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Captain America is just Marvel-lous; the main feature CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (12A) Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Richard Armitage. Director: Joe Johnston. 124 mins Rating: ...

Byline: Damon Smith

RECALLING The cliffhanger TV series of the 1950s, Captain America: The First Avenger establishes the origins of one of the most popular superheroes from the Marvel Comics stable.

Admittedly, director Joe Johnston has an arsenal of state-of-the-art digital effects at his disposal to spruce up the old-fashioned ideals in Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely's script.

However, there's something rather charming about the underlying themes of self-sacrifice and valour, and a chaste romantic sub-plot between the strapping hero and his feisty dame that never strays beyond a kiss.

Only the sadistic killing spree of the central villain warrants the 12A certificate and makes it unsuitable for very young audiences.

Captain America opens in the present day with the discovery of the wreckage of a gargantuan craft then flashes back to 1942 Norway.

Diabolical German officer Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) steals a Cosmic Cube belonging to Odin and charges mad scientist Dr Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) with harnessing the Cube's power as part of his plans for world domination.

Meanwhile in America, German defector Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) is spearheading a secret programme to create the ultimate soldier.

He chooses asthmatic weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as the perfect candidate. And as if by magic, Steve is transformed into a muscle-bound hunk and he enthusiastically does his bit for the Allied effort by portraying a fictional character called Captain America at war rallies.

When good friend James Buchanan (Sebastian Stan) is presumed dead behind enemy lines, Steve joins forces with playboy inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to parachute in as Captain America and take on the Ger mans.

Captain America: The First Avenger - some of which was shot here in Liverpool - is an entertaining introduction to the iconic characters.

Atwell makes her entrance by punching an insubordinate soldier in the face and embraces her role as the gutsy love interest with fervour.

Their final scenes together are nicely judged and action sequences are orchestrated with aplomb.

Captain America Will Return promises a title card at the end of the film.

Indeed he will alongside Iron Man, Thor and Hulk in the big-budget film version of The Avengers next summer.

CAPTION(S):

Hugo Weaving as the dastardly Johann Schmidt and right Chris Evans as Captain America
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 29, 2011
Words:383
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