Conventional wisdom would tell you that “Iron Man” is the best of the Marvel franchise films, and objectively, that is probably true. It is the flashiest and most impressively constructed of the lot, but I prefer the first “Captain America” picture. In comparison to the others, it has by far the most style and proved that this superhero could be the basis of a serious Hollywood Franchise.

Set in the 1940s, “Captain America: The First Avenger” follows Steve Rogers, the skinny, patriotic New Yorker who wants nothing more than to serve his country in the second World War. After being constantly denied due to his small size and poor health, Rogers is finally chosen as a candidate for a super-soldier experiment. Upon proving his valor, young Rogers is chosen to undergo the procedure. The result is Captain America, who ends up defending his country against the evil Red Skull.

The premise is that of a 40s/50s serial adventure. There is no denying its camp, but director Joe Johnston does a good job with the material. Working for Steven Spielberg is not a bad way to come up in the film business, and the influence from that great director is obvious in “Captain America.” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is the film that immediately came to mind. From the subject matter, to the sweeping camera movements, to the sometimes heavy handed use of music and pathos, its all very Spielbergian.

Like in the other Marvel films, the cast is good, not great. Chris Evans does a decent job and shows that he can be the leading man of an action franchise. Supporting turns from such veterans as Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, and Stanley Tucci bring real gravitas to this blockbuster.

I have never been an enormous fan of the Marvel films. There is a sameness to them that gives the feel of an obviously studio produced film. Of them all, though, “Captain America” is the best. There is at least some sense of an artful filmmaker behind the camera, which breaks the mold and makes for an entertaining motion picture.- 3/4

Have you seen “Captain America: The First Avenger?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen.