Marvel has been eager to fill out the roster of the Avengers, and released Captain America last year. It’s a so-so movie, spoiled by wasted potential. Chris Evans plays a scrawny weakling who wants to join the army, Stanley Tucci as a scientist who values compassion over ability, and Tommy Lee Jones plays the same tough military man he always plays. Hugo Weaving is the villain, the leader of a Nazi splinter faction.
Elements of a great drama are present: the protagonist’s desperation to prove himself, his famous best friend Bucky, questions of the value of compassion in wartime, whether power corrupts, and the nature of heroism. However the movie trundles through various action sequences and continuity references without tackling any of the issues that would have made it more than just another superhero action flick. While Captain America’s use as a war bond mascot is an interesting twist, the character never confronts situations that give his morality depth.
Hugo Weaving is wasted as a non-threatening villain is never much of a threat, who is pretty ineffectual despite high-tech plans and weapons. The resolution is confusing and sacrifices coherence for future entries in the franchise. I was also disappointed that the entire movie was set in the past, giving it a decidedly “origins” tone. It’s like Marvel is saving the good stuff for another film.