Getting picked on? TAKE STEROIDS! That’s basically the message of “Captain America,” and it’s dished out like the peppy World War 2 recruitment films shown within the film. And that’d be okay, if only it were aware of itself like “Starship Troopers” or any movie with the brains to stop and go “Hee hee, we know, it’s corny, just have fun.”
Chris Evans stars at Steve Rogers, a shrimpy dude (they took Rogers’ face and CG’d it on a little body, not awkward or distracting in any way (psst – that’s “sarcasm”)) who feels that he doesn’t have the right to not serve in the war while other men are off dying for USA. Never does it come up that maybe his multiple health problems and general weakness may more likely get someone on his side killed in a war before helping them out, but whatever, we won’t sweat the small stuff. A Rudy of wannabe soldiers, the kid has heart, so Stanley Tucci (a German professor who works for America now) sees this and hires him to be the guinea pig for his new serum (ahem, steroids) that takes an average man and turns him into a super-soldier. Tommy Lee Jones (playing himself as the one guy in the movie that rises above plain bland – sorry, Stanley, you’ve been good in other flicks) is skeptical as the commanding officer, but hangs around to say some worthy lines and look seasoned. And Hayley Atwell is a hot, sharpshooting, sassy English lassie who also fights for America (they make sure to have diversity here — Captain America’s team has a white guy, a black guy, a Japanese-American, and a French guy on it — yes, a French guy — I don’t know).
Everyone is pretty supportive except for Red Skull, a rogue Nazi played by Hugo Weaving who has invented a super-scary ray gun with the glowing cube taken from Odin’s castle many years ago (yes, Odin from “Thor” — Iron Man’s dad makes the cast too, as this is the last two-hour-plus commercial for the upcoming “The Avengers”). With this gun, Red Skull plans to take over the world, which would sound spooky if only we’d seen Red Skull do anything even remotely evil so far (all he does is shoot a scientist who’s onscreen for five seconds and then a few Nazis — gotta hand it to ‘em, he may be the first BAD GUY who’s bad because he kills Nazis). Hugo, who we’ll just call Hugo because his real face looks more evil than the corny red plastic bubble that’s his Red Skull face once he reveals himself, is out to rule the world. We’re not given a motivation, he’s just a bad guy who wants to rule the world. That’s all. Even Hitler had the decency to write out a whole book specifying why he was so pissy, but not this guy. He’s more like a James Bond villain with red silly putty all over him. One who kills Nazis. Oh well. Hugo tries to take over the world, Chris (Captain America) is out to stop him, there are some explosions and boomerang tricks with the Captain America shield, bla bla bluegh blo bloobidy bloo, it’s a bit like that last episode of “South Park” where they give up in the middle of the preview with a “Whatever, you’ll pay to see it, f#*k you. PLTLP!!”
While it may be okay in comparison to “Thor” or “Green Lantern” or plenty of other times where a group of people got together and went, “Hey, look, we have this character that’s made our company millions of dollars and more, let’s hire some blob to crap out a lame script about him and spend millions of what we’ve made to make this flick as bland as we can so no new fans of our comic books here are made,” “Captain America” is still lame. That’s about all it ends up amounting to. Lame. Not an insult, not god-awful, not even worse than plenty else that’s come out this year, just a lame waste of an opportunity to make a kickass summer popcorn flick. If you give a rat’s ass by the end about any character here or even flinched when any of them died, congrats, you are an extremely sensitive person. And don’t sweat it if you just wanna sit in a cool theater for two hours of the hot summer, it’s a harmless time. Hell, there are even a couple of little moments of action that are impressive for a PG-13. If you miss it though, you may have a decent shot at staring at a wall and imagining a more exciting movie in your head.
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