'Captain America: First Avenger' -- 3 1/2 stars

PG-13; 2:04 running time Everything good about "Captain America: The First Avenger," which certainly is the most stylish comics-derived entertainment of the year, sets director Joe Johnston's film in direct opposition to the attention-span-destroying likes of "Transformers 3." For one thing the movie takes its mythology seriously without choking on it. Director Johnston knows and loves the story's period; he made "The Rocketeer" (another engaging adventure, more of a cult title than a popular success). Johnston brings to "Captain America" a similar zest for retro detail, in the service of an early 1940s story dealing in Nazis and World War II but also in blue-ray ray guns, and a true-blue, shield-brandishing symbol of the American fighting spirit, informed by the sort of humility that you do not find in anything directed by Michael "Transformers" Bay. It's speculation, of course, but I suspect Bay would explode like the Nazi at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" were he to receive orders to sit still for two hours and watch "Captain America." What's this? A prologue that takes a minute or two to establish a mood of eerie atmosphere? Sound levels suited to inhabitants of this planet, not some other, louder planet? Gaaaaaaaahhh!!! -- Michael PhillipsRead the full review
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