"Captain America: The First Avenger" is the final installment of what is known as phase one in an ongoing series of movies created by Marvel Studios that are all filled with characters from their amazing roster of comic book super heroes. This buildup of cinematic awesomeness will lay the foundation for a perpetual universe creating opportunities for crossovers and combinations that audiences have never seen before.
During the height of World War II, a young Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has done everything he can to join the army so he can make his own contribution to the war effort, but size and health issues keep his enlistment from being approved. Fortunately, his patriotic attitude and heartfelt desire to do the right thing catch the eye of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a cutting edge government scientist who is spearheading a top secret super soldier program with the help of technology supplied by inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper).
Rogers agrees to enter this program and is successfully upgraded with super human abilities although his first assignment is not exactly what he was hoping for. Thanks to a lack of faith by his commanding officer Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), Rogers is sent out to assist the USO's stateside efforts in securing war bonds rather than joining his fellow soldiers on the front lines. After months of stage shows and public appearances, the super soldier decides it is time to take matters in to his own hands and, defying a direct order, sets off on a dangerous rescue mission far behind enemy lines.
After successfully returning with a host of liberated prisoners and knowledge of a secret Nazi division known only as Hydra, the newly promoted Captain Steve Rogers puts together a team of soldiers who's sole mission is to put a stop to this new threat and end the war once and for all. This effort will prove to be no easy task as Hydra has weapons and vehicles of unheard of power at their disposal and is led by a mysterious man known as Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) who seems to have a few secrets of his own.
What I found most entertaining about this movie was how director Joe Johnston perfectly captures the spirit and patriotism of a time when the United States was united by a common goal. Steve Rogers himself embodies the ideals that every man aspired to achieve and Chris Evans' performance as Steve Rogers absolutely nails the character perfectly. There is never a dull moment as you are whisked through a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and rooting for the hero to succeed.
This, just like any super hero movie, could have easily gone over the edge of being too cheesy or just plain bad but what ultimately makes it work is how everything is played with just a little bit of a wink and a nod as if to tell the audience that its time to just sit back and have fun.
One of the more outstanding achievements is how the special effects are seamlessly integrated in to a movie that has the look and feel of a classic 1940's era action adventure. The technology, while futuristic and outlandish for the time, still seems to fit perfectly during a time where telephones and airplanes were commonly considered high tech.
The fine folks at Marvel have done a great job in not only telling an entertaining individual story, but also having it tie in to the overarching Avengers story line that originally started with "Iron Man" and has continued through "The Incredible Hulk", "Iron Man 2", and "Thor".
Joss Whedon, who is the director of "The Avengers", was brought in to help the story blend seamlessly in to his movie and, even with all of that world building going on, "Captain America: The First Avenger" is still a very good movie in its own right.