Sunday, September 20, 2015

Captain America

  Some movies are patriotic, and some are nostalgic, but Captain America is neither of those things. What it is, however... is vaguely embarrassing. Even the unreleased Fantastic Four movie by Roger Corman's company was better than this. However, above all else, Captain America is deceptive. The first 20 minutes of the movie aren't bad. They aren't great, but they're at least entertaining. It's a decent start to what we can only expect is going to be a fair action adventure movie with a most iconic Marvel Comics superhero. Oh how very, very wrong that is.

  The problems kick in after Cap's rather impressive raid on a Nazi stronghold, the first action scene of the movie. It's great. It's what one would want from a 90's Captain America flick. Lots of running, punching, and shield-throwing. This is pure Captain America, and it's buckets of fun. Yet, right after that scene we're bombarded with such mind numbing stupidity that it's hard to believe it's the same movie. As everyone knows, Cap gets strapped to a rocket headed for America, most specifically here The White House- but as the movie would have you believe, nobody knows jack about this rocket even when it's seconds from blowing up the white house.

   So close in fact, a kid out in the street taking pictures of it with his crappy little camera was actually able to snap a shot of Cap's face while he's on said rocket, blasting towards the White House. Yeah. Oh and how does Cap heroically divert the rocket? By kicking his heels into it and making a dent. Which was apparently strong enough to divert the rocket so far off course, it lands... "Somewhere in Alaska". Sigh. Yes. "Somewhere in Alaska" Anyways, the rocket doesn't crash super deep within the ice, or anything dramatic, it kinda just flops onto the ice, skids around and then lightly bumps into a big snow drift... and THAT was enough to keep Captain America cryogenically frozen for decades.

  Ugggh. The movie takes liberties where it shouldn't, and refuses to take liberties when it should. Cap's old enemy the Red Skull has apparently quit being a Nazi and instead got tons of plastic surgery to end up being an Italian mafia boss. Wait, what? Yeah. The terrifying Nazi super soldier, the Red Skull abandons his iconic and scary gimmick 25 minutes into the movie. Sigh. But going back to the liberties it should've taken... even an undemanding audience of the early 90's needed a bit more explaining about how these things are happening. We get no explanation. We don't even get throwaway lines that could help out. Maybe Cap kicked the rocket's guidance system? Maybe the super soldier serum helped keep Cap alive? I dunno. We're left to guess, and that's not even the movie's biggest sin.

  The worst thing about the movie is that Captain America isn't heroic in the slightest. In his first fight, he gets his ass handed to him by the Red Skull in a thirty second fight. Then, after he spontaneously wakes up in the 'present day', his next fight scene consists of him running away from assassins on motorcycles, and being rescued by the ever-rotund Ned Beatty in his junky little Volkswagon beetle. Beatty's character promptly flips his wig and explains that he's been looking for Cap and that he needs his help to save the world or whatever. But, being the absolute genius that Cap is, he notices that the Volkswagon is a German car, so obviously this guy has to be a Nazi. Forget the fact the guy just saved him from certain death- he's a Nazi.

  So what does Captain America do? He fakes car sickness, gets Beatty to pull the car over, he walks away a few yards, acting like he's nauseous... and then when Beatty walks over to check on him, Cap turns and sprints back to the car, stealing it, and driving off. So, to sum it up, Captain America's entire plan was basically "outrun the fat guy back to his car". But what's worse? This isn't even the only time he does this to someone trying to help him! He runs away from almost every fight, he's constantly out of breath, and he's a dick to everyone trying to help him. Captain America? Pft. More like Captain Asshole. This is the guy who's our one hope at saving the world. Why exactly? He doesn't seem any more qualified than a regular army soldier.

  Super soldier? Hardly. More like a Subpar Soldier. None of the actors seem remotely into their parts, not that I can blame them. The material is awful. The action scenes are only ever marginally adequate. There's a couple fun ones throughout, but not fun enough to offset the rest of the movie. The editing is horribly atrocious, things appear then disappear, characters have guns then inexplicably... don't. The direction is terrible as well, nothing makes sense. In fact, I probably saw this movie at least five or six times throughout my childhood with no concept of what the actual plot was.

  Re-watching it now, I was expecting to discover what the plot was- but I couldn't. What the actual hell was the plot? The back of the VHS talks about the Red Skull wanting to transplant his brain into the body of the president of the United States' body. I don't recall any mention of that in the movie at all. I know ol' Red kidnapped the president, but I figure it's just typical evil guy stuff. The end game of the movie involves some sort of doomsday rocket that can level all of Europe or something. Where the Red Skull got one of these... I dunno. Sigh. This is the long and short of it. It's a silly, badly made movie that only exists in my life as a nostalgic item from my childhood alongside movies like The Phantom, The Flash (TV pilot) and Masters of the Universe. The difference between Captain America and those movies? Revisiting those movies is a guaranteed good time. They hold up well and they're really fun in my opinion. Captain America... is just... not.

Case closed.

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