Bravo for this patriotic tour de force... Sure it has flaws, but it packs a wallop of nostalgia! Who can remember those air raid sirens during WWII? Our nation needed faith and this film delivers the feelings of this period. This alone separates Captain America from the glut of superhero films. The nonstop action and seamless special effects will leave you wondering just how they morphed Steve Rogers into a 98 pound pint sized emaciated version of his movie-star-handsome-Chris Evans-self?.
A visit to the 1940s World's Fair and the red white and blue USO dancing girls capture this period piece of sweet apple pie and apple pan dowdy slice of history. How can we forget the despair uniting our nation coupled with a longing to murder Nazis? Oh, how we needed a Captain America and we got one in the character Steve Rogers played to perfection by Chris Evans. His response when asked if he wants to kill Nazis is, "I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies." Then shouts to his mates, "Don't win the war til I get there."
Instead of dissecting its flaws, just go with its purity so rare in today's cinema. Purity of images and of spirit. Oh, yes there is violence and a savage Nazi Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) with a red Satan-like face, but, hey, it's Marvel Comics. His "Red Skull" looks like he stepped out of a Nazi center fold. We have lots of POW, BAFF, and EKK. Esteemed French writer Celine, known for his worship of rhythm, slang, and vulgar speech would get it. This film is for those beyond the scope of comic book aficionados. Director Joe Johnston has seen to it that the script has nicely developed characters, an exciting plot and punchy dialogue by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Captain America is about skinny, scrawny Steve Rogers, who is rejected repeatedly by the army due to his weak body. Finally Rogers is enlisted with the help of Dr. Abraham Erskine, played by Stanley Tucci, who delivers a spot-on performance of a military wizard, and who has developed a serum to create a "super soldier." Lack of energy has never been Tucci's problem. Here he radiates in his portrait of the mad scientist. Dr. Erskine, unconcerned with Rogers' physic, sees the selflessness of his character and manipulates the drafting of Rogers for his experiment. It is a success because out of this emaciated man emerges a beautiful specimen -- a kind of 'Wonder Man', our Superhero. Rogers' pecs are about to be touched by his love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and as an audience member you will identify with her desire. Carter is written with verve and portrays a woman who stands up to our superhero when necessary by shooting a bullet into his shield to test its invincibility. Colonel Oliver Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) had opposed the choice of Rogers for the experiment, but when he sees Dr. Erskine's results, he is won over. Still Colonel Phillips does not feel Rogers is fit for battle. To Rogers's shame and dismay, he becomes a male pinup or a kind of Vargas Guy for the troops and suffers humiliation for having to perform in front of soldiers who ridicule him. Rogers longs for combat and escapes from a plane and parachutes into enemy territory to free soldiers. He returns them unharmed to an embarrassed Colonel Phillips played with the usual Tommy Lee Jones humor and charisma.
All the while the Nazi villain, Johann Schmidt, is out to destroy the earth and Captain America's destiny is to destroy him. The ending of the film leaves you hanging in the air, but you've been on such a whirlwind adventure through the Alps, into enemy Nazi factories and camps and sky diving with explosives that you will realize a few loose ends can lead you into a nice sequel if the BO is substantial which it deserves to be.
Captain America defends America's ideals, as does this film. We need not forget this period of our nation's history and this movie is here for all of us to remember. Long Live Captain America!