I fear that the most intriguing, captivating thread of Captain America's story will fall largely off-screen in the gap between his origin story, Captain America: The First Avenger, and 2012's The Avengers. This film, Cap's fifth live-action adaptation, is a capable, safe, and simple—if bland—movie squarely focused on the hero's creation and derring-do during World War II.
For the majority of the movie, Captain America doesn't have much complexity or struggle—internal or external—beyond stopping the bad guy, looking dashing, and winning the girl. But in the film's final minutes, his journey hits a yet-unseen gear of intrigue as Cap is thrown into a world he doesn't understand. Suddenly, I felt the energy ramp up and the character come alive. Much drama is promised in the concept of this stalwart, patriotic war hero of the 1940s suddenly having to wrestle with regret, confusion, and times he doesn't understand.
Then the credits roll.
The compelling fish-out-of water plot point—a unique distinctive for Cap's comic book journey—is used simply to keep the ball rolling toward Marvel's The Avengers movie, coming next May. Meanwhile, the main plot is more common and ho-hum.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a scrawny, plucky Brooklyn kid who wants nothing more than to serve his country and fight bullies—"wherever they're from." After repeatedly being deemed unfit for service for a litany of ailments, a mysterious scientist (Stanley Tucci) approaches Rogers with an alternative. The government's Strategic Science Regiment (SSR), run by Tommy Lee Jones' Colonel Phillips, is looking for a candidate to be the war's first super soldier. Soon, Rogers is known far and wide as Captain America, a true ...