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'Captain America: The First Avenger' review: An origin story done right

*** (out of four)

A heavy injection of a powerful serum and suddenly short, scrawny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) becomes strapping super-soldier Johnny Pecs-A-Lot. (Well, he’s dubbed Captain America, but he looks like Johnny Pecs-A-Lot.) Anyway, it’s 1942, so the task at hand is, of course, taking down Nazis--specifically a power-hungry madman (Hugo Weaving) who’s kind enough to embrace his supervillainy by pulling off his face so he looks the part.
 
The buzz: Perhaps you can hold off superhero burnout a little longer when realizing that “Captain America” is the last such movie of the summer. Hopefully this Marvel star, unlike “Thor,” can get his mythology off the ground without seeming like a round of pre-“Avengers” water-treading.
 
The verdict: Just a good summer movie. No more, no less. The rousing “Captain America” doesn’t exactly zip by, but it also doesn’t try too hard or overreach with its effects or comic relief (looking at you, “Green Lantern”). This old-fashioned adventure brings to mind director Joe Johnston’s second film, “The Rocketeer,” and I mean that as a compliment. Steve’s my kind of hero: He wants his powers, and they don’t change who he is, a regular person fighting for the little guy by standing up against bullies of any size and nationality. That’s worth saluting, as is casting a non-A-list actress (Hayley Atwell) as the love interest and the opportunity to hear Tommy Lee Jones (as Colonel Phillips) bellow about, well, anything.
 
Did you know? Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) claims that the moment you think you know what’s going on in a woman’s head is the moment your goose is cooked. Is that a bad thing if it happens at a time when you’re in the process of actually cooking a goose?

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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