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Captain America: The First Avenger

Among the dozens of comics I read in my youth, Captain America was a favourite. The tale of the super-soldier fighting for his country captivated the imagination with Joe Simon’s and Jack Kirby’s iconic creation leaping to life from its comic book pages.  Although a low-budget film version was made of his exploits in 1990, this update makes for a better cinematic adventure for a hero always fighting under the star spangled banner.

 

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a weak army cadet who enlists in an experiment to create super-soldiers.  Given a special serum he becomes a hulking fighting machine ready to take on anyone.  An opponent arrives in the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), a dreaded former Nazi officer determined to take over the world.  Helped by an array of colourful friends and using the moniker Captain America, Rogers fights for justice and freedom before the planet meets a cataclysmic end.

 

The latest in a very long-line of superhero movies, Captain America suffers somewhat from ‘comic book overload’.  Whilst it dazzles with action and razor sharp CGI its story isn’t really anything new.  There’s more than a touch of the familiar as it charts his origins and his ensuing battle with the wicked Red Skull.  The actors do their best and are fine but having seen so many of these films one expects something more than the perfunctory offering given.

 

Not that it isn’t enjoyable as there is much to admire.  The World War Two setting allows the production designers to have a field day with the cinematography expertly capturing the gaudy remnants of the era.  Somehow the addition of hi-tech weaponry within the plot takes away some of this sheen seeming out of place in the old fashioned narrative.  Chris Evans makes for a fine hero however and equips himself well when required.  Hopefully he will further refine the character in the upcoming Avengers movie due next year.

 

Captain America: The First Avenger is a reasonable if not remarkable addition to the genre.  Whilst it could have done with more spark and robust direction, it does the required job and should satisfy fans who grew up marvelling at the exploits of the ultimate freedom fighter.

 

Rating out of 10:  6

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