Captain America (1990) – 1 out of 5
All I can say about the Captain America movie released at the beginning of the 90s is that at least it isn’t the two movies where Reb Brown was the hero in red, white and blue.
Closer to Capt.’s actual origin than the previous two films Marvel auctioned off to be made (and, in turn, had a good chunk of their soul lost) but it’s still a long way from getting it right—thankfully Captain America: The First Avenger was made otherwise Capt. would get no love. This 90s film tells the story about Steve Rogers (Matt Salinger) who is recruited by the Army to undergo a procedure that will make him faster and stronger—although, the process doesn’t make him look any different as he remains the same size after the experiment is done. But, thankfully, abs were sculpted on the rubber suit so the illusion of him being in better shape is…well, truthfully, it’s still not there.
|Look at those sculpted abs...sculpted-in-rubber abs.|
This new hero, named Captain America, is sent to take out the Nazi’s own super soldier, the Italian born Red Skull (that’s right, they made Red Skull an Italian fascist in this film). Paralleling Salinger’s weak performance to near mind-fuck levels, Capt. loses the fight and is strapped to a rocket aimed at the United States. While on his doomed flight, Capt. is able to divert the rocket away from the White House and, in doing so, inspires a little boy who spotted him—and that little boy grew up to be the President of the United States of America…while Capt. crashed landed in the tundra and was frozen. So, at least it worked out for someone.
|Before the experiment...|
|After the experiment...clearly a success!|
After the little boy becomes Prez (played by Ronny Cox), Capt. is thawed out and thrown into a loop when he realizes that phrases like “23 skidoo” are out and flannel shirts and awful 90s fashions are in.
|Immediately after seeing the girl in the thong, Capt. messed his pants and passed out.|
While trying to get his head around the situation, and taking a break from stealing cars from people after saying he’s sick and needs the car to be pulled over—seriously, Capt. does this twice and it felt really out of character for the superhero who is suppose to be about sticking up for the little guy and having a strict moral code; not to mention that it's sort of sad to see him stealing cars and stealing them with such an obvious trick—while this is going on, the President is kidnapped because he wants to protect the environment and it seems the bad guys Captain Planet fought are financing Red Skull. Now Capt. must forget that women are now in the workforce and go and save the President and stop his old nemesis.
|The Red Skull or a possible horror film monster about a period coming to|
life and killing menstruating teenagers?
Oh, and did I mention that we only see Red Skull in the actual reddish hue and skull-head early in the film and he then has his face covered in skin so he is no longer the character he is named for? I guess they just didn’t have the budget for a blood-red, skeleton dome.
|Somehow he looks even lamer after the facial reconstruction surgery.|
While this adaptation of Captain America gets points for being closer to the source material than the 70s films—at least Capt. wasn’t a surfer in this one—it doesn’t erase the fact it’s nearly as bad as those two in every other sense. The action is weak and consists mostly of Matt Salinger looking like he is barely able to throw a punch and he moves like he can’t see out of the rubber suit. Then there’s the acting…
|Acting and convincing fighting may not have been his thing but Matt Salinger|
could look the fuck out of objects.
First off, the entire cast (which even includes Ned Beatty) all seem to be doing their best to not try…like their checks didn’t clear or something but this pales in comparison to the main players. Scott Paulin plays the Red Skull and if you are not reaching for the remote or, if the remote is nowhere in sight, something sharp to cut your throat with within the first 10 minutes he starts “acting,” than you are a greater superhero than the Captain in this film and your powers are infinite patience. Paulin’s performance can only be described as it seemed like he went to a class (that would later be revealed to be a scam) called “Super-villains 101,” got the syllabus, read about half of the first paragraph and decided, “I think I get the idea” and acted accordingly.
|"I really should have a bowler hat, a finger-twirlin' mustache and a woman|
tied to some train tracks."
Matt Salinger as our hero is even worse to deal with as the most simplistic of human emotions seem incomprehensibly complicated to him. What we get is a patriot hero who is suppose to be standing up to bullies and doing what’s right and, instead, had less emotion than an outdated, inanimate cell phone. In fact, if you took the film and ripped it to your computer, digitally added a iPhone in a spandex suit (complete with those head-wing-thingies) with Siri providing the voice and used this dynamic in place of Matt Salinger, you would actually have a lead character with more personality and capacity for human emotion than the film’s original end product.
|The film ends with Captain America staring straight through your TV and into your soul.|
Like many of Marvel's past products, before the glory days we see now, Captain America was just downright awful...but hilarious in its awfulness. The fact this film is a steaming pile that was clearly made on a shoestring budget actually gives it reason for not only viewing but actually existing. And hey, at least the shield doesn't look like cheap plastic like it did in the 70s...nope, this time it looks like a more expensive plastic!