The real beauty of the Captain America mythology, for those of us who have grown up in the modern age, is that it’s an answer to the question of, “What if all those old yarns Grandpa spun about the adventures of his youth were actually true?” Steve Rogers, the man behind Cap’s mask, is the hero we imagined our grandfathers (or fathers, if we’re of a certain age) being, at least before we got all jaded and cynical, and the best way to watch the film adaptation of his story, Captain America: The First Avenger, is to drop your cynicism at the door on the way into the theater; it is a film that wants to recreate for us, like the Indiana Jones films before it, a hero from another age.

As many others have remarked, it is the first movie in the Marvel Film Universe since the summer of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk to feel like it never buckles under the weight of setting up next summer’s blockbuster Avengers team-up — it’s certainly doing its share of setting up, but in far less obvious ways than, say, Iron Man 2 or Thor, and that’s pretty refreshing (and surprising), considering the film is subtitled The First Avenger.

As with any first flick of a potential franchise, it is not without the flaw of wanting to get all of the important material into this one movie (in case it bombs and a sequel never happens), but it also leaves plenty of room for future exploration, both in the WW2 period, and in the modern day, especially with the character of Bucky, who has been put to such good use in recent comic book storylines.

Captain America: The First Avenger, like X-Men: First Class before it, puts a new twist (a period setting) on a genre that is fast becoming overdone, and I, for one, hope that any future Cap films remember to include at least a bit of the magic that comes from seeing a guy of my grandfathers’ generation kicking ass and taking names.