erik lundegaard

Captain America (1979): The Slideshow Review


  • Was there a worse time to make a Captain America movie than 1979? Jimmy Carter's malaise speech was six months away, the Iranian hostage crisis 10 months away. In between we had gas lines and “Americathon,” a movie about the U.S. going broke and resorting to a telethon. That was the mood then. Patriotism was at a low ebb and superheroes were something geeky kids like me read. So how to do make a story out of Captain America?

  • At least there were more muscle-bound actors like Reb Brown populating Hollywood. The question remained: Could he act?

  • Or draw? This is what Steve Rogers does here. He's an ex-Marine, sure, but he's through with that shit, man. Now he wants to roam the highways and biways of the land on a never-ending mission. Wait. Wrong 1970s superhero. No, he just wants to be. Dig? He just wants to find himself. He ain't interested in being no superhero. 

  • That's what he tells Dr. Simon Mills (Len Birman, the best thing in the TV movie). Mills is basically Cap's Oscar Goldman: the bland, benevolent government man who guides the protege along. He also injects him with the super serum (FLAG: Full Latent Ability Gain) that Steve's father invented from his own adrenal gland. That's why only Steve can use it. Everyone else dies of cell rejection. 

  • Here, Steve is told all about FLAG and rejects the idea.

  • Here, he realizes he's been injected with it anyway.

  • Here he's just realizing ... something. Like maybe he should've taken acting lessons.

  • But the suit is delivered.

  • And the clear plastic shield ... which is also the windshield to his bike ... which he keeps in his Chevy van ... and that's all right with me.

  • But they really should've really rethought the helmet.

  • I get it. They were trying to tap into the popularity of Evel Knievel, which led to shots like these, which are pretty cool. 

  • But the helmet ain't flattering.It makes him look like the Great Gazoo.

  • Yes, we get some nice shots.

  • But they must have shot their wad on these stunts. Because the grand finale?

  • Is this: reviving an asphyxiated oil baron with a neutron bomb tied to his pacemaker.

  • If he dies, all of Arizona, and most of LA, will die with him. Will it work?

  • It works! But little else in 1979's “Captain America” does. Full review here.

Posted at 08:01 AM on Sat. Mar 29, 2014 in category Movie Reviews - 1970s  
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