Aside from the annoyingly ill-behaved and vocal child at the screening we attended (the kid must have been four years old, which is decidedly too young for a 12A in the cinema, in my view, especially if they won't shut up and, rather disturbingly, cheer when someone gets killed - in a film that was a touch more violent than I was expecting) ... I rather enjoyed this flick. It was a step below Iron Man for me, but I dug it much more than Thor. They spend a generous amount of time establishing Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as a believable and sympathetic character - the kid from Brooklyn - which carries the film throughout and stops it from being some flag-waving parody. If they hadn't have put in that effort, I'm sure the movie wouldn't have been as enjoyable, but fortunately they did.
Hugo Weaving plays The Red Skull, the main bad guy, and while he's not quite as all-out evil as you'd expect from a guy with a name and a look like that, he's nevertheless an enjoyable enough villain - indeed Weaving seemed to be channeling an evil version of Werner Herzog, which made his performance quite entertaining. The action is solid, the design of the stylised World War II is convincing, and supporting turns from the likes of Hailee Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, and Stanley Tucci provide more substance to keep things moving along at a good pace. The flick, at an efficient 125 minutes, manages to find the right position between providing enough depth to get you emotionally involved, and tackling the story without unnecessary baggage.
A ruddy good time indeed, with a convincing emotional core and brisk action, Captain America is well worth seeing, and it provides a great stepping stone towards next year's The Avengers (as trailed at the end of the credits).
The Two Jakes:
I'd heard the name a long time ago, but I had no idea that it was in fact a sequel to Roman Polanski's film noir classic Chinatown. Set a decade or two down the track from the original film, we again join Jake Gittes as he gets wrapped up in a curious murder that manages to link a soured business partnership, the L.A. oil industry, and a blast from the past. It's not as good as Chinatown (was it ever going to be?), but it's a good follow-up and worth a watch.