Of course, a superhero movie wouldn’t be a superhero movie without a menacing arch nemesis, right? And really, there isn’t more wasted potential than Red Skull (Huge Weaving, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole) is in Captain America. In the comic books he’s a downright heinous experiment gone wrong, a power-hungry Nazi who abandons Hitler to form his own military faction called HYDRA. Naturally, Red Skull wants to rule the world himself, and the disfigured sociopath will do anything to do so. But in the movie, he’s not exactly the same harbinger of doom. Instead, he looks like a strange cross between Nacho Libre and Harry Potter’s He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and his brand of scary is more caricatured than anything all that frightening.

So with a milquetoast action hero and a relatively generic bad guy, Captain America is a pretty dull movie. While it’s occasionally brought back to life with the reliable verbal barbs of Tommy Lee Jones (The Company Men) and a well-paced action sequence or two, there’s just not enough about Captain America to qualify as anything above mediocre. But for anyone who didn’t already know the story of the first avenger, well, it provides enough information to prep you for what (fingers crossed) will be far better entertainment featuring an array of multifaceted characters.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Some social drinking.
  • Language/Profanity: In what’s perhaps a nod to a classier era, there’s little profanity for a PG-13 movie—a couple of instances of as-, he--and dam-.
  • Sex/Nudity: Some of girls dancing on stage have cleavage-revealing costumes. But aside from that, there’s no sex or nudity, just a very brief kiss between Captain America and Peggy.
  • Violence: Before Captain America becomes Captain America, he gets beat up quite a bit. There’s also lots of gunfire (several people are shot and killed at close range) and perilous situations that result in the death of several characters we grow to care about. Red Skill has a gun that vaporizes people when they’re shot, and he uses it extensively. When Johann transforms officially into Red Skull, it’s a bit of a scary process. Plus, he’s a potentially menacing presence as well. A person hangs off a train before plunging to his death. Captain America’s battle shield injures and presumably kills a few people. Considering the film mostly takes place during WWII, there’s lots of talk of killing Nazis.
     

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.