After bitching about it a few months ago, I did end up seeing it because I'm awful at that sort of thing. I gave it a B. It was good but not great and certainly not better than X-Men First Class.
Chris Evans was far and away the best thing about this movie. Any doubts about him being cast as Captain America have been buried. He was fantastic in the lead role and pulled if off perfectly. He deserves to become a big star off this performance.
He was bolstered by a terrific supporting cast. Tommy Lee Jones was a blast, Haley Atwell was one of the better comic book love interests in recent memory, and I liked how they reimagined Bucky. Teenage sidekick just wasn't going to cut it realistically. Also liked Steve's relationship with the scientist whose name I can't remember. Howard Stark was another good addition but seriously, did he have Tony when he was like 60 years old? Nice to see Filch from Harry Potter pop up in the very boring first 10 minutes of the movie. The entire Captain America as a movie star bit was particularly cool. Loved that they used the first Captain America shield in the beginning.
The production design on this film was very impressive and I loved how they brought the 1940s to life. Good action as well. I liked how they ended the movie and set up the next Avengers film.
I just wasn't feeling this movie as much as I had hoped. Maybe it was the lack of credible threat from the enemies. Serioulsy, can we agree that Hydra was the biggest bunch of cannon fodder bad guys since the stormtroopers? They posed no threat whatsoever in the film and got their ass kicked whenever they were in a fight. Hugo Weaving wasn't bad but I expected more from the Red Skull. Iron Man 2 suffered from the very weak threat posed by the villains and Captain America does too. Speaking of Hydra...
-One thing I can't get past is the revisionist history where Hydra is the great menace we faced in World War 2. No, it was Nazis, national socialist goosestepping racists that walked around with a tribal symbol as their standard. Former Nazis (like Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker) led Hydra, but Hydra was Chaos to Shield's Control, a post-war terrorist menace. It just flips my switches when somebody in Hollywood decides, "Oh we can't show swastikas in a superhero film," when the film's about a guy who got his start punching the head swastika in the face!
You hit it right on the mark. Substituing Hydra for the Nazis was a complete joke. Red Skull was and is a GIGANTIC Nazi. He was basically Hitler's Captain America during the war. It was only later, when Cap was brought back into the Marvel Universe that this Hydra stuff started up. I want to see Captain America fight Nazis, not cannon fodder Hydra goons. This film is supposed to be set during WW2 but Cap fighting against a fictional "Nazi" terrorist team really took me out of the movie. Just an awful PC Hollywood decision.
Speaking of which, I think the director did deemphasize American patriotism almost every chance he got. Only during the credits at the end was I actually feeling the whole patriot thing.