Reel Views: Captain America a patriotic good time

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

In anticipation of The Avengers, which is set to hit theaters in 2012, Marvel has given viewers origin flick after origin flick so that everyone may be better acquainted with the members of this superhero squad. From Iron Man to Thor, and now wrapping up with the story of Captain America, audiences everywhere will surely be ready to see Nick Fury at his finest.

Captain America: The First Avenger is the final pre-Avengers flick, directed by Joe Johnston. The film tells the story of skinny weakling Steve Rogers who is destined to be turned into the nearly unstoppable Captain America. After unsuccessfully trying to enlist in the US army multiple times during the onset of the Second World War, Steve, who stands five foot nothing and weighs in at 100 pounds, is selected for a new "ultimate warrior" program. Steve is injected with a secret serum that increases his size and strength while instilling in his genetics the ability for cellular regeneration. He then takes on the persona of "Captain America" and goes after the evil Nazi-based research cell known as Hydra.

Chris Evans, who is no stranger to playing superheroes, truly outdoes himself in this dynamic role. During the course of the film, the character undergoes a dramatic transformation which Chris took part in himself, gaining a reported 20-plus pounds of muscle. Evans displays his acting skills as well, showing perfect comedic timing while also pulling off the stuntheavy actions sequences and the handful of emotional scenes with equal talent.

Evans' performance is supported by Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Steve's love interest; Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Steve's childhood friend; Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips; and Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine. Atwell gives a good performance alongside Evans and is touching during the emotional encounters. Stan plays a great soldier, focusing on the mission and not much else. Jones and Tucci are a charismatic pair, particularly in their shared scenes, and their combined wit and sarcasm keep the laughs coming.

The chameleon actor Hugo Weaving proves once more he is capable of bringing any character to life in his role as Johann Schmidt, also known as Red Skull. Weaving is unsettling as a villain and his utterly evil performance will have you cringing in your seat.

Though the film is done in partial 3D, the effects take away from the story; already action-packed to the brim, the film is far too busy for the gimmicky feeling the 3D scenes provide. Well shot, edited and paced, this is perhaps the strongest of all the Avenger films, save for the first installment of Iron Man.

If you haven't quite gotten your fill of superhero flicks yet, if you love the Avengers and want to see it all or if you just really enjoy a good action movie, Captain America is worth your time. Be sure to stick around after the credits to get a sneak peek of The Avengers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars