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290 of 351 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Marvel Comics superhero movie from the maker of Ironman
A good bit of this film is a superhero-origins story, in which we follow Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a plain-featured young man of about 20 years old who is a classic "90-pound weakling," as he tries five times to enlist in the Army during the early part of World War II. He is consistently rated as "4F" because of his size and various health issues, including asthma...
Published on July 22, 2011 by Kate McMurry

versus
53 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3D Review by a 3D Connoisseur
POST-PRODUCTION 3D (converted from 2D to 3D)

My ratings are based mainly on the QUALITY OF THE 3D, not the video content.

OOS EFFECTS:
There are about 60 out of screen effects that extend about 10% of the way, from the screen to the viewer. Many of them are quick but easily noticeable. An additional 5 effects made it to 20% or more...
Published on January 26, 2012 by Keith Niemeyer


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290 of 351 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Marvel Comics superhero movie from the maker of Ironman, July 22, 2011
A good bit of this film is a superhero-origins story, in which we follow Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a plain-featured young man of about 20 years old who is a classic "90-pound weakling," as he tries five times to enlist in the Army during the early part of World War II. He is consistently rated as "4F" because of his size and various health issues, including asthma. Inside that small, frail body, however, resides outsized courage, honor, loyalty and persistence. During Steve's fifth trip to the Army recruiters, those virtues in Steve draw the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a German scientist who escaped the Nazis and is working on a top-secret program to develop super soldiers. Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), who is in charge of the program, wants to use a soldier who is bigger, stronger and has more training for the first human experiment with the Dr. Erskine's super-soldier formula, but the doctor strongly disagrees. He says the other soldier is a bully, but Steve is a good man. It is crucial that anyone receiving the formula be of good character, because the formula enhances the existing personality traits of whoever receives it. Steve would become even more of a good person, but a bully could become a villain.

The experiment is a success, but immediately after Steve is transformed into a handsome, ripped, perfect specimen of manhood, a Nazi spy assassinates Dr. Erskine and steals the formula. Though Steve manages to stop the assassin from escaping, in his first act of heroism as a newly minted superhero, the flask breaks in the process. Without a sample of the formula, it cannot be replicated because the doctor never wrote down the whole formula. Steve is now one of a kind. Unfortunately, the military can't think of anything to do with him other than turn him into a US-flag-wrapped peddler of war bonds appearing in USO shows with chorus girls, until Steve is sent abroad. He finds himself entertaining the recently decimated troops of Col. Phillips and is horrified to discover that his best friend James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan) has been captured with 400 other Allied soldiers and is being held prisoner in a massively defended fortress deep in enemy lines. Col. Phillips insists he would lose far more men than he could save going after his captured men, and refuses to do anything. But the colonel's assistant, a female military officer, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), encourages Steve to fulfill his destiny as the super-soldier Dr. Erskine created him to be by staging a one-man rescue raid.

On every level this film is outstanding. It is directed by the talented Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III, Jumanji ). The screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (the writing team best known for the three Chronicles of Narnia films) is an excellent adaptation, staying true in every important way to the world of a comic-book icon with a 70-year history of stories in Marvel Comics since the Captain's first appearance in 1941.

All of the actors are terrific, but the star, Chris Evans (who played the comic-book superhero, Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, in the two Fantastic Four films), is superb. Evans gives a depth and breadth to his performance that is remarkable for any genre, but especially for a superhero film. In his capable hands, Steve is endearingly humble, yet enduringly determined to have a chance to contribute to the worldwide struggle against the Nazis in the beginning, origins part of the film. And after the transformation, he compellingly presents Steve as a fascinating contradiction of a relentless, manly warrior who is still emotionally innocent and naïve.

Steve's relationship with Peggy, as his romantic interest in the film, has significant barriers to their connection that makes it both amusing and exciting to watch. She is his superior officer and, for a young man who has barely even had a conversation with a woman before her, it takes more bravery than going to war for him to aspire to a relationship with a woman like Peggy. She is not only gorgeous, but a formidable warrior in her own right. What I found as intriguing as the romantic potential between these two, however, is the fact that they bring out the best in each other. Peggy gives Steve the inspiration to seize his destiny as a super-warrior when the colonel and other leaders have ordered him to sit out the war, and Steve's innate sensitivity and goodness soften the shell of cynicism Peggy has developed around her heart in the harsh, man's world of the Army.

The incredibly versatile Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada, The Lovely Bones) is terrific as Dr. Erskine. Hugo Weaving (who played V in V for Vendetta and Agent Smith in The Matrix movies) is his usual brilliant self as the villain Red Skull. Anytime he appears in anything it is a gift, but he is particularly skilled as a comic-book super villain. As for Tommy Lee Jones, he was simply made for the part of Colonel Chester Phillips. Sebastian Stan (Carter Baizen on Gossip Girl) is a convincing choice as Bucky. He and Chris Evans have excellent buddy chemistry as best friends since childhood. All of the other supporting actors are great, too, including Neal McDonough (Traitor) as Timothy 'Dum Dum' Dugan, Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) as Gabe Jones, Kenneth Choi (Street Kings) as Jim Morita, and JJ Feild (Northanger Abbey) as James Montgomery Falsworth.

Finally, the special effects in the action scenes, aided by computer-generated imagery (CGI), are absolutely breathtaking, making this movie a must-see on the big screen. There is also one other CGI effect that I found awe-inspiring. The real, buffed Chris Evans is trimmed down via CGI to the pre-formula Steve. "It's pretty amazing," Evans told Reuters. "They took shape out of my jaw line, they shrunk my skeleton, and they made my shoulders less broad." They certainly did. The skinny Steve has the body of a prepubescent boy. As for the actual physique of Chris Evans--he went through a specialized training program to put on 15 pounds of muscle on a physique that was already quite ripped.

Among the multiple feature films already done on the Captain, this should delight fans as a standout contribution.
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97 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE this movie, October 26, 2011
By 
This review is from: Captain America: The First Avenger (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
When I was a kid in the 60's, Batman, Spiderman, and Captain America were my 3 favorite superheroes, and remain so to this day.
No need to rehash the other great reviews, but IMO, what they got SO RIGHT here was the CHARACTER of Steve Rogers BEFORE he becomes Captain America.
Just as Batman Begins had us totally invested in Bruce Wayne BEFORE he ever donned the cape and cowl, Marvel works the same type of magic with Steve Rogers & THAT (along with stellar performances by ALL the supporting cast) is what makes this a truly great film.
After suffering through the badly done CA movies of the past, it is a dream fulfilled to see the character brought to life so fantastically By Chris Evans & Joe Johnston.
And the Red Skull--OMG--Incredible makeup & Hugo Weaving shines as always to make the character come across as one of the premiere villains of the Marvel Universe.
Finally--watch the deleted ending scene to see how they really SHOULD have ended the movie--THAT was my only gripe--the truncated ending in the theatrical version.
So, to sum up--FINALLY a GREAT, FUN & FAITHFUL rendition of Captain America.
Bring on the AVENGERS!
It's time to ASSEMBLE!
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142 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Star-Spangled Avenger Has Arrived..., July 31, 2011
Well, the summer will soon be nearing its end, although the temperatures outside don't seem to agree. With the changing of the seasons also comes the inevitable conclusion to the summer of superheroes (that's what I dubbed it a few weeks back). And now, with the release of "Captain America: The First Avenger" this year's heroic reign over the box office for beloved comic book icons will soon be coming to a close.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is the story of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a young man who wanted nothing more than to fight alongside the brave soldiers in World War II against the Nazi onslaught. After being rejected repeatedly due to his frail physique, Steve volunteered for an experimental treatment that would transform him into a living, breathing super-soldier. Meanwhile, a Nazi scientist named Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) is attempting to harness power beyond anything this world has ever seen, and Captain America may be the only one strong enough to stop him.

After so many entertaining entries this summer ranging from Marvel's "Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" to DC Comics' "Green Lantern", did the heroic summer end with a triumphant victory or a disappointing defeat?

The answer, as evidenced by the movie's opening weekend box office victory over "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", combined with mostly positive reactions from critics, is that the summer of heroes definitely ends on a high note. And I for one wouldn't have expected anything less from the star-spangled avenger.

Taking heavy cues from classic Hollywood escapism, the likes of which haven't been seen in quite some time, the film embraces its more traditional atmosphere without being heavy-handed or cheesy in the process. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader") this film easily feels right at home in the ever-expanding pantheon of Marvel's self-produced comic book movies, but with some noticeable differences in storytelling.

One of the big differences you'll notice, aside from the aforementioned atmosphere, between this movie and the ones Marvel Studios has released prior (including this summer's "Thor"), is that the story is much more serious-minded than the others. The majority of the previous films tied into this universe featured serious dramatic story arcs, but always with heavy doses of humor laced throughout to keep things sort of light-hearted.

That type of approach worked fine for those characters, and in the case of Thor it probably made his transition from comic book page to big screen that much easier to believe. However, for Captain America, a story filled with jokes, one-liners and sarcasm, even if they feel appropriate to the story, would have been completely wrong for the ever-stoic soldier and future leader of the Avengers.

Thankfully, the writers paid attention to this (most likely with some heavy hints from Marvel) and avoided those mistakes. While there is still the occasional joke, they are few and far between; leaving us with a movie that captures the essence of Captain America perfectly. Plus, having a little joke here and there is good to break up the potential monotony of the drama unfolding, I was just glad Cap wasn't the one cracking wise.

Another major difference between this film and the others, is that here we are presented with a hero who always dreamed of doing nothing more than fighting for what's right. In today's comic book movie landscape I can't think of any characters with this mindset. To me this was so refreshing because finally we get to see one of the few characters that's doing precisely what he's always wanted and sought after. As opposed to having the heroic mantle thrust upon him by circumstances (Iron Man or Spider-Man) or being born into it (Thor).

Now, to clarify I am a comic book fan so I already knew that Captain America was one of the few heroes that willingly accepted the heroic mantle placed before him. I just wasn't sure if the movie would keep this aspect intact or change it to be more cookie-cutter and follow the tried-and-true recipe of so many of the other adaptations over the years.

Despite my foreknowledge of that particular character trait for Cap, I still found it a fresh approach to a genre that has so many similarities within origin stories. After all, there are only so many types of origins one can tell before you become repetitive.

One last difference with this film, that I shall touch upon briefly, is that this was a pure origin story from start to finish. With most other comic book films the origin portion of the character's first movie comprises approximately half to two-thirds of the overall running time. This movie doesn't finish Cap's origins for this cinematic universe, meaning taking him from first becoming the hero to being ready for next summer's "Avengers", until the credits roll.

This was important because the other Marvel Studios movies featured stories set in the modern day; whereas, Captain America was created during World War II. So, for him to believably fit into the modern day landscape of 2012's "Avengers" team-up film, the movie had the unenviable task of introducing the character and doing justice to his time in World War II. All the while, somehow bringing him up to the modern day setting we've become accustomed to with the other films. Not an easy set of tasks, but one that the writers and director Joe Johnston pulled off quite nicely.

Speaking of director Joe Johnston, I was personally a little skeptical when he was handed the reins to this key piece of the "Avengers" film puzzle. He's a director that has been hit-and-miss with big budget franchises or franchise makers throughout his entire career.

Sure, he did an admirable job taking over for Steven Spielberg to helm "Jurassic Park 3", but even so, the movie wasn't as strong as its predecessors. Most recently he was responsible for what ended up being a snore-fest of a reintroduction to a classic movie monster with last year's "The Wolfman". But, after watching this film, I have to say that I don't know if anyone else could have handled the movie any better.

Truth be told, whether you like or dislike some of the movies in Johnston's filmography, one thing is for certain, he may have been preparing for this movie his entire career. With his work on the two movies I mentioned a moment ago, and his history with visual effects during the original "Star Wars" trilogy, all of that served to prepare him for the numerous action sequences and vast CGI work necessary for bringing such a character to life. But, perhaps the most pivotal point of preparation for him may have occurred during his directorial work on 1990's "The Rocketeer".

That film was by no means a financial success, and ultimately failed to kick-start a franchise for Disney. However, the movie's perceived shortcomings were not a fault of the director in my opinion. Reason being, the film was actually quite entertaining, but the marketing done by Disney was poorly planned and failed to really sell audiences on the vast adventure awaiting them inside the theater. Despite all that, the film's retro style, attitude, and timeframe are comparable to "Captain America: The First Avenger", and may have been the key to Johnston's success on this picture.

Speaking of the film's success, much of the movie's box office victory over the final "Harry Potter" installment could easily be laid upon the shoulders of its star, actor Chris Evans. Even though Chris had already become known to comic book fans for his spot-on portrayal of the Human Torch, I personally believe that it will be his performance here, and in the sequels to follow (including "Avengers"), that Chris will be remembered for in the eyes of comic book fans.

Chris' portrayal is the perfect blend of idealism, strength, honesty, and authority that makes Captain America one of the purest heroes in comics and film. Now, it was a going concern among fans that perhaps Chris was miscast given his penchant for sarcasm. However, for Cap, Chris reportedly chose to remove several humorous lines of dialogue in order to stay true to the character. That choice was one that I personally appreciate, because it shows a respect for the source material; a trait which will always be pivotal to any comic book film's success.

Fighting alongside Chris and serving as a potential love interest for Cap is actress Hayley Atwell (TV's "The Pillars of the Earth"). Hayley brings a strong sense of authority to the role of Peggy Carter, but with a touch of vulnerability for being a woman amid a predominantly male setting (i.e. fighting in a war). Not to mention, a slight playfulness that belies the soldierly outward appearance and exposes a young woman who would at times like nothing more than to flirt with a guy, namely Steve Rogers/Captain America.

In the other major supporting roles are some terrific actors; such as, Tommy Lee Jones ("The Fugitive"), Stanley Tucci ("The Road to Perdition"), and rising star Dominic Cooper ("Mamma Mia!"). Each of these supporting players is responsible for the film's few humorous bits, while still delivering very entertaining, solid performances.

As always veteran actors Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci elevate any project they appear in, but it is Dominic Cooper that surprises me the most. His portrayal as Howard Stark (Tony Stark's father) is great, especially as he infuses shades of Robert Downey, Jr's portrayal of Tony from the two "Iron Man" films. For me this nod to his future son's personality further cemented the cohesive nature of these interlinked films that Marvel has been producing over the last few years.

Now, I mentioned that Captain America was a great hero and Chris Evans perfectly captured all of the qualities necessary to make him so; however, every hero is only as great as his villain. For this purpose, actor Hugo Weaving brings the supremely evil and despotic Johann Schmidt, also known as the Red Skull, to sadistic malevolent life.

When playing a character codenamed Red Skull, and one that has the physical qualities to inspire such a moniker, I think it could conceivably tempt an actor to sort of ham it up. Basically, go into a scene-chewing mode as the sneering bad guy who does everything evil just for kicks and all that's missing is a handlebar mustache for him to twirl in his fingers. Thankfully, as with many other potential pratfalls that could have plagued this movie, this one was avoided as well.

Actor Hugo Weaving, who is no stranger to playing a major villain (he was Agent Smith in "The Matrix" trilogy), portrays Schmidt in a way that is obviously sinister, but without becoming an over-the-top caricature. This was vital to making his character more believable to audiences given his garish appearance and thirst for other-worldly power beyond belief.

What I mean is that his motives are deeply twisted and malevolent, he is a Nazi after all, but you see the sincerity in how deeply he believes in what he's doing. That he's not just doing these evil things just for the sake of doing them. He has a purpose and he believes it to be right. Thus, as a character he is much more believable, amidst all of the more outlandish elements surrounding him, including his own appearance. Again, just another aspect that was pivotal to making this film work.

After all that being said, as I mentioned earlier, the summer of superheroes definitely ended on a high note. Plus, with a movie this solidly entertaining, featuring a home-grown hero, to bring the season to a close is perfectly fitting.

So, as you have undoubtedly figured out by now, "Captain America: The First Avenger" is an excellent adventure film. And one that serves as a fun throwback to classic escapism from Hollywood's past. The movie easily lives up to its Marvel Studios predecessors and firmly cements this hero from a bygone era's place in this hyper-real cinematic universe that began back in 2008's "Iron Man".

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is rated PG-13 for violence and brief language.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Movie I Saw This Year, August 24, 2011
This is the best movie I've seen this year and, for me, that is big. I've watched The Rise of The Planet of The Apes and the new X-Men movie, but I really liked Captain America. It has a lot of positive messages and different scenes and action parts that keep you interested. It isn't the same old thing.

Although, I wish Captain America would have said, "I love you," to his girlfriend, when talking on the phone. It seemed like they were getting to that point but he never confessed it. I think that would have been a heartwarming moment.

Other than that..... the movie was great! It's a family friendly video and you don't have to worry about your kids hearing or seeing anything bad. I can't recall any curse words and there were no inappropriate scenes or jokes. The women in the film were also well dressed and I didn't see any women dressing provocatively.

