I’ve just written the following in a comment thread: “Nobody believes in a righteous, true-blue America any more. Certainly not in the way everyone did during World War II. ‘America the Beautiful’ has been over, patriotically-speaking, since the mid ’60s. What Captain America does, curiously, to dream a little dream about what it was to be a true believer during World War II, and to be a kind of goody two-shoes type of guy who wants to serve and salute and defeat the bullies, etc.
“Maybe that’s the door or window that allowed me to get into this, or that let Captain America into my realm…whatever. In a kind of a dopey, stylized way it recreates the special glow of that gone-forever era, or at least as it might have been. I was saying to myself that ‘this is kind of silly, of course, but Joe Johnston and his team really believe in this yesteryear dream-reality themselves. Because they’re selling me on it…me!’
“It’s not just a very heartfelt comic-book film, but one that seems to fly by as quickly and fleetingly as a comic book, even though it lasts a couple of hours. That’s an important aspect. It never gets loaded down with convictions that it’s delivering something momentous and meaningful…and yet it is in an odd way.
“Captain America is not in the least bit ‘realistic,’ of course. Everything it contains is about memory and echoes and haze. And about browns and ambers and sepia-tones. But it’s a highly sincere and convincing visitation of an imaginary yesteryear, and for the first time in a long time I felt a semblance of what it might have been to be a true-blue good guy and to be ‘part of the team.’ And I’m no team player.”