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'Captain America' Unexpectedly A Humble Hero

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'Captain America' Unexpectedly A Humble Hero

Movies

'Captain America' Unexpectedly A Humble Hero

'Captain America' Unexpectedly A Humble Hero

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It was just a few months ago that comic book superhero Thor had a movie, and now Marvel Entertainment teammate Captain America has one too. Captain America: The First Avenger is not the best of the Marvel comics movies — but it does have something the others do not: Chris Evans in the title role.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

You can escape the heat for a few hours, at least, by going to the movies. It was just a few months ago that the comic book superhero "Thor" had a movie, and now his Marvel Entertainment teammate Captain America has one too.

Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN: "Captain America: The First Avenger" is not the best of the Marvel comics movies, but it does have something the others do not: Chris Evans in the title role. The story begins in the early days of World War II. Evans plays Steve Rogers, the classic 98-pound weakling, a young man who keeps trying to enlist even though the Army keep turning him down. Once he gets in, even his commanding officer, played by Tommy Lee Jones, has serious doubts.

(Soundbite of movie, "Captain America: The First Avenger")

Mr. TOMMY LEE JONES (Actor): (as Colonel Chester Phillips) You brought a 90-pound asthmatic onto my Army base, I let it slide. I thought, what the hell. Maybe he'd be useful to you like a gerbil. Look at that. He's making me cry.

TURAN: Playing both Rogers and the Captain brings out an appealing earnestness and humility in Evans, the kind of personality traits not common in the comic book superhero genre. The plan is to turn Rogers into Captain America by injecting him with a dose of Super-Soldier Serum, a process that is nothing if not painful.

(Soundbite of movie, "Captain America: The First Avenger")

Ms. HAYLEY ATWELL (Actor): (as Peggy Carter) Shut it down.

Unidentified Actor #1: (as character) Kill the reactors. (Unintelligible) turn it off. Kill it. Kill the reactors.

Mr. CHRIS EVANS (Actor): (Captain America) No. Don't. I can do this.

TURAN: The Americans are not the only people with super-soldiers on their minds. The Third Reich, led by a renegade officer played by Hugo Weaving, is also in the market. And that leads to the movie's action scenes.

(Soundbite of movie, "Captain America: The First Avenger")

(Soundbite of music and fighting)

TURAN: But that action, even with the addition of 3D, can't help but feel routine. There's a pro forma nature to this entire project. It exists not just for its own sake, but also to prepare the movie-going universe for next year's "Avengers" movie. That's understandable from a business point of view, but the Captain is such an unexpectedly humble hero, it's hard not to hope he'll get more screen time of his own.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

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