Captain America (1990)
User ReviewsReview this title
Where to begin? The movie has a dim look to it; the acting is second-rate; and the action and battle scenes are few and far between. It will disappoint most die-hard comic book fans, perhaps as much as those silly 1970s Cap films were. On a positive note, the action scenes aren't awful when the viewer finally gets to them. As well, the characters stay pretty true to their illustrated roots, and kids aren't going to be nearly as fussy as adult moviegoers about this one.
Well, yeah but it's no better.
Captain Americas origin story is told and after thawing out he goes after his nemesis the Red Skull.
Much like the 1970's movies Cap is in civilian clothes for the vast majority of the film which I find a strange decision, the action sequences aren't as frequent but a tad more realistic.
Costing over 10 million this was considered a big deal but despite a star studded cast this was actually somewhat of a bore and the leading man seemed out of his depth.
Outside of the modern Cap movies I'd recommend the 70's movies over this or the 1944 classic.
Red Skull actually looks quite good (For the brief moments he's in it)
Matt Salinger is such a goofy looking guy and the mask just makes it worse
Incredibly boring for an action film
Things I Learnt From This Movie:
Marvel actively declaring one of their heroes is inferior to a DC one seems a bit foolish
Tin Man sorry to say but you insult Dean knootz by comapring his work with this garbage. its a B-movie! i've seen worse really. the acting was ok i suppose but the script didnt go anywhere and had more plotholes than the streets by my house.
1. The first movie must spend a great deal (if not the whole movie) in WWII, where his legend will start. No urban legend in the 21st Century.
2. Steve Rogers is a NEW YORKER! He kept his optimism despite losing both parents to disease (alcoholism, pneumonia) during the Great Depression. Even in the new millennium, he loves listening to big band and 40s music and anything that sparks such nostalgia. He's still a BROOKLYN Dodgers fan.
3. What the hell was that with the plastic ears?! (Sorry, had to get that one out.)
4. Get that shield back...it was way better than not having one in the serial (a gun?) or a clear one in the TV movie.
5. Don't forget that the costume has a star on the front *and* back.
6. If you make the Red Skull (most likely villain) Italian again, so help me...
7. I wouldn't mind seeing Bucky, but you can do like the Ultimates storyline and have him non-costumed in the war if it'll help. But please don't make Cap's costume like the one in the Ultimates (either version).
8. Don't try to combine love interests (Bernie was the girlfriend during the 1980s, Sharon was the girl in the 60s and 70s, but it was wrong to make them mother and daughter.).
9. I gotta say it again...don't make him an urban legend like Batman! Captain America was created to be a symbol and INSPIRE American public and forces as a response against the Red Skull. He can't do that if he's skulking the shadows.
Thanks and good luck.
After Steve Rogers gets pumped up by the super soldier serum he becomes Captain America and gets into a disastrous first mission that ends with him getting his ass kicked by the Red Skull, who straps him to a missile pointed at the White House. Cap narrowly manages to cut off the Red Skull's hand and wrecks the missile so that instead of hitting the White House it lands in the Arctic and freezes him there, but not before he is spotted by a little boy who grows up to be President Ronny Cox. When Cap thaws out, he finds that much has changed while he's been gone, like his old girlfriend and her now adult daughter. He also finds out that the Red Skull is still alive and still out to conquer the world. Naturally, Captain America catches up with the Red Skull and beats the crap out of him in turn ("Stop calling me your brother!") before saving the world.
The guy playing the Skull is ineffectual, but he's got a nice looking daughter. Again, the real saving grace here is Matt Salinger's sincere performance as the title character, but even that can only do so much against a weak script and boring villains. Still, I enjoyed this film and I feel that fans deserved a chance to see this in theaters. And now I hear that Brad Pitt wants to play Captain America! Oh the shame...
As for those of you who share my affinity for comics and bad movies but can't seem to get their hands on this gem, I can only tell you that it's been out of print for more than a decade now and your best bet is to find it at the next comic con in your area or at a flea market that sells bootleg tapes (ditto that for the Fantastic Four movie from '94).
Captain America is a pretty easy comic to adapt to the big screen, it's just an action adventure war movie about a guy who sometimes wears a mask. They did take some liberties with the character that make my Fanboy radar point up, but it's superficial.
