Starring Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, and Samuel L. Jackson. Rated PG. Opens Friday, July 22
For all you 97-pound weaklings out there getting sand kicked in your faces by big, dumb bullies, Captain America: The First Avenger has the best solution ever. Get yourself injected with a blue serum and then zapped with “Vita-Ray” (try your local drugstore) and—presto!—you’ll have the body of a Greek god and you’ll be ready to kick some bully ass but good.
Captain America himself gets busy kicking Nazi ass, which is always entertaining to watch, right? Especially when it’s Nazi ass that’s gone rogue and nutso like Hugo Weaving’s scary, funny Johann Schmidt, aka Red Skull. Schmidt also sampled the blue stuff, but instead of turning him into a superstud it’s given him that always undesirable sunburned-skeleton head and a world-domination yen that makes Hitler look like a slacker.
Before morphing into Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is just a Brooklyn kid who yearns to fight Germans, except the army keeps rejecting his scrawny-runt self. Landing in the hands of the army’s head scientist (Stanley Tucci, excellently playing German í la Hogan’s Heroes), a curvy British operative (Hayley Atwell), and a curmudgeonly colonel (Tommy Lee Jones, managing another dryly witty spin on curmudgeonly), Steve gets his wish—plus totally impressive pecs and awesome athletic abilities.
On film, Marvel Comics’ rambunctious, old-fashioned adventure reminds one of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the Nazi version of Star Wars’ galactically useless dark-side soldiers falling like dominoes against Captain America and his motley band of brothers. But it’s all spirited, wink-wink fun with cool CGI, imaginative direction by The Rocketeer’s Joe Johnston, and a hip, humble hero with heart and a stars-and-stripes shield he tosses with deadly aim. But, of course, this—along with The Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor—is but a baby-blockbuster step to the real agenda: The Avengers.