I give this movie an A plus and I recommend this movie to anyone!
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52 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO YOU FONDUE?, July 30, 2011
The movie starts at its WWII origins. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers a puny 4F man who has lied his way into a military science experiment. Tommy Lee Jones plays an excellent Colonel. Meanwhile evil Nazi Hugo Weaving believing he is Darth Maul, has his own plans for world conquest using sharks with frickin' laser beams. (Just kidding about the sharks.) Rogers is a 90 pound weakling who displays intellect, courage, and guts. He is selected for the military's secret program and is transformed into a muscular super hero. The special effects were very good, although we do know from "Last Action Hero" you can't really jump around car roofs. After Rogers is transformed he becomes Captain America to be used as a recruiting tool, as Tommy Lee still has his doubts about the 90 pound weakling.

Of course things change and the rest of the story shouldn't be too hard to figure out, even if you don't read comics. Now the very end utilizes the one-eyed Samuel L. Jackson from Iron Man 2 which hints at an ultimate sequel providing everyone isn't dead by then.

The movie combines action, drama, light comedy, and light romance. Good acting, good dialouge, good frickin' laser beams.

No swearing, nudity, or sex. Safe to drop off the kids.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Marvel Movies Ever!, July 25, 2011
By 
J. Bakker (Shadow Moses Island) - See all my reviews
After a hell of a lot of hype, Captain America: The First Avenger is finally in theaters. It delivers on the hype and goes even beyond that, turning star Chris Evans into a bona fide leading man. Captain America is among the best of the comic book movies released this summer. It's a lot better than Green Lantern, a bit better than Thor, but not quite on the level of X-Men: First Class.

The trail to The Avengers is blazed by director Joe Johnston, and he and Chris Evans bring style and substance to a character that I previously couldn't give a damn about. I've always thought of Cap as just a bit too hokey, too much of a cookie-cutter symbol of USA patriotism and old-timey square-jawed superheroes. I remember smiling when I learned that Evans was cast in the role; if anyone could bring genuine charisma to the character of Steve Rogers, it was the former Johnny Storm (and Lucas Lee!).

The film starts out in a barren arctic landscape, where a group of government officials have discovered something buried. The site is excavated, and before Cap's shield is discovered, my brother turned to me and asked, "Are we in the right movie?"

Then the film smash cuts to WWII-era New York City, where we meet our hero Steve Rogers for the first time. If you haven't seen the trailers (unlikely), you will be taken aback a bit by the CG wizardry put to work to attach the always-buff Evans' head to a seriously scrawny, short body. Even as a gaunt punching bag, Evans imbues his character with a likability that is integral throughout the movie. With a lesser actor in the lead, this movie wouldn't be half as good.

We are shown Rogers' undying patriotism as he continually applies to be shipped overseas as a soldier. He is constantly turned down due to his tiny physical stature and myriad health problems. He is overheard by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) while talking to his buddy Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and defending his drive to join the army. Dr. Erskine sees unwavering spirit of Rogers, and offers him a chance to fight for his country- a serum that he has designed, which can turn an ordinary man into the perfect soldier. Tucci does a great job making Dr. Erskine feel like a person, not a throwaway character, in the short screen time he is given. He believes in Rogers, and Steve spends the rest of the movie trying to live up to his expectations and make him proud.

Dr. Erskine tells the story of Dr. Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), also known as The Red Skull and Cap's main enemy in this movie. Dr. Erskine's super soldier serum was discovered by Schmidt, who, as a power hungry man, demanded to be the first test subject. It turns out that the serum brings out the inner qualities of the man; a good man's qualities become better, while in the case of The Red Skull, he was horribly disfigured. Ever since Erskine defected to the US, Schmidt has tried to track him down and kill him, because he knows that if he is able to make another super soldier, it will be the one thing capable of stopping his plans for global domination.

Tommy Lee Jones is great as an Army Colonel that continually tears down Steve Rogers both before and after his superhero transformation. Hayley Atwell plays the romantic interest, and has great chemistry with Evans. Her character is there to comfort Steve when he is distraught about the fact that, after his transformation, he is relegated to putting on a silly spandex costume (the original Captain America uniform) and parading around in a stage show to help sell war bonds (some of the funniest scenes in the movie happen here). After being booed, humiliated and lambasted by troops serving in Italy, he decides enough is enough and to go on a one-man mission to rescue P.O.W.'s at a nearby camp, and finally gain the respect of his fellow soldiers.

