Chris Evans has a lot in common with a superhero. He’s exibited dual identities, and done a good job playing up them both.
The former ‘Human Torch’ of Marvel’s recent ‘Fantastic Four’ films did a nice job playing a young cocky would be X gamer with an incredible power in a tough situation.
Now, as Marvel’s flagship stars and stripes icon ‘Captain America,’ Evans shows the acting chops to make the former hero he played grow up and be respected.
Superhero fans know the story. Puny Steve Rogers does all he can to fight for his country. His heart pumps red,white and blue, but his body is too weak to follow his wishes.
An army experiment with a super steroid gives Rogers the body of a god. The rest is history.
The movie gives Rogers that patriotism, (and where the comic books have been guilty at times at making him have it till he’s syrupy with it, the movie doesn’t do this.) Rogers is tough, despite his body (and it’s the nicest bit of cg morphing I’ve ever seen.) His true patriotic nature is there, and emerges naturally.
He’s helped along his journey by a German Doctor, (played perfectly by Stanley Tucci), and a gruff Colonel, (Tommy Lee Jones.)
When Rogers turns buff, the Army decides to use him as a poster child to sell war bonds, instead of letting him fight.
This is all taking place during World War 2, where a crazed Nazi named Johan Schmitt (Hugo Weaving), is splintering off from doing Hitler’s bidding, and starts doing his own. He has used his men and means to form his own military faction called Hydra.
When Rogers finds that a friend of his is taken captive by Hydra, along with other soldiers, Rogers sneaks behind enemy lines to save them.
This allows him to go from poster child to legit soldier.
Along the way, Weaving’s character reveals himself as The Red Skull, the most popular comic book villain.
There are space age weapons that come from something introduced in the ‘Thor’ movie from earlier this year.
This is a little distracting from the otherwise period piece, but doesn’t take you out of it completely.
Fans of the comics know that the good Captain does come forward in time.
The movie uses this plot point as its ender,(and no I’m not ruining anything.)
The performances are good all around, and Evans does great along his transformation.
Where I think the movie lacks a bit in is in heart and substance. The action is great, but the film is obviously the last puzzle piece to set up ‘The Avengers’ movie that’s hitting next May.
In trying to set it up, there’s an abruptness in some spots, (and the ending) that leaves a little bit of a hollow taste.
All in all, ‘Captain America’ works. It’s got a lot of nice characteristics, and is the best cinematic incarnation of the character I’ve ever seen. I just wish it were a little meatier.