Steve Rodgers is now a boy from Southern California who has polio and offered himself up to the super soldier experiment headed up by a woman who escaped from the Nazis (The idea of a woman creating the star spangled avenger was cool, not enough female brainiacs in the comic book industry ).
Shortly after Steve Rodgers becomes Captain America the doctor is killed making Steve and The Red Skull the only one's like them. After stopping the Red Skull from destroying the White House he is trapped in Ice for 60 years and wakes up having to stop the Red Skull, who has formed an underground crime unit that basically is Hydra without saying it,again.
Proving how well Cap works as an action movie, Matt Salinger who plays Steve Rogers, wearing some sort of padding to make it look like he's got more than he does, barely wears the cartoonish suit they made for him (of course wearing the uniform makes him Captain America, duh)
It's got that 80s swagger to it. The Red Skull has his daughter do all the heavy lifting for most of the movie with her small army of rich Nazi brats who drive the fastest cars and wear the hottest fashions but more than capable with the guns.
They took some liberties with The Red Skull's origin too, I think this was to save money and film the entire movie in Italy (I'm also guessing that certain places in Italy look more like Southern California than New York City)
I am being harsh on the movie because I've grown to like the character more now than I ever did when I was a kid and saw this, but like I expressed before, the movie does have a so bad it's food quality that makes it real enjoyable.
Captain America and the Red Skull are counterparts, both representing the pride of their countries, America and Germany, respectively, back in WW2. Both have been shot with a super-serum which transforms them into world-class athletes. They fight, Cap loses and is tied to a runaway rocket, which crashes into Alaska. He is preserved there until the 1990's, when he get resurrected and he realizes Red Skull is still alive and healthy, because the serum has allowed him to last this long. He is responsible for the deaths of several historic figures, including Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. And his next target is the newest U.S. president. Cap must stop him before it is too late, and at the same time, he must come to grips with the fact that he is in a strange new world and everything he has ever known in gone forever, and that if it hadn't been for him failing to defeat Skull the first time, many people would still be alive.
The Red Skull, also, hates what he has become, and Captain America resurfacing represents a part of him he wishes was dead. He therefore takes all measures to make sure Cap is killed. The way they constantly pursue each other is both exciting and moving.
As someone mentioned, this is a great deal like "Forever Young," especially the way Cap comes back to life and finds his girlfriend extremely old. And "Cap" is the better of the two movies. It has a government-conspiracy plot worthy of a Dean Koontz novel, and it also throws in a lot of comic-book silliness. The balance works, and combined with tremendous acting and a moving theme song, "Home of the Brave," I will proudly state that this is the best variation on a comic book super hero that has ever been put to the screen!
The next few years up to Wesley Snipes' take on the legendary vampire slayer were plagued with low-budget versions of the comic book publisher's characters. Dolph Lundgren's "The Punisher" couldn't even muster a theatrical release in the U.S. Roger Corman's "The Fantastic Four" never officially saw the light of day anywhere, although bootleg copies float around.
21st Century Film Corporation released "Captain America" straight to video in the middle of those two disasters. For many years, the movie was hard to get a hold of and only released on VHS. Shout! Factory released it on DVD and made it widely available to those who sought it out for so many years as a sort of Nerd Holy Grail.
Several years after being caught by Red Skull and left for dead, Steve Rogers is found frozen in the ice and thawed out. He discovers Red Skull received plastic surgery to hide his true identity and is heading up a group of world leaders set on kidnapping the President of the United States for their own diabolical ambitions.
Is "Captain America" filled with cheese? If you judge it from a modern standpoint, of course it is. If you look at it as being a piece of World War II propaganda filmed in the 1940s, you'll find it totally hits its mark. That's the standpoint I choose to view it from.
My only real issue is that we only get about 5 minutes of face time from the real Red Skull. The rest of the film features actor Scott Paulin in flesh-colored make-up topped with scar lines. It's a real letdown for fans of the Red Skull who wanted to see the character the way he looks in the comic books.
I still think that "Captain America" gets way more flack for being cheesy and low budget than it deserves. Is it on the same quality level as "Captain America: The First Avenger?" No way! However, it has an inviting and personal flavor to it that still works 23 years later. Real comic book fans will find value in this adaption and appreciate it for what it is.
THE BAD: The red skull's look at the end of the movie wasn't really all that crappy... it just wasn't the red skull... I have to admit they did take their time to get where they were going in the middle of the movie.
THE GOOD: The good greatly outweighs the bad in this film. Matt Salinger does a perfect rendition of Steve Rogers/ Captain America in his childish "gee whiz" kind of way. The Red Skull's make up in the first half of the film is breath taking, and Scott Paulin (with a great assist from the script) gives more character depth to the Red Skull than I've ever seen in the comics. The opening half hour rushes by with grace, ending with a fantastic battle inside a Nazi stronghold, and the climatic battle between Cap and the skull at the end is also unbelievable. And don't get me started on the "Pull over. I feel sick." parts of it.
OVERALL: One of the best comic films out there, even after seeing some of today's, it's the perfect adventure for the whole family!
In an earlier review, written back in my naive, less-educated-in-Cinema-days, I stated that "Captain America" was the greatest super-hero film ever made. This is not a true statement, and it was one I made having not seen the film in a few years, and the flaws were less-apparent in my mind. Yes, there are many flaws in this film: Some of the dialogue is cheezy, many of the characters are underdeveloped, and there is simply not enough time spent with Captain America in costume. However, in the heart of this film there is a very sincere, very respectable tribute to the golden-age superhero, and I feel that the movie is still very much worthy of praise.
Without going too much into detail about the nature of the plot, I will say that it successfully sums up sixty years of comics into one movie. Both the characters of Captain America and his facist counterpart, the Red Skull (brainchild of Hitler in the comics, created by Mussolini and sold to the nazis here) are depicted as much more tragic than in the comics. Both characters are well-constructed and sincerely acted by Matt Salinger and Scott Paulin, and the film is basically a tribute to old 1940's serials with two strong characters taking center stage.
When I say a tribute to 1940's serials, this is exactly what I mean. Every plot point, every character save Cap and the Skull, serve nothing more than to move the story along from action scene to action scene. Many things happen that make little sense- for example, upon being revived in the nineties after being frozen in ice for fifty years, Captain America is found by a conspiracy theorist who has been piecing together his story for years. How does the guy find our hero? He just happens to be driving through Northern Canada and stumbles upon him. Once the Red Skull realizes that Cap is still alive, he determines that the hero must be out to destroy him. Now, Cap has been out of commission for fifty years, and the Red Skull is now a mysterious, Corleone-esque kingpin. In this film, they only encountered briefly in the 1940's before Cap was frozen in ice. Why on earth would Skull jump to the conclusion that hey! Cap is thawed out, and his first objective will be to stop the Red Skull? In another part, realizing that the Skull is hiding in Italy, Cap jumps on a plane fro the U.S. and flies there. Um.....how did he get on board of that plane? Surely his passport wasn't perserved with him in the ice?
But nevermind....these plot holes, and many like them, are irrelavent to what this film is trying to do: Put our hero in a series of spectacular action scenes and watch how he gets out of them. It is not trying to tell a serious story, it is simply trying to give us some silly, comic-book action in a movie-serial kind of way, and the movie does just that. Our hero is strapped to a German rocket headed toward the White House, dodges nazi villians in Northern Canada, is amazed in some cleverly-written scenes how many American products are made in former enemy lands of Japan and Germany, fights the Red Skull's henchmen in Italy, and finally has an explosive showdown with the Skull himself in the kingpin's castle, where the villian threatens to blow up all of Western Europse with an atomic bomb which he receives from a piano. All this combined with the fact that the Skull is responsible for the deaths of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, and now he plans to use a brain transplant to make the new economically-aware U.S. President his slave.
It is impossible to take this film any more seriously than you would take an old serial or a four-part issue of the Cap comic book, and this kind of treatment is exactly what a Captain America movie needed. As a result, the low-budget, occasionally hammy acting, and confusing storytelling only add to the film's effect and heighten director Pyun's well-choreographed action sequences. There is just something grand and, dog-gonnit, patriotic about the President of the United States leaping from a tower in order to keep the Skull from using him in is experiments, only to be successfully caught and saved by Captain America, who is crawling up the wall vigorously. In real life, this would have ripped both their arms out of their sockets, but in this movie, what difference does it make? It's such a well-shot scene!
This said, Cap and Skull are well-developed, and they hold the film together when it threatens to go over-the-top in its comic-book silliness. Cap fights the Skull and fails to defeat him in the 1940's, only to be frozen in ice and thawed out in the nineties, where he learns that, because he failed to defeat the Skull, his arch villian is responsible for the deaths of many historic figures. Feeling he has failed his country, plus realizing his old girlfriend is now old with a family of her own, Cap is a determined, meloncholy hero with nothing to lose. There is a sincerity to the part that Matt Salinger brings, and with his niavity and his boyish-good looks, it looks as if Cap is truly a hero from the 1940's, who has stepped out of his time and into ours and is truly amazed at the changes that have come (though attempts to give him lines featuring old 40's terms such as "Gee-wizz" and "holy mackeral" don't come off so well). The Red Skull watched the slaughter of his family as a small boy in the 1930's, and this tramautizing event that led to his transformation into the monster he now is has bittered him over the centuries. In a film which emphasized overacting, he probably has the sublest role, yet he still has the film's best over-the-top lines ("Assassination isn't worth the trouble. It took two years to find Sir Hans. Three to find Oswald. The King job alone cost us over twenty two million dollars. What do we get for our troubles? Saints. Martyrs to the cause.") Must like Michael Corleone in the "Godfather 2" (though on a much smaller level), in the film's final scenes, he builds himself up as a great, powerful crimelord, but to the viewer, he simply comes across as pitiful.
In the end, "Captain America" is a fun, low-budget, patriotic, feel-good action flick which works in a Saturday Matinee sort of way. While never released to theaters here in the U.S., it made the theaters, perhaps ironically, overseas and, as a result, built the bridge for the bigger-budgeted, more-serious Marvel Superhero movies that came years later and are still to come. Certainly worth watching, certainly worth owning, certainly a tribute to sixty years of "Captain America" comic books.
*** out of ****
Sure this movie's ridiculed now, but as a child growing up in the 1990s it was this, or literally nothing. Superhero movies weren't the box office blockbusters they are today, and as such this film was quite the novelty back then.
Now you can walk into any store and find tons of Marvel merchandise, but it was a different story in the early-to-mid nineties. It was a lot harder to find anything Marvel related, but thankfully times have changed and people now see comics as great resources for turning out highly entertaining films. Truly, kids don't know how lucky they have it now.
Sure, this movie had more than its fair share of flaws including transforming Red Skull from the German Nazi of his comic continuity into an Italian fascist for the film version, a choice I'm still puzzled by. Taking two of Captain America's unrelated love interests from different eras and making them mother and daughter in the film also seemed an odd decision, but what seemed utterly unforgivable to me as a kid was the costume designer who forgot to put a star on both the front AND back of Cap's uniform! The one thing they got right on the money was his shield.
Comic fans are an interesting bunch, and I'm proud to call myself one of them, and one thing that drives us all mad is taking liberties with the source material. I think had this movie tried to stay closer to its comic book roots it wouldn't have been criticized so harshly.
Personally, I believe had the filmmakers focused on making this story more of a period piece set in the 1940s during the height of World War II, I think the end result would have been a lot better. It would've given us the chance to see why Captain America was considered an American legend and war hero. As it was, it seemed the screenwriter was more focused on trying to propel the story into what was then present day. I would say that maybe roughly fifteen minutes, if that, takes place in 1943 while the rest of the movie takes place in 1993.
In conclusion, I'd say that "Captain America" isn't a great movie, but it's not that bad, and before you rip it to shreds, try to remember the time period from which it came. A time when comic book movies weren't the norm, and kids were happy to have something like this to watch.
If you're curious to watch it I'd say you probably won't be able to find this on DVD and certainly not Blu Ray, but check around on online auctions websites for used VHS copies, or any other popular video streaming sites where I know it's available to watch for free.
I'll be curious to see Captain America: The First Avenger when it comes to theaters in 2011, with Chris Evans (formerly the "Human Torch" from the two abysmal "Fantastic Four" movies) taking on the mantle of Captain America.