I thought it was great fun. While it was “yet another superhero origin movie” at its core, its rendering of the title character’s was handled very well. Unlike the other “Avengers” we’ve seen so far, Steve Rogers has to become a superhero from the ground up. Yes, the super-soldier formula gives him greater abilities than any other soldier, but it doesn’t automatically turn him into a leader or a hero. That’s something he has to earn in ways both debasing (travelling the country in a singing routine to sell war bonds) and thrilling (staging a one-man raid on a HYDRA camp to free Bucky and a couple hundred soldiers). The film kind of goes on autopilot once Steve comes into his own, and though things blow up quite well the latter half lacks the sense of fun and discovery the first had.
However, what I liked most from the film is something that’s (ironically) hard to find in the actual Marvel Universe these days: the thrill of seeing how connected everything is. Continuity in the MU has become increasingly loose over the years and while that has allowed a lot of creators to pursue their storylines in the way they intended, you get the sense that most titles are operating in a vacuum -- sealed off from other titles that aren’t being written by the same guy. Here, it was a blast to see things like the Red Skull talking about Norse mythology that comes straight from “Thor,” or having Tony Stark’s dad in the employ of the U.S. Military, seeing the Cosmic Cube in action and the activation of the Bifrost near the end of the movie. It’s truly fantastic to see all of these films on the same page and you’ll leave the film REALLY wanting to see “The Avengers” next summer (though the teaser trailer at the end will tide you over for a while).