There is something very appealing in the gee-whiz earnestness and plucky patriotism of Captain America: The First Avenger (Paramount), a red, white and blue superhero journey wrapped up in the nostalgia of the World War II era, where American pluck and moral certainty made the battle.
As the title hints, it is something of a feature-length prologue to the upcoming superhero extravaganza The Avengers, showing us exactly why the star-spangled Captain is the standard bearer of superhero ideals. Next to the psychotic obsession of Batman and the wisecracking, fun-loving spirit of Spiderman, Cap is the boy scout of the genre: brave, virtuous, earnest, so square he’s almost hip. And the film owes all due credit to Chris Evans, who brings a convincing mix of pluck, modesty and duty to the role, embodying an icon without turning it into parody. He’s the guy who steps up at every challenge, whether he’s the scrawny, sickly, 4-F Brooklyn kid constantly scrapping with bullies while trying every trick to enlist or the super soldier leading a squad of howling commandoes against greater numbers to take out The Red Skull, Hitler’s madman of a freelance mini-Fuhrer.