Summer's superhero bonanza continues with Captain America: The First Avenger, the final lead-in movie to next summer's all-star Avengers, and it falls somewhere between the terrific X-Men: First Class and the awful Green Lantern.
Chris Evans (so unlikable as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies, a little better here) plays Steve Rogers, a 90-pound weakling who takes part in a secret government experiment during World War II that turns him into a lean, mean Nazi-fighting machine. Soon he's taking on the appropriately named Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and the super-powered lasers he's using to wipe out mankind.
There's an old-fashioned approach to both the look and storytelling, which instantly makes it a richer experience than the empty Green Lantern. But by the end of its 125 minutes Captain America starts to wobble with battle fatigue, especially when superhero and supervillain duke it out during the final showdown. Let's hope the Captain's rested in time for his Avengers closeup. --Michael Gallucci