Captain America: The First Avenger is a bit of a goofy superhero movie, which makes it more fun than the tortured products that have come down the line recently.
As with other films set in the Marvel Universe, this one aims audiences in the direction of next summer's The Avengers, where all the good guys get together and we assume the bad guys don't have a chance.
The Captain America comic books began in the early 1940s, when they were meant to be a morale booster during World War II.
Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a 98-pound weakling who fakes his way into the Army. Expected to wash out, he ends up a guinea pig, being injected with a special serum to build his muscles. Next thing you know, he's beyond buff and nearly indestructible as Captain America. One of the neatest special-effects tricks is seeing the actor's face superimposed onto the frame of a scrawny body double.
Politics being what they are, the brass and Washington would rather send Captain America on a promotional tour to sell war bonds than do actual fighting. Onstage with chorus girls and an actor dressed as Adolf Hitler, the superhero looks like a super-dork.
Patriotism mixed with show biz doesn't get any more cheesy, and director Joe Johnston has fun with that.
But it isn't long before our hero figures out his way to the action is the shield-throwing Captain America.
Hugo Weaving, who has had plenty of practice playing a nemesis in Matrix movies, is the villain, a German scientist with a noseless face.
Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones is Rogers' crusty commander. Stanley Tucci is the good German scientist, and Dominic Cooper is Iron Man's dad, Howard Stark. British actress Hayley Atwell is sexy and smart as Agent Carter, the Captain's love interest.
Captain America: The First Avenger retails for $29.99 or $42.99 for two-disc Blu-ray.