Steve Rogers, a scrawny young man, wants to enlist in the US Army and go overseas to fight in WWII. But his size and health mean his attempts at enlistment always end the same way — a 4F rating. Until a scientist sees him and recruits him to try out for a special training program to create a super-soldier.
What I Liked
The Marvel universe sticks pretty closely to classic script with him being given a serum that jacks his body into super muscle mode. He’s already brave and smart, so it would seem like a no-brainer to send him overseas? But the guy in charge of his training doesn’t want him, he’s just one man, so Rogers ends up doing public relations back home. And he is quite shocked that the men overseas don’t react as positively when they see him compared to the crowds back home. I really enjoyed the way they handle the first battle scene for him, basically, him figuring things out as he goes, a far cry from his battle-hardened approaches later.
I even liked his interactions with Agent Carter. I had thought it would be more subtle than it was, and I hoped we’d see a bit more of her operating on her own (after all, they gave her character a whole series on TV!), but she was second-fiddle to the hero.
What I Didn’t Like
The challenge with a lot of American movies of the war is that it is as if they are the only actors in the war, no allies, just them, and that level of nationalistic narrowmindedness in viewing actual history is a bit grating. That may be a small gripe when the show is called CAPTAIN AMERICA, not CAPTAIN OF WORKING WITH ALLIES, but still, it’s annoying. I also was disappointed there wasn’t a lot more on Red Skull. His history, his abilities, other pursuits, all of it was left basically unreferenced. Sure, some of it shows up elsewhere in the Marvel universe, but a bit more crosswalk would have been nice. I felt he really wasn’t that well-fleshed out as the uber-villain he could have been.
The Bottom Line
As an origin story, it lacks pizzazz.