Holy androstenedione, Batman! Or whatever else it is that’s in the experimental serum that transforms a scrawny kid from Brooklyn into the ultra-buff Super-Soldier known as “Captain America.” He’s really hot, but the movie’s just luke-warm.
Captain America: The First Avenger is the latest in a string of superhero movies flooding the box office this summer. And that is its biggest obstacle: comic-book hero overkill. As much as I, um, admire actor Chris Evans’ body of work as Captain America, I wasn’t as enamored with the overall story as I was with X-Men: First Class. The two movies have quite a bit in common, including roots in the World War II/Nazi era as the set-up for a whole new wave of crime-fighting superheroes.
Captain America: The First Avenger takes place in 1941, as war is raging overseas. A scrappy, 98-pound New Yorker named Steve Rogers (Evans) is eager to enlist in the U.S. Army to help fight the bad guys, but he keeps getting rejected because of his scrawny frame and a myriad of health issues. That is, until a government scientist (Stanley Tucci) sees in Rogers the essence of a hero who, with the help of an experimental super-secret muscle-building serum, could become the Allies’ greatest weapon. Rogers readily agrees to be the serum’s human test pilot, and next thing ya know, the noble misfit is a noble hottie with super-speed, super-strength and a big round protective shield developed by none other than Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) a.k.a. the father of future superhero/Avenger “Iron Man.”
The movie is a bit campy, reminiscent of the 1970s Wonder Woman television series (where is that movie, by the way!?), as “Captain America” and his fellow soldiers are tasked with bringing down the evil HYDRA organization, the Nazi’s deep science division led by Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who’s basically out to destroy the world.
Captain America: The First Avenger is an entertaining enough ride if you’re into all the superhero flicks. But don’t feel compelled to rush out and see this one (showing in 3D and IMAX of course), unless you already have your calendars marked for May 4, 2012. That’s when The Avengers movie is slated for release – featuring the best of the best from the Marvel superhero universe, including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and others. One thing’s for sure – that one should be worth the price of admission, for the eye candy alone.