Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Captain America: The First Avenger is Good Old-Fashioned Fun

Plus, Friends with Benefits' stars have great chemistry.

by | July 21, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a shield-wielding superhero (Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell) and a commitment-free couple (Friends With Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis). What do the critics have to say?

Captain America: The First Avenger


Good ol’ Captain America. He’s one of Marvel’s oldest heroes. But how does he fare in the 21st Century? Not badly at all, say critics; if Captain America: The First Avenger is a cut below Marvel’s other 2011 blockbusters (Thor and X-Men: First Class, both Certified Fresh), it’s still a rousing, proudly old-fashioned superhero flick with tons of visual flash and an exceptional lead performance from Chris Evans. Steve Rogers (Evans) is a super patriotic lad who’s rejected by the draft board as physically unable to serve. However, he’s enlisted by an expat scientist who’s working on an experiment to create super soldiers, and soon, he’s battling HYDRA, a terrorist organization led by a former Nazi called Red Skull. The pundits say Captain America is a scrappy crowd pleaser that compensates for its lack of originality with strong acting and sense of innocent nostalgia that’s refreshing in our irony-soaked era. (Check out Marvel Movie Madness, in which the RT staff memebers share our thoughts on all of the Marvel movie.)

Friends with Benefits


Will Gluck scored big with Easy A, a teen comedy that brought smarts and freshness to a shopworn subgenre. Can he do the same with a grown up romantic comedy? It appears the answer is “for the most part;” critics say Friends With Benefits has moments of sharp humor and a pair of attractive, lively leads, but too often it veers into predictable territory. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star as, yes, friends with benefits: two busy, career-driven pals who agree to share physical intimacy while avoiding the potentially painful trappings of a committed relationship. But what if one starts to actually fall for the other? The pundits say Friends With Benefits gets a major boost from the stars’ easy chemistry and often witty banter, but the movie never fully avoids the clichés it’s attempting to skewer. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Woody Harrelson’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Life in a Day, a synthesis of YouTube videos uploaded by users around the globe in a single day, is at 100 percent.
  • The Woman With The 5 Elephants, a doc about the life and times of a great Russian literature translator, is at 100 percent.
  • World on a Wire, Rainer Werner Fassbinder‘s newly rediscovered 1973 dystopian sci-fi epic, is at 100 percent.
  • Fire in Babylon, a doc about the glory days of West Indian cricket squads in the post-colonial 1970s, is at 89 percent.
  • The Myth Of The American Sleepover, an indie coming-of-age dramedy about a group of teens’ late summer exploits before the beginning of a new school year, is at 83 percent.
  • Sarah’s Key, starring Kristin Scott Thomas in a drama about a journalist who uncovers a dark secret about a family dispossessed by the Nazis, is at 74 percent.
  • Another Earth, an indie sci-fi romance about a pair of damaged souls who attempt to start anew on an exact replica of our planet, is at 64 percent.
  • A Little Help, starring Jenna Fischer and Chris O’Donnell in a dramedy about a suburban woman who suffers a mental breakdown after 9/11, is at 39 percent.

Tag Cloud

animated Acorn TV breaking bad Photos cooking Trailer Tarantino NBC CW Seed Rocketman 24 frames richard e. Grant Comedy Central Trophy Talk sag awards FOX Universal cops zombies elevated horror TIFF 2018 Christmas HBO harry potter ghosts natural history Awards Tour 45 TCA Winter 2020 canceled Super Bowl Opinion christmas movies adventure Musicals Creative Arts Emmys Video Games 007 politics mutant teaser FXX Baby Yoda canceled TV shows Year in Review quibi justice league hist New York Comic Con dramedy werewolf Action Film Festival psychological thriller First Reviews docudrama 21st Century Fox south america sitcom thriller Kids & Family DC Universe Masterpiece medical drama CBS Brie Larson CNN 20th Century Fox streaming Peacock Pixar Polls and Games comics political drama Hallmark binge anime Cannes boxoffice See It Skip It Fox News aliens Television Academy PaleyFest Nominations directors 2017 theme song Sundance Mary Poppins Returns indie Lionsgate Syfy SDCC diversity reboot social media documentary DirecTV witnail robots X-Men cancelled TV shows Reality Competition Box Office Cartoon Network WGN Tubi Shudder Disney Plus Marvel toy story composers MTV MSNBC Tomatazos IFC Films spy thriller adaptation BET OWN green book 2015 LGBTQ Western name the review Thanksgiving Pride Month Disney streaming service TBS hispanic television Hallmark Christmas movies rotten movies we love TLC children's TV Teen Nickelodeon YouTube Premium cars Disney Red Carpet based on movie APB biography PBS vampires finale TCM kids Fantasy RT21 Endgame cancelled Turner Classic Movies crime halloween The CW E3 miniseries Apple TV Plus Mary poppins Classic Film E! Ovation Discovery Channel TV Land Netflix Christmas movies Vudu Valentine's Day video Pet Sematary Family Writers Guild of America GoT Schedule Comic Book Cosplay versus YouTube Red 71st Emmy Awards book Rom-Com Emmys period drama disaster Holidays Amazon The Witch jamie lee curtis BBC foreign Martial Arts Mary Tyler Moore Lifetime discovery Walt Disney Pictures Elton John what to watch blockbuster Star Wars crime thriller Academy Awards Paramount Sundance TV Toys History Comedy Lucasfilm USA Network Winter TV Paramount Network OneApp slashers TV renewals stand-up comedy crime drama Binge Guide dragons DGA Adult Swim YA zero dark thirty Best and Worst Music Election Rocky Shondaland Crackle Columbia Pictures Warner Bros. Starz cancelled television DC Comics transformers sequel National Geographic romance Nat Geo USA CBS All Access spanish language American Society of Cinematographers A24 Spectrum Originals The Purge technology screenings FX Netflix GIFs GLAAD TruTV TNT 2016 Lifetime Christmas movies Apple TV+ Chernobyl Reality Anna Paquin doctor who The Walking Dead strong female leads Sundance Now free movies latino crossover Extras singing competition Quiz blaxploitation Freeform cancelled TV series Spring TV TCA 2017 Film festivals comic Bravo joker zombie First Look renewed TV shows comiccon cults Winners AMC Animation Epix Marvel Television Sneak Peek Dark Horse Comics Heroines Summer revenge Holiday spain MCU Watching Series Mudbound Food Network Disney+ Disney Plus sports SXSW Certified Fresh San Diego Comic-Con travel YouTube Logo ABC ESPN Ghostbusters Infographic Crunchyroll golden globes police drama Turner Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Set visit Arrowverse RT History award winner Mindy Kaling Countdown Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Trivia Apple Awards Ellie Kemper tv talk Avengers Premiere Dates 2019 Spike cinemax Pirates space Marvel Studios independent Sci-Fi Pop ITV true crime movies SundanceTV science fiction war Superheroes Character Guide romantic comedy serial killer dceu series Interview Women's History Month Esquire LGBT VH1 TV ABC Family Mystery A&E Comics on TV Stephen King Drama Marathons The Arrangement anthology Calendar VICE DC streaming service IFC talk show Superheroe CMT Amazon Prime Video Grammys game show historical drama casting nature Rock NYCC Song of Ice and Fire El Rey spider-man cartoon psycho spinoff Captain marvel Disney Channel Hulu dc screen actors guild WarnerMedia Tumblr Oscars President TCA Podcast HBO Max BBC America unscripted Star Trek facebook 2020 Horror supernatural Black Mirror Country Britbox Fall TV Musical Amazon Prime cats game of thrones batman Showtime mockumentary ratings Sony Pictures Emmy Nominations Biopics