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Captain America: The First Avenger movie poster

Captain America: The First Avenger: Movie Review

Genre: Action, Adventure
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Joe Johnston

Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Sebastian Stan, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci
Released by: Paramount Pictures

In Short: Director Joe Johnston, star Chris Evans and a talented cast of believable supporting characters combine to create a potent comic-book hero flick that satisfies old-school purists and those who have never read a graphic novel in their lives.

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"Captain America" Does Marvel Proud

The year 2011 has seen the release of a lot of movies based on comic books ("The Green Hornet," "Priest," "Thor," "X-Men: First Class" and "Green Lantern"), but not one of them has succeeded like the Captain.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" has it all. A hero we can love (not some jerk like the "Green Lantern" or buffoon like "The Green Hornet"), a great, despicable nemesis (Red Skull), a female protagonist who can actually act (Hayley Atwell) and take action, and a plot that doesn't mess with the original comics. In fact, fans of the eponymous Marvel Comics series will delight in the many homages to the original covers that are thrown into the mix, in this origin story set in the midst of World War Two.

Hayley Atwell in Captain America: The First Avenger Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger

But you don't need to have read a single "Captain America" issue to enjoy this well-directed tale of a 98-pound weakling with a heart of gold. When we first meet Steve Rogers (who will soon transform into the scientifically enhanced Captain), he's small and skinny, but determined to enlist in the U.S. Army to fight against Hitler and the Nazis. Through a perfect CGI process, leading man Chris Evans' head is morphed onto a small man's body, which makes his eventual transformation into the massive captain completely believable. But when he is a small, asthmatic guy, our hero repeatedly proves that he really is a hero, which makes us cheer on his later exploits as the massive, superhuman Captain America with gusto.

It certainly helps that the movie is filled with exciting action sequences, including one of a train thundering through the Alps that will take your breath away. Plus, the well-told story and a cast of secondary characters that capture your imagination and make you root hard for their success help as well. The period setting works perfectly, too, giving the film a terrific look and retro feel that's in keeping with the original comics.

"Captain America" is a blast, and a movie that should definitely be seen on the big screen. Our only caveat: the 3D experience is nothing to get excited about, barely making a bit of difference, so save your money and see the film in 2D instead. It surely will satisfy your hero cravings, be they comic book-based or not, like no other that has come before this year.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters


(Updated: 07/21/11 CT)

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