Captain America Comics#1 (March 1941). Cover a...

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In Joe Johnston’s comic-book movie, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), a brave but physically puny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) becomes, via a serum, a stunningly strong Captain America, eager to defeat a powerful Third Reich psychopath with a red skull (Hugo Weaving).  The time is the 1940s.

There is little chemistry between Evans and British actress Haley Atwell, and the film doesn’t have the guts to be more American than international (it is meant for an international audience), but it’s a captivating, sometimes witty, adventure-fantasy all the same.  It’s visually better than anything George Lucas did–the retro production design can be transporting but is never overdone–and the action can be imaginative.  On the other hand, to me the action eventually gets tiresome in a way it doesn’t in 2010’s Kick-Ass. 

Not great, this picture, but still fun.  And, yes, it is patriotic, despite the international dramatis personae.