After that, the movie is mostly just about Captain America taking down Red Skull, until a heartstring-pulling ending that sets up The Avengers. All in all, it was a great summer popcorn flick, and a real star-making vehicle for Chris Evans. Marvel has done a great job in casting all of the Avengers, and it's one more movie I can't wait for next summer. Great job, Marvel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great start to a great Hero, August 23, 2011
When i first heard that they were making a captain america movie, I was both excited and worried. Marvel had already let me down with my favorite hero, wolverine, that I was nervous that they would destroy my second favorite. But as more screens and trailers began to arrive, I was excited that Steve Rogers would be given the movie treatment that his character deserves. I can say that overall this was a great superhero movie that captured the greatness that Captain America represents. I'd give this movie a 4.5/5 if I could. I had to go to the low-end on Amazon with a 4/5 because to me the movies biggest weakness is the incredibly under-developed red skull who is a much more terrifying and complex villian than the movie could produce. I do give Hugo weaving credit for what he was able to do with the character though.

Regardless this movie was excellant and it has me pumped for The Avengers coming out next year.
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53 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3D Review by a 3D Connoisseur, January 26, 2012
By 
Keith Niemeyer (LaCrosse, WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
POST-PRODUCTION 3D (converted from 2D to 3D)

My ratings are based mainly on the QUALITY OF THE 3D, not the video content.

OOS EFFECTS:
There are about 60 out of screen effects that extend about 10% of the way, from the screen to the viewer. Many of them are quick but easily noticeable. An additional 5 effects made it to 20% or more.

IN SCREEN / OBSERVATIONS:
The cardboard cutout syndrome is glaringly noticeable early in the movie and in A FEW other scenes throughout the film with only 1, 2 or 3 depths and a flat background. The balance of the scenes converted well and only appeared slightly shallower in depth than normal and the syndrome was negligible.

If you like action type films, it is easy to overlook the shortcomings of a (fake 3D) conversion and enjoy this movie for what it is. The 3D definitely adds to the viewing experience of this film.

ACTIVE GLASSES USERS:
In addition to the menu; Crosstalk was evident 6 times but only 1 of them was a major eyesore.
(crosstalk varies from system to system)

3 ½ star
MY 3D RATING = GOOD to VERY GOOD (poor, fair, good, very good, excellent)

Note: As far as the percentages go, everyone's eyes are different. What I see at 25% you may see at 15% or 35%. To fully realize how far something is out of the screen for you, pause on an effect and direct a partner with an extended finger to the tip of what you are seeing. You may be surprised.

Click on `See all my reviews' for the lowdown on other 3Ds
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captain America: The Frozen Avenger, May 26, 2012
Captain America stands as one of the most recognizable super heroes to come out of the golden age of comics. His red, white, and blue outfit has stood the test of decades, and his origin story is perhaps the most American of all superheroes ever conceived. Cap is also one if the primary members of the Avengers, which is the current destination of the Marvel movies, so it should surprise no one that the Captain America movie has a lot riding on its shoulders.

So, how has the Super Soldier withstood the translation to the silver screen?

In a word, well. Captain America: The First Avenger stays true not only to the origin of the character, but it also preserves the very distinct retro-futurist aesthetics and tongue-in-cheek humor of the golden age comics with remarkable accuracy. The use of Cap as a USO propaganda piece perfectly lampoons the whole star-spangled get-up and lets us get the Hitler-punching action long-time Cap readers were hoping for, and, for the attentive viewer, there are references to all levels of the Marvel universe throughout.

Howard Stark, who plays a surprisingly large role in the movie, is the driving forced behind Cap's development into a proper superhero. He provides Rogers with the iconic round shield as well as the newly-designed suit. I'm not sure how I feel about the suit itself, but I like the helmet. It looks more high-tech than the classic dragon-scale armor that Captain America has worn for the last few decades, and a little less form fitting. It's angular, stiff, perhaps, and the colors are subdued, but it is unashamedly and undoubtedly Captain America. I think I like it, but from what's been shown of up-coming Avengers movie, the suit has actually changed substantially, so don't get used to it.

I've noticed that there is a certain big-screen quality to the movie that is somewhat lost on my home TV. Steve Roger's wild sprint through 1940's Brooklyn as he chases a Nazi infiltrator, for example, seems much less thrilling than it did when I saw a super-sized Rogers charging down the street at the theater. This is also true of the USO propaganda pieces that have Cap dancing on stage, posing for baby photos, and reciting lines taped to the back of his original shield. On a smaller screen, the larger-than-life presentation is woefully reduced.

