In 2011, a year that was oversaturated with comic-book movies, this one stands out. Boosted by a slew of great performances and exciting action sequences, Captain America succeeds with style. The story, set during World War II, starts with a scrawny asthmatic weakling named Steve Rogers being repeatedly turned away by recruitment officers because of his physical attributes. His desire to join the army stems from the purest of purposes: he is a true patriot, with a strong sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. He gets his chance to fight when he is selected by a scientist to become a ‘supersoldier’, incredibly strong not only in mind but also in body. Rogers soon meets a formidable opponent in the form of the mysterious, cruel Red Skull, a Nazi in charge of the evil HYDRA division determined to harness an extraterrestrial power to destroy the United States.
Chris Evans, who previously portrayed the Human Torch in the lackluster Fantastic Four films, is excellent and believable as Rogers. He fully brings to life the larger-than-life Captain America figure, playing him with straightforward sensibility and an air of humility even in the face of the character’s extraordinary achievements. Hayley Atwell, who plays the beautiful, no-nonsense Peggy Carter, is both witty and appealing enough to make the audience fall for her as quickly as Captain America does. Hugo Weaving plays the Red Skull with bravado and an air of menace, while Tommy Lee Jones has great fun as a grizzled, cranky Army colonel.
While the idea of a Nazi trying to take over the world has been used to death, and the dialogue is straightforward enough to make me wish that the screenwriters had tried a little harder, Captain America is mostly a thrilling, pleasantly old-fashioned super-hero flick that does a better than average job of creating a likable hero, and introduces the Captain. What it has working for it is that it is undeniably fun. Whatever its shortcomings, the film is a straight-up good time. B+
Image courtesy: Uwire.