Feature

Captain America: The First Avenger

Hollywood’s latest superhero battles Nazis and supervillains in "a solidly crafted, elegant adventure” story about good guys and bad guys.

Directed by Joe Johnston
(PG-13)

***

Captain America: The First Avenger may be the best superhero movie of the year,” said James Verniere in the Boston Herald. It certainly “hits all the superhero beats”: A scrawny but patriotic kid is transformed by a military experiment into an American supersoldier, catches the eye of a “hot love interest,” and does battle with an arch fiend—in this case, a German mastermind who wants to out-Hitler Hitler. As you’d expect, if you take the story “seriously on any level, it becomes way too troubling,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. Just know there are good guys and bad guys, then sit back and enjoy the film’s “brisk, chaste manner” combined with “all the cutting-edge digital effects” available; “the result is oddly satisfying.” The film also “proves the point—seemingly simple but oddly difficult for Hollywood” to grasp: “It’s the script, stupid,” said Dana Stevens in Slate.com. No amount of special effects can save a movie from bad writing, and Captain America succeeds by giving the actors something to work with. It “isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a solidly crafted, elegant adventure.”

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