DVD: Captain America: The First Avenger (12)

 

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The Independent Culture

Not quite as fun or droll as Kenneth Branagh's Thor but a lot better than the woeful Green Lantern, Captain America is a middling Marvel adaptation, which starts nicely but flags (the lengthy action scenes mainly) half-way through.

Chris Evans plays puny Steve Rogers, a "little guy" with a big heart who is desperate the join the war effort (it's 1941) but he is rejected because of his various ailments. So he volunteers for a top-secret military research project, run by Stanley Tucci's shadowy German scientist and Tommy Lee Jones's gruff Colonel Chester ("You don't win wars with niceness, doctor"). Even though Steve is physically weak he proves to be more courageous than his fellow competitors, and is selected for the dubious honour of being a US "super soldier". Captain America is born.

First, humiliatingly, he is asked to entertain the troops with some cabaret before he embarks, without permission, on a derring-do mission to crack Nazi skulls and free captured US soldiers. Toby Jones and Hugo Weaving (always a great villain) play a deranged scientist and a henchman, respectively, and both of these fine actors are strictly from the Allo' Allo' school of naughty Nazis. They're hammy and comical but never dull.

Other things of note include Hayley Atwell's sweet British agent, an exquisite 1940s setting and a terrific last sequence and last line. However, ultimately, Captain America is a rather forgettable superhero yarn.

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