Steve Rogers is a scrawny, frail man with big dreams of joining the army and fighting in World War II, which at this point is in full swing. After countless rejections, Steve encounters the brilliant scientist Dr. Erskine, who is looking for a worthy person to test a Super Serum on. If successful, the Serum will transform Steve into a Super Soldier, capable of feats no normal man can accomplish. To Steve’s surprise, Erskine chooses him to be the lab rat for his experiment. The experiment proves successful, and Steve becomes the great Captain America. Meanwhile, the evil Nazi scientist, Johann Schmidt, acquires a powerful object that means bad news for the United States and their hopes of winning the war. Steve, with his new abilities, must find a way to stop Schmidt before he deals the world a blow it might not recover from.
Steve Rogers, in both skinny form and hunk form, is a likable character and a delight to watch onscreen. In the comics, he jumps right off the page, and in the movie, he feels just as real. Chris Evans takes the titular role and owns it, using his commanding screen presence to his advantage. Tommy Lee Jones steals every scene he is in, and seeing him interact with Evans onscreen is entertaining. His clever one-liners also go a long way in lightening the mood. Hugo Weaving plays a chilling and convincing villain, and it quickly becomes obvious that he is the right man to play Johann Schmidt(a.k.a. the Red Skull). As Captain’s love interest, Peggy Carter, Hayley Atwell is absolutely brilliant. She is not incredibly well-known, but her performance here will certainly give her the attention and admiration she deserves.
The film’s main problem lies in the fact that it only functions as a lead-in to The Avengers. Sure, it is necessary, but the movie also needs to be able to stand on its own. As a lead-in, it is great, but as its own film, it doesn’t work as well. A majority of the movie makes it look like it could stand on its own, but by the time the credits roll it is evident that the only reason this movie exists is so that The Avengers can be released next year. This is not a huge issue, but it certainly would have been stronger as a film if it was able to stand on its own.
Overall, though, Captain America: The First Avenger is tons of fun. Funny, action-packed, and full of likable characters, this is a summer blockbuster worth your time and money.