By Joan Alperin Schwartz 'Captain America: The First Avenger', directed by Joe Johnston (Wolfman) is the latest superhero to come out of the 'Marvel' stable.

The year is 1941...Hitler and his merry band of Nazis are storming through Europe. 

One particular Nazi, Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) is in Norway searching for an ancient artifact known as Odin's Tesseract...

This artifact is very, very powerful.  We know this, because of the small print written on it... ...not meant for human eyes...Apparently, the Tesseract gives a person unlimited power.  And who is the last person on Earth you'd want to have this power...Mr. Red Skull of course.  He's so evil that even Hitler wants him gone.

Anyway, Red Skull finds the Tesseract and I'm sure you can guess the rest. 

Meanwhile, back in the USA, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)a scrawny, asthmatic dude, with enough illnesses to keep his health insurance premiums at an all time high, wants nothing more than to join the Army and defend America against the evil doers.  Unfortunately for Rogers, no matter how many times he tries to enlist, the Army keeps rejecting him.   That is until...

Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), a kindly German scientist, comes along.  He sees something in inner goodness.  So with Erskine's pull, Steve becomes a soldier in the United States Army.  He also agrees to undergo an experimental procedure that the good doctor and inventor extraordinaire, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) came up with. If this experiment works, Steve will become a 'Super Soldier'.     

Quick note...Red Skull underwent the same procedure,  but things didn't turn out exactly right...Hint: Schmidt now has a big Red Skull and a face that would scare even his mother. 

Luckily for Steve, the procedure turns out differently.  Quicker than you can boil water or fry an egg, Rogers goes from being a puny, sickly fellow to having a body that Schwarzenegger, in his body building days, would envy...Plus he can beat up a lot of people at the same time, jump really high and leap really far.

The Army considers him a 'human weapon' and one that is way too valuable to risk in combat.  They decide to use Rogers as a celebrity to sell Bonds in order to raise money for the war.  Backed by a chorus line of hot, sexy USO dancers, and dressed in a red, white and blue costume, Steve hits the road.  He tours all over the United States and Captain America is a big hit.  He's loved by everyone. Alas, all this attention and fame, doesn't make him a 'happy boy'.  Steve wants to fight.  And what Steve wants, Steve gets.

When his tour takes him to Europe, Rogers finds out that his childhood friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and his men have been captured by Red Skull and his soldiers known as Hydra.  Steve disobeys the orders of his Commander in Chief, Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and winds up rescuing not only Bucky but several hundred captured soldiers. Captain America is finally a real hero...And this is just the beginning.

Steve and his men must now stop Red Skull before he uses the Tesseract to wipe out much of the Planet.

That's a lot for any man to handle...even a Super one.  It's a good thing, Steve has someone to flirt with.  She's the tough, no nonsense, beautiful British Agent, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).  This being the 1940's, poor Steve doesn't even get to first base with Peggy.

To sum up...'Captain America' is shot in 3D and it really didn't have to be.  The special effects aren't that great and there's something very simplistic about this film. Maybe you have to be a fan of the 'Captain America' comic books to appreciate the movie, but I think a film should stand on its own...and in my opinion, this one didn't.

John and I actually came pretty close with our 'bagel rating'.  The film opens in theaters, Friday July 22, 2011.