Why does a film chiefly concerned with the extraordinary have to be so ordinary?

Captain America:  The First Avenger gives us the final chapter in the Marvel Avengers Prequel Universe this week with a time-travel trip back to World War II to learn the origin of its eponymous hero (Chris Evans). This is a lesson; however, that’s been given countless times before.

Scott Rogers is a scrawny kid from Brooklyn obsessed with joining the army to fight in World War II. He attempts to enlist several different times but his various ailments (asthma, heart problems, etc.) prevent him from serving until he draws the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) a former German scientist who turns him into a superhuman.

Meanwhile Erskine’s first subject, a manic Nazi nicknamed The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), sets up shop in Germany with an advanced technological group nicknamed Hydra. Red Skull learns of Erskine’s interest in creating another superhuman and sends out his teched-out Nazi spies to stop him.

Believe it or not, they fail, and Captain America is created from the scrawny Steve Rogers. As luck would have it, both the serum and Erskine are destroyed by The Red Skull’s henchman and Cap is relegated to a promotional tool hawking War Bonds. This is until he’s sent over to Italy in order to entertain the troops and goes on a rescue mission to save his brother behind enemy lines.

This mission proves successful and, amazingly, a man with superhuman abilities is finally seen as a worthwhile soldier in the eyes of high command who task Captain America (and his newly assembled team) with taking down The Red Skull and shutting down Hydra forever.

Captain America is essentially a paint-by-numbers superhero movie. But it’s more than that. Given its setting it also manages to accomplish the feat of being a paint-by-numbers   That’s two clichés for the price of one ticket. What a deal!

There’s nothing in this film that is inventive or even tries to be. We get the rushed origin story. The under-written villain. The straight-ahead plot with the montage of Cap’s exploits in the middle and an ending that is both underwhelming and non-sensical.

In other words, director Joe Johnston knows what has worked before in other such films so he does nothing by try to replicate the success of what’s come previously. This strategy both works and it doesn’t. It works in that the film never wanes – it moves forward and manages to stay entertaining while keeping with its source material. It doesn’t work in that it’s totally uninspired and completely bland, bringing not a single new idea to the screen.

The supporting cast is fine. Tommy Lee Jones is in his wheelhouse as Rogers’ commanding officer and Weaving does what he can with a ludicrous villain. Evans is not so fine as he comes off like a 1950s matinee idol character on a soap opera from the 1970s – he cannot carry this film.

But the acting is not the problem here. It’s the complete lack of unoriginality. It’s the fact that nothing at all was tried with this film. There was no effort to break new ground or bring some level of depth to the character or the story. This seemed like nothing more than a quick shot one-off that was made simply so the end titles could read “Captain America will return in The Avengers”.

And speaking of end titles, unlike most Marvel films this does not include a post-credits sequence, so don’t stick around.

Yes, with this film, even the closing credits were disappointing.