Pitted against the anticipation for â€œThe Avengers,â€ super project, â€œCaptain America: The First Avengerâ€ seemed like an afterthought by coming out at the tail end of the â€œAvengerâ€ prequel movies.
Add to that the fact that Captain America has an unproven track record as a movie superhero and all signs would point to â€œThe First Avengerâ€ being a major flop.
However, Marvel Studios takes this lesser publicized property and creates a summer action movie that entertains as much as any superhero film out there.
Set in the 1940s, the film establishes a beautiful New York City through sepia tones and a glossy finish.
Chris Evans pulls off the goody two shoes roles of Steve Rogers and Captain America quite well, making the most out of a one-note character.
Action sequences feel predictable, but provide entertainment through fast-paced set pieces and impressive visuals.
On the other end, the most glaring mistakes that â€œCaptain Americaâ€ makes lies within its villain.
Usually sound, Hugo Weaving leaves a lot to be desired as bad guy Red Skull, although he is not given many menacing things to say by the script.
Ultimately, as an â€œAvengersâ€ precursor, â€œThe First Avengerâ€ gets right what â€œIron Man 2â€ failed at last year.
This film introduces Captain Americaâ€™s involvement with the Avengers project in a short, seamless way. It feels like an actual part of the story and culminates well with an epic â€œAvengersâ€ teaser after the credits.
Samuel L. Jacksonâ€™s eye patched Nick Fury is not parading around the entire movie like he was in â€œIron Man 2,â€ and instead the Captain America folks rightfully hold center stage for essentially the entire film.
Having different Marvel characters cross over into the same movie is bound to impress; â€œThe First Avengerâ€ gives a little sample by having Tony Starksâ€™ father Howard Stark play a pivotal role.
And with â€œThe Dark Knight Risesâ€ and â€œThe Amazing Spider-Manâ€ set to come out next year as well as â€œThe Avengers,â€ 2012 is shaping up to be superhero gold.
Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at email@example.com and can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonberlinberg.