Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

RECALLING the cliffhanger TV series of the 1950s, this establishes the origins of one of the most popular superheroes from the Marvel Comics stable.

A scene from the film Captain America: The First Avenger
A scene from the film Captain America: The First Avenger

RECALLING the cliffhanger TV series of the 1950s, this establishes the origins of one of the most popular superheroes from the Marvel Comics stable.

Admittedly, the director has an arsenal of state-of-the-art digital effects at his disposal to spruce up the old-fashioned ideals in the script.

But there’s something rather charming about the underlying themes of self-sacrifice and valour, and a chaste romantic sub-plot between the strapping hero and his feisty dame.

Only the sadistic killing spree of the central villain – a power-hungry Nazi officer with a burned-off face – warrants the 12A certificate that makes the film unsuitable for very young audiences.

It opens in the present day with the discovery of the wreckage of a gargantuan craft then flashes back to 1942 Norway.

A diabolical German officer steals a Cosmic Cube belonging to Odin and charges a mad scientist with harnessing its power as part of his plans for world domination.

Meanwhile in America, a German defector is spearheading a secret programme to create the ultimate soldier.

He chooses asthmatic weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as the perfect candidate, explaining: “the serum amplifies everything inside: good becomes great, bad becomes worse”.

Steve is transformed into a muscle-bound hunk and enthusiastically does his bit for the Allied effort by portraying a fictional character called Captain America at war rallies.

When a good friend is presumed dead, he joins forces with playboy inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to parachute in as Captain America and single-handedly take on the Germans.

The film is an entertaining introduction to the iconic characters, using digital trickery to impose Evans’s head on a scrawny body before his metamorphosis.

Atwell embraces her role as the gutsy love interest with fervour, sparking smouldering screen chemistry with Evans.

Captain America Will Return promises a title card at the end of the film. Indeed he will, alongside Iron Man, Thor and Hulk in the big-budget film version of The Avengers, which will smash into cinemas in summer 2012.

 

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