The problem with the summer of the superhero movie is there are so many superhero movies to keep straight.
Next up: Captain America: The First Avenger, which throws its mighty shield into the ring on Friday.
Here are some cool things to know about the film that isn't Thor. Or Green Lantern. Or X-Men: First Class. Or...
1. It's Got Good Buzz: "From everything I'm hearing, Captain America is a pretty good movie," Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarbedian tells us. Accordingly, he expects the flick to sell tickets more like the worldwide hit Thor than the worldwide dud Green Lantern—even if the Captain does have the toughest competition of them all: the history-maker Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
2. It's Not Being Treated Like the Ugly American: Who says France doesn't love us? As reported last week, only three foreign countries, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine, are excising Captain America from the title, and selling the movie to their audiences as simply The First Avenger.
3. It's a Fitness-Buff's Dream (or Is That Nightmare?): Maybe you've heard? Star Chris Evans got a tad ripped to play the star-spangled, World War II hero. But maybe you haven't heard (or read on Superhero Hype) that digital-effects artists unripped Evans in order to make him believable as the pre-transformed, 98-pound weakling, Steve Rogers. (All those pecs—gone! The horror!)
4. It's a Must-See for Anybody Who Plans on Seeing The Avengers: If you've never opened a comic, watched an Avengers cartoon, perused the insanely complete Marvel Universe Wiki and/or have lived under a rock, then the following may be a spoiler: Per superhero lore, Captain America gets frozen in the sea only to be unfrozen decades later by Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and friends—aka, The Avengers. So, yeah, we're betting Captain America will feature a setup for Joss Whedon's all-star team-up flick due out next year. (Real-deal spoiler alert: Spinoff Online claims it's got the goods on exactly what's going to be teased—and when.)
5. If You Start Wondering if J.D. Salinger's Son Looked Much Like J.D. Salinger, Then You're Watching the Wrong Movie: Granted, we have no idea how you'd find the 1990 Captain America in a theater this weekend, but stranger things have happened—like, the low-budget 1990 Captain America, starring Matt Salinger.
(Originally published July 19, 2011, at 5 a.m. PT)