Sunday, May 15, 2016

Captain America (1990)

In 1941, a superhero comic was released that would have a huge influence over the world.  The main character, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, was named Steve Rogers.  His superhero alter ego was Captain America.  He was a patriotically dressed super soldier who would travel around Europe taking down Nazi soldiers.  It was a World War II era comic, and it played right into the World War II fervor. 

The excitement for superheroes died down after World War II.  People didn’t want to see the crime fighting activities of a super powered person when there wasn’t a clear enemy to take down.  With the dying popularity came the end of the initial run of Captain America.  He would come back into comics in the mid-1950s, but that wouldn’t last.  It seemed like the end for the red, white, and blue super soldier.  It wasn’t.

Captain America was re-introduced to comic book readers in 1964 when The Avengers found him frozen in a block of ice.  He would join their team as they fought the supervillains of the 1960s.  Captain America soon became the leader of the team, taking over when Iron Man/Tony Stark left in issue 16.  Later on, Captain America got his own solo comic book series.  It is this iteration of Steve Rogers that would become the basis of the many movies that have been adapted from his comics.

The most popular film adaptation of Captain America has been for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Chris Evans stepped into the role in 2011, taking the shield and the costume and making it into something beloved by fans around the world.  There have since been two sequels that were even more loved than the first.  Captain America: Civil War came out last week and is already one of the most beloved MCU movies.  The overall story of the character involved him being created with a super soldier serum in the 1940s, fighting evil forces during World War II, losing his best friend Bucky, and sacrificing himself to take a nuclear missile down in the Arctic.  The first movie ended with Steve Rogers being thawed out in the present day.  He went on to join The Avengers, and discover that Bucky was still alive and was an evil assassin.  The rest of Captain America’s story would be about helping Bucky get rid of the assassin parts of him and become a functional part of society.

Twenty-one years earlier, the character was presented in another film that featured the same twist as the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.  1990’s Captain America was about Captain America fighting Red Skull in both the 1940s and 1990.  Like the more popular cinematic iteration of the character, he ended his 1940s run by taking a nuclear missile into the Arctic and being frozen for a few decades.  But this time around, it happened near the start of the movie and the rest of the movie followed Captain America trying to stop Red Skull in the 1990s.  Instead of having Bucky as a sidekick, he had the President of the United States.  It is this version of the character that will be discussed this week.

With many of the movies that I cover, I like to find some of the craziest bits and describe them.  It’s a quick way of laying out what the movie is so that you have an idea of what you would be getting into.  This post is going to be similar to that.  Captain America isn’t a strange enough movie for me to only outline weird things, though.  I’m going to instead bring up little things that I noticed while watching it and through preparing for this week’s post that seemed kind of interesting.  Hopefully they will be interesting to you.

The Sound Effect of the Shield
Captain America’s weapons are his body and shield.  The super solder serum made him stronger and allowed him to be more physical.  He has brute force that few people can match.  His shield is his main defence.  It is made of a nearly indestructible metal and can withstand attack from almost anything.  It is also a weapon that Captain America throws at people to knock them down.  When the shield was thrown at people throughout the movie, it made a sound like a baking tray being waved around.  It was like someone wobbling sheet metal.  The sound was and odd contrast the thick, solid looking shield.  The look and sound of the shield did not match.

The Young President
There was a small amount of setup to the president in the early portions of Captain America.  The president was in the 1940s segment.  He was shown as a child because he would become such an important player in the rest of the movie.  The interesting note is who the child was.  You probably won’t recognize the name Garette Ratliff Hensen.  He played Guy Germaine in the three Mighty Ducks movies, and is the brother of Elden Hensen, who played Fulton Reed in those movies.  Few kids from those movies that had big careers, so it’s always nice to see them pop up in something, either before or after The Mighty Ducks.

Matt Salinger Was Not the First Choice
Most movies consider many people for the lead roles.  Captain America was no different.  The people behind the movie were trying to find the perfect actor to embody Steve Rogers, and they eventually settled upon Matt Salinger.  A few actors were desired before him, however.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for Captain America, but as the IMDb trivia says, his accent got in the way.  Dolph Lundgren was also considered.  He was busy with The Punisher, though.  Then there was Val Kilmer.  He would later play Batman.  He chose to work on The Doors instead of this movie.  That was probably a good idea.

Captain America Likes to Steal Cars
Imagine driving a car with Captain America as the passenger.  You’re driving along and having a pleasant conversation.  All of a sudden, he says that he’s going to be sick.  You pull over.  He gets out of the car and runs about thirty feet away.  You follow him to make sure he’s okay.  He bolts past you to the driver’s seat, gets in, and drives away.  You are left on the side of the road.  Captain America just stole your car.

That happened on multiple occasions in the 1990 version of Captain America.  Steve Rogers liked depriving people of their vehicles so that he could go off on his own.  When a reporter picked him up in Alaska, he stole the reporter’s truck to stalk his 1940s girlfriend.  Later, he pulled the same thing on Sharon, his modern day love interest.  This is not heroic.  He’s a thief.

The Costume (Specifically the Ears)
The costume that Captain America wore in this movie is noticeably rubber.  At least, it looked like rubber.  It was a pretty terrible costume.  It didn’t seem like the rubber was protective.  It looked like someone took a rubber kitchen glove and decided to use the same material for the suit.  It looked bad.

The most notable thing about the costume was the rubber ears.  I don’t mean that there was rubber covering the ears, though there was.  The rubber for the ear portions of the costume was designed to look like a human ear, colour and all.  When I read the trivia for the movie, I discovered that there were originally holes for Matt Salinger’s ears to poke through the headpiece.  That design was causing harm to his ears, so the costume people put fake ears on the costume.  They added ears that looked as close to Matt Salinger’s ears as they could.  It’s weird to see.

Other things happened in Captain America, but I don’t want spoil the movie.  It is worth checking the movie out.  You should watch it and enjoy it.  It may not be as fun as the newer MCU made Captain America movies, but this is still a fun 1990 action movie in the vein of many of the lower budget action movies that came out of the mid to late 1980s.  You’ll enjoy the time you spend with it.  I did.  Twice.
I also enjoyed these notes:

  • Captain America featured Jason Brooks, who was in a movie called Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta!
  • I mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He was in Hercules in New York, Batman & Robin, and Jingle All the Way.
  • Dolph Lundgren’s name also came up.  He was in Skin Trade.
  • Have you seen the 1990 version of Captain America?  What are your thoughts?  How do you feel about the MCU?  There is a comments section at the bottom of the page where you can talk about any of this stuff.
  • If you have a movie that you think I should watch for the Sunday “Bad” Movies, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.  It’s always nice to have suggestions.  They enlighten me about movies I’ve not heard of.
  • If you want to see clips of bad movies that I watch, my snapchat story is frequently filled with them.  Not always, but often enough.  My username is jurassicgriffin.
  • Next week’s movie is going to be Funky Forest: The First Contact, a very strange Japanese movie.  I’ve seen parts of it and they are insane.  It’s going to be an interesting week.  Come back next week to see what I write about it.


  1. I saw this movie when i was 10 on video when it came out and thought it sucked. I'm glad Marvel has made their own studio so they can be in control of their properties.

    And what if MST3K riffed this?

    1. If Rifftrax can riff on Captain America: The First Avenger, I'm sure MST3K can riff on the 1990s Captain America.