If there was one superhero movie to see this summer, go see The First Avenger. Joe Johnston does an amazing job at keeping the pace of the movie at full throttle for almost its entirety. When seeing any movie, I want to forget about how the movie is being presented to the viewer. I want to forget about how the plot was developed and where the story is headed. There were hiccups in Thor, X-Men and Green Lantern that made me pay attention to how the movie was being presented: character development, flashbacks, dramatic arc, the actor's superhero credibility, etc.
What was refreshing about seeing The First Avenger was not getting interrupted by these film-making aspects. Instead, Joe Johnston told the most compelling superhero story we've seen on the silver screen since The Dark Knight.
If you can get past the CGI pasting of Chris Evans head on another person's frail body, you'll enjoy the ride Johnston puts you on from the moments after he transforms (running barefoot through WWII Brooklyn streets) to the post-credits scene at the very end of the movie (Don't miss it!). The acting is top notch from Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones.
While my 8-year old son wanted to see this film (badly), I'm glad he didn't. Not because of the violence (which wasn't so bad, considering the time period of World War II) or the adult romantic undertones between Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter (that could easily go over his head). Instead, I would first recommend sitting down with your child to explain the difference between what to expect in the movie versus what actually happened, help them understand World War II, who was Hitler, the Nazis and how Hydra and Johann Schmidt played a fictitious role. Guide them, even if it means pausing the movie at home (when it becomes available on DVD) to explain what's happening.