The First Avenger

Mixed feelings today … I left my phone in my car, so I missed a chance to head downtown with a couple friends for a few beers.  But afterwards, instead of sitting around doing nothing, I went to see Captain America, so I made lemonade out of the lemons.

The plot of Captain America opens in the heady days of WWII, and concerns a young man named Steve Rogers – an underweight weakling with lots of health problems – who feels a strong sense of patriotic duty, but is betrayed again and again by his poor health, which keeps him from enlisting.  He meets Dr. Abraham Erskine, who tell Rogers that he can make him into something more.  A screening process and some experiments later, Cap is born.

Cap vies with head of Hydra Johann Schmidt (ably played by sure-thing villain-actor Hugo Weaving), revealed to be (highlight for spoilers) the Red Skull, one of Cap's oldest enemies and one of the most persistent and troubling villains in the Marvel Universe.  Along the way, there is plenty of action, explosions, and ever a few clever one-liners.  Tommy Lee Jones plays Col Phillips, the Army officer in charge of the special research division that gives Cap his powers, with the same terse wit he employed as Agent K in Men In Black.  Hayley Atwell is a servicable Peggy Carter; though her character was thin and predictable, Atwell does the best with what she has … but she is clearly intended as eye candy.  Cap's role was actually well-written and Chris Evans milks it for every high and low, every cheer and angst possible.

Cameos from the Marvel universe abound, for those who know where to look.  And, as always, an bonus scene awaits anyone who can sit through the credits to the very end (and who doesn'tt have to run to the restroom).

All in all, it was rather enjoyable and it was the plot line was basically faithful to the Cap's origin in the comics and subsequent transplant to modern times.  I enjoyed the mixture of myth and science employed in both Cap's creation and the weapons and devices employed by Hydra.  Fantasy or science-fiction?  Like a lot of comics, it's science fantasy.

The stage is certainly set for the Avengers next summer.   My bet is the Super Bowl for the first major commercial / trailer.

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