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Captain America: The First Avenger

Year: 2011
Studio: Paramount
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Christopher Markus/Stephen McFeely
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Dominic Cooper, Derek Luke, Neal McDonough, Samuel L Jackson

When Robert Downey Jr gave Tony Stark so much charisma in Iron Man he proved only one thing is ever going to stand out in this interminable deluge of superhero origin stories – good characters. We've seen the CGI, we've seen the smash em up destruction climaxes. Like in no other genre, we've seen it all before.

So while Chris Evans has some good screen presence, he's just far too bland to make an impact in this explosion of computer-generated popcorn. He plays a runty kid in the days of World War II who wants to enlist but keeps getting knocked back.

When a Jewish scientist who escaped the Germans (Tucci) sees him and grooms him for a secret program to create the ultimate soldier, Steve (Evans) emerges a musclebound hero with more ability in his pecs and abs than anywhere else. But instead of being sent to fight he's trotted out as a dancing monkey to raise money through war bonds and it's not until a group of his friends is captured that he goes rogue and storms the field of battle.

They're the prisoners of go-to villain Hugo Weaving, a Nazi madman who's built an erstwhile Fourth Reich with even more bloodthirsty and expansionist aims than Hitler's, deploying an army Captain America will have to slice through to save the day.

The effects are ropey and cartoony enough looking, but the 3D is a particular waste of time in making everything look even faker than usual. Save yourself two hours and just wait for Joss Whedon's Avengers movie – he'll treat all these characters far better.

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