Superman came from Krypton. Thor came from Valhalla. Batman was at least quite wealthy. Captain America: The First Avenger – he’s a Brooklyn kid born and raised. World War II has broken out and all able bodied men are accepting their patriotic duty and volunteering for the military; everyone except for Mr. Steve Rogers of course. The pre-Captain America is a 90 pound nothing with asthma. He even tries lying on his enlistment papers but with no success.
Obviously, the kid eventually gets in lest there be no film. His pure heart of gold gets noticed by a top scientist (Stanley Tucci) and BOOM he is now the superhero with the worst uniform of them all, Captain America. What kept gnawing at me as I was watching the film is that Captain America as a person and as a superhero is rather average, not necessarily boring, but definitely on the uninteresting end of the spectrum. There is no anguish or emotional torment which many other superheroes endure. There is no single force which is his foe ala kryptonite. There is just a very physically fit guy who expertly flings his shield at the bad dudes.
Speaking of the bad dudes, Nazis always have and always will make fantastic villains. Nobody is ever pulling for the Nazis to win or sympathizes with them. They really do make the perfect antagonists. Hugo Weaving turns out to be Captain America’s alter ego and has a vague resemblance to Hellboy who also happens to get his start in World War II but is a bit of an anti-superhero in comparison. Two other things also work well in this film which is the Colonel played by Tommy Lee Jones and Captain America’s romantic interest in Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell). Tommy Lee Jones is a great choice to play a grizzled and annoyed person no matter what the film is about.
Unfortunately, the awesome Mr. Jones cannot save a lackluster script which includes an awkward showbiz interlude early on in Captain America’s career and somewhat repetitive fight sequences. This whole film appears to be a setup for next year’s The Avengers but as a prequel for that, it does not set the bar too high.