Cap's origin is handled pretty well, though it does take up a good third of the movie. Within the Marvel Universe, there is often a certain blending of magic and science that makes the characters work. For example, the super soldier serum, in conjunction with the `vita-rays' "Amplifies what's inside," meaning that the patriotic, humble Steve Rogers becomes Captain America, while the self-obsessed, power hungry Johann Schmidt becomes the Red Skull. Likewise, the Cosmic Cube, which serves as the catalyst of the story, has ties to Norse mythology, and thus to the character of Thor, who was also the star of a Marvel movie released earlier this year (to somewhat less critical and commercial success). These ties will hopefully lead to something more interesting in the Avengers movie, but we'll have to wait until next year to find out.

I'm happy to report that the handling of the magic-science that drives the movie is tastefully done. It could easily have been awkward or confusing (as was the case in Thor), but the writers and actors present it as it is, and don't try to ham it up. When it doesn't make sense, the writers move on (as is the case with the "vibranium-alloy" shield), and that helps a lot in maintaining verisimilitude. The writers of Iron Man 2 might have learned something from The First Avenger's handling of silly pseudo-science.

Speaking of the actors, those who rolled their eyes when Chris Evans (who was also the Human Torch in the ill-fated Fantastic Four movies) was selected to play the role. Despite his critics, Evans steals the show. Even as the skinny, gawky CG Steve Rogers, Evans is believable, and his enthusiasm for "doing his part" by joining the military is believable and inspiring. As the filled-out Super Soldier, he is funny, charming, and even romantic, but never over-the top. With a character that wears a flag to work, it might have been easy to fall into the camp, but Evans avoids both the too-dark tone of many of the recent superhero flicks and the campy, ho-hum of the old-school superhero movies. It has more in common with the first Spider Man movie than it does with most of the others released in the last year or two.

The Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving, does not translate so well to the silver screen, if only because he gets so little screen time. When he is allowed to show his face, it seems he can only threaten or bark evil things; we never really get a grasp for how evil he really is, and because of some story compression towards the end of the second act, first-time viewers may not even understand the Red Skull's actual mission with Hydra (who are, I'm sad to report, definitely over the top). The compression also turns what would have been really fun middle act starring Cap and the Howling Commandos is turned into what is essentially a montage... That was pretty disappointing.

Despite my complaints, Weaving's casting as the Skull isn't bad at all. Indeed, he is quite creepy and intense, and his drawling German accent is enough to send chills up my spine, but the role was limited, perhaps out of necessity, because, well, this is a prequel.

That, perhaps more than anything, is what holds this movie back from being really breath-taking. Despite awesome sets, incredible costume design, and all-around solid writing and acting, we can't help but invest ourselves in The First Avenger as anything more than a prelude. Everything feels like, and is, a set-up, from Cap's arctic plunge, the Cosmic Cube, Howard Stark, and even the super soldier serum itself.

I'm hoping with my fingers crossed that it will be a hell of a payoff. Certain characters are left with uncertain fates, and that, I'm hoping, will make for some very interesting movies in the next few years. For now I'm happy with Captain America, even after a third viewing. It is a good solid superhero movie that bucks the modern-day trend of broody superfolks, and tells a well-rounded, brilliantly-acted story that has gunfights, Nazis, romance, car chases, and a surprisingly good sense of humor.

Here's hoping The Avengers can follow Cap's charge.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Movie!, August 21, 2011
By 
Melvin Hunt (Cleveland,, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This was a movie that Icertainly enjoyed. The lead role in the movie is a character named Steve Rogers. He constantly gets rejected
from joining the Armed Forces. He is finally accepted thanks to Dr. Abraham Erskine. Dr. Erskine wants to try a procedure on Rogers. This
procedure is done in New York. Rogers comes out of the procedure taller and more muscle bound. He isturned into the ultimate soldier.
A Nazi spy in attendance kills Dr. Erskine but is captured by Rogers.
Rogers becomes Captain America and is used as a public relations gimmick despite his new physical powers. Colonel Chester Phillips played by Tommy Lee Jones suffers a loss on the battlefied and 400 men are captured. Captain America(Rogers} leads a daring rescue
mission and saves the men. This is where he meets up with the Red Skull(played by Hugo Weaving). This immediately calls for a showdown.
After the death of Roger's childhood friend at the hands of the Red Skull Captain America hops into action. This results in an action packed finale. There is a surprise ending as well. See this movie.
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Captain America: The First Avenger (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
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