Guest Post from the Mormon Movie Guy.  He writes a great blog similar to ours reviewing movies from a Latter-day Saint Perspective. The review was written by him, but the star ratings were applied based on my interpretation of his review.


   As a superhero-origin movie, Captain America lays out cliche after
cliche, following the template of numerous films that have come before it. As a
patriotic crowd pleaser, however, it offers plenty of old-fashioned delights. I
have to borrow what another
said here, because he summed it up perfectly: “If you’ve got a
problem with any of the plot points in Captain America, he will kick you in the
chest and make you love your country.”
Director Joe Johnston (The
) delivers a delightfully nostaligic look at the World War II era,
complete with a terrific sense of patriotism. This is a character, and a film,
that believes in the goodness of America and what it stands for. From the
wardrobe to the vernacular, the music, and even the propoganda posters, Johnston
lovingly stirs up nostalgia for a bygone time when the country believed in
itself and the world seemed painted in black and white (America, England, and
their allies were good, the Nazis and their allies were evil) instead of modern
shades of grey.

   The eye for period
detail is terrific, but contrasts poorly with the cartoonish nature of the
villain, Red Skull, and the futuristic design of his weaponry. Though this is a
superhero film, the villain lacks the sophisticated crusade of Magneto or the
fascinating philosophy of the Joker; instead he’s just another one-dimensional,
power-hungry magalomaniac bent on world destruction and domination, as found in
dozens of other superhero/fantasy/spy films. The lack of a compelling antagonist
drags what could have been a great movie down to just being a good one. What’s
more, though true to the comics, Red Skull looks like he’d be more at home
fighting He-Man than a WWII patriot and his faceless minions look like
carryovers from that terrible G.I. Joe movie. Though he’s harnessed the
power of the gods (a nice nod to Thor), Red Skull’s technology looks
futuristic even by today’s standards and seems jarringly out of place in a story
set 70 years ago. Don’t blame Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings); the fact that the villain holds any interest and displays any
menace at all is due to the performance of this excellent actor doing the best
he can with an underwritten character.

   That said, there is
plenty to enjoy here, both in the hard-hitting action scenes and in the
performances. Chris Evans, in the title role, switches off his usual
wisecracking routine and delivers an earnest and virtuous performance. The
transition of a 90 pound weakling into a hulking behemoth is truly incredible.
Captain America, refreshingly, eschews the imperfections that plague
other superheroes. These imperfections, granted, make the others interesting as
they grow and develop, but they’re not always the best role models. Instead
of the rock-star vanity of Iron Man, the conflicted torment of Hulk, or the
bravado of Thor, Captain America represents a return to the good-natured
wholesomeness of classic all-American heroes who represent humility and
conscience. Perhaps our nation is more jaded now and we relate better to flawed
characters; that said, it was nice for once to be treated to a character
who’s simply a good person. I’ve no doubt that it’ll be great fun to see how his
old-fashioned values interact with those of the just-mentioned superheroes in
next summer’s Avengers movie.

   Evans’ romance will
a British officer (Haylee Atwell, in a strong, intelligent, and sweet
performance) is nicely handled, taking the less-is-more approach. It was a wise
move to show how, even before she was attracted to the him, she admired his
courage and meekness. Though the ad campaign takes a “you’re going to get so
many girls” line out of context and the clueless hero briefly allows a female
stranger to give him a kiss of gratitude, Captain America is ultimately a
one-gal guy and the film is refreshingly chaste. Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada, Julie and Julia) continues to impress, giving a warm and funny
depiction of a good-hearted German scientist. Rounding up the cast is Tommy Lee
Jones, who gets the film’s funniest lines. Jones hasn’t been this enjoyable
since The Fugitive and the first Men in Black, and it’s good
to have him back in form. Make sure you stick around until the end of the
credits for a nice little surprise. All in all, Captain America is yet another
solid entry in the Marvel film canon, and it sets audiences up nicely for what’s
sure to be a great time in next year’s The Avengers.


Captain America: The First Avenger is rated PG-13. It
has plenty of bloodless war violence and fighting and one incident of quick
blood spray. Language is minimal, with only 2 mild and 1 moderate uses of
profanity that I recall. Some characters drink alcohol. A villain kills unarmed
persons. There is no nudity or sexuality apart from two kisses.

MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: True heroes do not enjoy
violence or killing, but will forcefully defend liberty and innocent lives if
necessary, even to the point of giving up their own lives. Parents may want to
draw the attention of youth to the example of another patriot, Captain Moroni,
who is described in the Book of Mormon: “And Moroni was a strong and a
mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding, yea, a man that did not
delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of
his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery. Yea, a man whose heart
did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings
which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the
welfare and safety of his people.Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith
of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and
his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood. Now the Nephites
were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of
blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an
offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy,
except it were to preserve their lives.”
(Alma 48: 11-14)