Mister We Could Use a Man Like Steve Rogers Again

Frequent PJM contributor Christian Toto reviews Captain America: The First Avenger at his blog:

“Captain America’s” first half bubbles with 1940s nostalgia and all the Uncle Sam decency Evans can muster. His Steve Rogers couldn’t outbox his own shadow, but there’s not a lick of quit in him. He’s both heroic and hapless, a droll combination.

He also gets a feisty romantic foil in Hayley Atwell, a va-va-voom British agent overseeing Steve’s transformation. Tommy Lee Jones appears every few scenes to bark out lines straight out of his craggy DNA, and it’s just the kind of abrasive tone needed to lend this old-fashioned romp some texture.

So why isn’t Cap’s arch nemesis the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) the lip-smacking villain we expected?

Weaving, who made the mysterious man behind the mask in “V for Vendetta” into a character of substance, can’t do much with his flaming red noggin. He kills a random member of his troupe at one point, a tired technique to show us how bad the baddie is in a given film. But there’s nothing special about him. He’s super strong but prefers not to confront Captain America directly, and his master scheme to attack the U.S. mainland feels like a plot sketch stolen from a Bond movie.

Of course, there’s an even more demonic WWII-era villain that the filmmakers could used; Kyle Smith debates why they didn’t at his own Website.