to the Avengers movie coming next year, which the Iron Man movies and Thor also led up to, and will be so packed with superheroes and stars that it'll be a miracle if it's even decent.

Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days, after all, and it's nice when any of them turns out halfway decent anymore. Captain America really has little reason for existence other than the movie studio money making machine, but in its defense, it's still a solid piece of pop entertainment, delivering nothing more or less than what it promises.

Chris Evens models the still-silly suit in 'Captain America'.

Overall: B
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