DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: July 22, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action)
Genre: Superhero, Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Run Time: 125 min.
Director: Joe Johnston
Actors: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Derek Luke, Toby Jones, Hayley Atwell

While it’s probably not fair to compare superheroes, one still can’t help feeling sorry for poor Captain America.

Sure, considering he was just a scrawny whipping boy from Brooklyn before his big transformation, his new alter ego is one serious upgrade—just for those enviable abs and biceps alone. But when stacked up against the likes of Batman, Spiderman or even his fellow avenger Iron Man, however, he’s a bit of a letdown unfortunately. Yes, he’s the most patriotic by a long shot, but that still doesn’t make him interesting.

To wit, he definitely got the proverbial short end of the stick with that shield. Couldn’t the same people who gave the X-Men all those fascinating mutations and Spiderman his web-slinging prowess fashioned something a little cooler for Captain America to fight with than a red, white and blue satellite dish? If anything, The Green Lantern, easily this summer’s most underwhelming superhero, has to be feeling a little better about that silly day-glo ring of his. At least it was handed down by a dying purple guy and not crafted with him specifically in mind.

All that said, Captain America: The First Avenger, the inevitable prequel before next year’s much-anticipated The Avengers, isn’t entirely devoid of charm. In fact, one can’t help loving that our protagonist wasn’t given a thoroughly modern makeover. Instead of making Captain America (Chris Evans, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) a quippy, unabashed lothario, the filmmakers kept his decidedly old-fashioned sensibility intact. Coinciding with his rather humble beginnings, he’s a good ol’ boy through and through and barely steals a kiss from his lady love (Hayley Atwell, The Duchess) before sacrificing his life for the good of mankind.

See, before Captain America was Captain America, he was hardly fit for military service. As much as Steve Rogers wanted to serve his country (it was World War II, after all), a myriad of health conditions, not to mention that stick-thin frame, always kept him from making the cut. But his willingness to give his life for the cause, despite all the rejection, didn’t go unnoticed for long, thanks to Dr. Abraham Erskine’s (Stanley Tucci, Burlesque) gut instinct. Deciding Steve was the perfect candidate for the superhero serum he invented, Steve’s eventual transformation into someone strong made him a perfect fit for the frontlines.