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Captain America: One for the Little Guy

DD-captain-america-dvd-art-620pxWhen I was 10, I stood 4 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 75 pounds. The problem with being a small kid is you’re an easy target for bullies. That’s one reason why I like super heroes like Captain America: they stand up for the oppressed, the little guy.

At the age of 16, Steve Rogers is barely 5 feet tall. Like many young men of the early 1940s, Steve is eager to join the military and serve his country. But Steve is rejected again and again because he’s frail and sickly. “Sorry son, you’re 4-F,” he is told one last time. Just when he’s about to lose all hope, he is asked to volunteer for a top-secret government project that transforms him into a 6-foot-4-inch super soldier — aka Captain America. He will at last be given the opportunity to fight.

Every skinny kid has had visions of becoming suddenly and miraculously strong.

The creators of “Captain America: The First Avenger” pull off an amazing feat: they find a way to update the legendary super hero — including his red, white and blue spandex suit — while staying true to the character that first appeared in a Marvel comic in 1941. Armed with only a pistol and a high-tech shield, Captain America takes on an entire battalion of soldiers during a mission to rescue his best friend, Bucky. He knocks out bad guys, deflects death rays, and uses his shield against the enemy like a supersonic Frisbee.

Captain America is my favorite super hero, not because of his super strength, but because of his human qualities: goodness, loyalty, and honor. He didn’t come to earth from another planet. He’s human. Every time he goes into a fight he is like any other man — risking his life to save friends and fellow soldiers. And, in the end, he is willing to give his life to save the world.

Every skinny kid has had visions of becoming suddenly and miraculously strong — with the power to vanquish all foes once and for all. We love super heroes because we have a glimmer of hope that there’s a super hero inside each of us that’s just waiting to come out.

Dad Alert: Captain America is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action. If you have young or sensitive kids, you should preview the movie with them in mind. It’s a war movie, so it can be intense, and people die. It’s not gory, but there are numerous battles, explosions, and fistfights.

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