America has a new hero and that hero happens to be “Captain America: The First Avenger.” He is the last of the superheroes out of the gate for Summer 2011, and there were no toys or trinkets in the stores to announce his coming. But in true American fashion, this hero came late to the table and kicked butt!

According to the Hollywood Reporter “Captain America” made an estimated $65.8 million on approximately 7,100 screens at 3,715 locations, edging out fellow Avenger Thor’s $65.7 million as well as Green Lantern’s $53.2 million and X-Men: First Class’ $55.1 million to top the summer’s superhero launches. Exit polling indicated that 64 percent of Captain’s crowd was male and 58 percent was 25 years of age and older.

The filmmakers did a very decent thing in making this movie, because “Captain America” broke some rules. In World War II, Black soldiers didn’t, as a rule, fight alongside White soldiers. The platoons were separate for the most part. But you can’t make a movie about an American hero and leave Americans of color out.

Derek Luke (“Miracle at Santa Anna,” “Glory Road”) stars as Gabe Jones, a Howard University grad who speaks German and French; he was selected by Captain America to be on his daredevil team along with Kenneth Choi (“Street Kings”) and several others. This hand full of soldiers along with Captain America knew no fear and loved to fight.

“Captain America” is a unique superhero, because of the values the character possesses. This guy is really a decent human being to start with. He truly is an underdog; men bullied him, and women ignored him because of his small frame. Yet he never takes his size into consideration, when standing up for what was right. If he witnesses any type of injustice he speaks out, and generally gets his butt kicked in the process, but that doesn’t deter him.

Based on the Marvel Comics character from World War II, Steve Rogers played by Chris Evans (“The Losers,” “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer”), wants to join the Army but keeps getting rejected, due mainly to health problems. Undaunted, his determination and guts lead him to Dr. Abraham Erskine, skillfully played by Stanley Tucci (“Burlesque,” “Julie & Julia”), who offers him an opportunity he cannot refuse–an experiment that will make him a super soldier.

But first Rogers joins a special team of soldiers headed by Col. Chester Phillips, played by Tommy Lee Jones (“Men in Black,” “No Country for Old Men”), whose one-liners at Rogers expense, bring laughter to the audience. He doesn’t like Rogers and makes no bones about it.

Evans’ low-key yet powerful performance results in you instantly liking his character even before his transformation. After the transformation, you cheer him on knowing he’s one of the good guys who knew what it was like to be bullied.

Unfortunately for Rogers, his heroic adventures lead him to a very unlikely place where the name Captain America takes hold; and it takes a tragic turn of events to put him directly in the line of fire.
Every superhero has to have a super villain. Hugo Weaving (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Matrix” series) stars as Johann Schmidt. The same doctor who experimented on Captain America and got it right, also experimented on Schmidt first and got it all wrong; creating ‘The Red Skull’ who quickly becomes Captain America’s archenemy.

“Captain America: The First Avenger” is a heart-warming, thrill-a-minute story about an American superhero. From the well written script, and outstanding action sequences, to the powerful performances of all the lead characters, this is a movie you will want to see again and again.

Gail can be reached at hollywoodbychoice_gail@yahoo.com.