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I remember at the beginning of PHASE 2 of Marvel’s master plan to rule the theaters with their expanded universe that I was anticipating I would love CAPTAIN AMERICA and probably only like THOR. The irony was that it was exactly the opposite. 

But now having seen CAPTAIN AMERICA a few times it has started to grow on me and I appreciate it for what it is. 

For those that don’t know the story, it is WWII and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a pipsqueak of man with the heart of a lion. But no matter how many times he tries to join up to fight, he’s deemed unfit for combat. Things change when he’s spotted by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) and signed up for an experimental procedure. 

The experiment works better than anyone could have hoped for and Steve transforms into a super soldier dubbed Captain America. At first he’s trotted out as a symbol, but Rogers wants to fight. After taking matters into his own hands, his superiors see his potential on the battlefield, especially when the Nazi scientist known as The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) rears his (literally) ugly head. 

CAPTAIN AMERICA is certainly the most earnest of all the Marvel films thus far, but even though that bothered me at first (I like a little edge with my heroes), it seems appropriate for the material. A period piece, it also reflects the attitudes of the time. 

Chris Evans is much better suited as Captain America than he was as Johnny Storm in the somewhat subpar FANTASTIC FOUR and its slightly better sequel. 

Directed by Joe Johnston (JUMANJI, THE ROCKETEER), the action is well handled and he keeps the story moving even though it’s a tad overly long at just over 2 hours. 

Kudos also goes to the costume design. Captain America in particular has a tough costume to translate into film. But what could have been cheesy is handled brilliantly. They do a fantastic job establishing why he dresses as he does and are even brave enough to poke fun at it. 

All in all, CAPTAIN AMERICA is one of the better Marvel films and I’m primed and pumped for the sequel WINTER SOLDIER that as the early reviews suggest, is one of the best films in the series so far. I will, of course, let you know what I think when I see it this week.

MARCH 29, 2014