To celebrate the Fourth of July, we watched Captain America: The First Avenger, which was one of my Father's Day presents. It was a fun action film with a lot of heart in it.
The story is about Steve Rogers, a young New Yorker in 1942 who wants to sign up to fight in World War II. The problem is he's a 90-pound weakling with health problems, i.e. 4F material, more so than even George Bailey. He winds up in a special secret U.S. Army unit that is working on a super-soldier serum. He is selected to take the serum which turns him into a lean, sleek, taller fighting man. Of course an enemy spy sneaks in and blow up the equipment and shoots the head scientist, so Rogers is the only one of his kind. He fights against the Nazis and their special secret unit, Hydra, that has its own plans for world domination.
The movie hits all the WWII tropes: liberating POW camps, jumping motorcycles, flying fortresses, attacking a train in motion, assaulting secluded mountain hideaways, moving plastic pieces on a giant table map, parachuting behind enemy lines, drinking in smoky bars, etc. etc. They come off not so much as cliches but as homages to the great WWII flicks that came before.
Chris Evans gives a great performance as Steve Rogers. He communicates the decency and honesty of the character and is as convincing emotionally as physically. Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull gives a good performance though I couldn't shake the feeling his German accent was an imitation of Werner Herzog. The rest of the cast is convincing and enjoyable.
It's not a perfect film but it is a ton of fun and surprisingly patriotic and heart-warming without being ham-fisted or overly melodramatic.
p.s. As I post this, the Amazon price of the DVD is $17.76, which can't really be an accident, can it?
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