August 25, 2009
NC: Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to! There’s a theory going around that comic book heroes are the great modern myths, in the same way that Hercules and Perseus were the great Greek myths. Well, if that’s true, then Captain America must be Douche-icus, because he sure doesn’t hold up!
(Images from the Captain America comic book are shown as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): Now, I’m not talking about the comic books themselves, I never really read those.
NC: I’m solely going by the low-budget action film that actually came out in 1990 under the same name “Captain America.”
(The movie’s title screen is shown, followed by clips from the movie)
NC (voiceover): Never heard of it? There’s a reason. Ridiculously stupid and embarrassingly over-the-top, “Captain America” was among one of the cheesiest comic book movies ever made, and knowing how cheesy comic books already are, that’s pretty bad.
NC: So strap on your devil-horned eagle wings and let’s take a look at “Captain America.”
NC (voiceover): So the credits roll as we start off this classic American story about a classic American superhero in the classic American heartland of… (The caption “Portovenere, Italy 1936” is shown onscreen) Italy. (Pauses) Unusual start.
(Cut to a boy playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” for his mother, who is sitting next to him to turn the sheet music’s pages)
NC (voiceover): What, did Mario Puzo write this? Come on! Where’s the action? (Some windows are suddenly smashed open by Nazis) Oh, here we go. (A Nazi fires, scaring a couple of the women in the room) So a young child prodigy is taken away from his family and used as a guinea pig in an evil experiment. What does the experiment do?
General: (speaks in German with English subtitles to other men about a rat-like creature in a cage, which appears as a stop-motion effect and growls) “The same rat, transformed by a secret process, is now twice as strong and twice as intelligent.”
NC: (speaks with a German accent) We call it “The Harryhausen Effect.”
NC (voiceover): The scientist running the experiment doesn’t want to harm a child, and thus, she escapes this evil heavily-armed military base by…just jumping out the window. (Pauses) Well, that was unrealistically simple.
(The scream of the young boy is heard from the castle as the female scientist looks away in pain at the thought of the torture he might be going through)
NC (voiceover): We then cut to seven years later (with the title card “7 Years Later,” followed by “1943”). Yeah, thanks, we can do the math. We see an injured soldier named Steve Rogers, who is leaving his home to partake in a similar experiment that could heal his leg and make him even stronger. Everyone comes to say goodbye except for his girlfriend Bernie.
Steve: What is it?
Bernice Stewart: I’m sorry. It’s just…it’s just that I love you! (She hugs him)
NC: (as Bernice) That’s why I didn’t come to send you off.
Bernice: I can’t imagine not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going.
(Steve caresses her cheek before kissing her)
NC (voiceover): So it appears that theirs is a romance that will always last. (Pauses) About 20 seconds. I’m serious. They share the screen for just 20 seconds before he leaves. I’ve grown more attached to my toothbrush in that amount of time! So, anyway, they take him to the secret base located just under an everyday restaurant.
Young General Fleming: How’s the pot roast today, Roz?
Roz (a waitress): Mmm, about as good as it was yesterday. (While she speaks, she reaches a hand down to handle the pistol that’s underneath the counter)
NC: Eh, looks like the usual service at Denny’s.
NC (voiceover): So they go downstairs to the secret laboratory where they’re trying to create the perfect American superhero and ultimate grand-slam breakfast.
Scientist: He may not be Superman, but he’ll be a living symbol of what this country stands for.
NC (voiceover): Well, I agree with the first part.
(The machine is activated, and it shocks Steve Rogers greatly, causing him to groan in pain; sparks start flying everywhere and everything goes black before the machine winds down to a stop and the lights go back on)
NC: That was just to see if it was on. Here’s the real deal. (He pretends to lower the switch to the machine)
(The machine is turned on again and shocks Steve severely before winding down to a stop)
NC: (looks off-screen) Oh! Wait! (Beat) The camera wasn’t recording. Let’s try it again! (He pretends to flip the machine’s switch again)
(The machine is turned on again and shocks Steve severely)
NC: (chuckles) I hate humanity.
NC (Voiceover): So the experiment works. Steve’s leg is cured and he seems more powerful than ever before. The onlookers wish to congratulate the scientist.
Mr. Erlich: Remarkable work, Dr. Vaselli. (He extends a hand) Congratulations. (He retracts his hand to make an upward salute) Heil Hitler! (He shoots Dr. Vaselli with the other hand)
NC: (laughs) What was that?!
Mr. Erlich: Heil Hitler! (He shoots Dr. Vaselli)
NC: Wow, that was…the most over-the-top way to kill somebody. I give you props, guys, that-that was mighty silly.
NC (voiceover): I mean…it’s just so sporadic! You can call it the “Psych Hitler!” You go in to shake someone’s hand, and it’s like, “Psych! Heil Hitler!” (The shot of Richard shooting Dr. Vaselli is shown quickly) Do you think he does that everywhere, like at weddings?
NC: (as a wedding attendee, pretending to give a toast) A toast to the bride and groom, on this, the happiest day of their—HEIL HITLER! (Shoots everywhere)
NC (voiceover): Or how about bar mitzvahs? You think he does it there?
NC: (as a Jewish father) Jimmy, now that you’re officially a man, let us celebrate with this most sacred of Jewish tradit—HEIL HITLER!! (Shoots everywhere wildly)
NC (voiceover): Or good God, what if he was a kindergarten teacher?
NC: (sings while doing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song with his hands) “The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain to—” HEIL HITLER!!! (Shoots everywhere even more wildly)
NC (voiceover): So the scientist is killed as Steve is shot and put in the hospital.
Doctor: Colonel, that young man is lucky to have survived the surgery.
Colonel Louis: I’m all level with you, Doctor.
NC (voiceover): (as Colonel Louis) I am Matt Dillon’s brother.
Colonel Louis: What’s at stake here is the lives of thousands of innocent people.
NC (voiceover): But it turns out all his wounds are healed as he’s ready to leap into action and get revenge.
(Cut to Colonel Lewis and Steve Rogers riding a military plane together; We see that Steve is wearing his Captain America outfit (without any previous explanation given of how he got it) underneath his military soldier uniform)
NC: (laughs) Wait, wait, no! (laughs) No, no, no, movie. You can’t do that, movie. You can’t just toss him into that outfit. I mean, have you seen it? There’s…car wash clowns that look more dignified than that!
NC (voiceover): If you don’t give some build-up or explanation, nobody’s gonna take it seriously.
(As the following conversation goes on, we intercut with audio and a shot of NC snickering, trying to hold in his laughter, and his snickering gets louder)
Steve: Colonel Louis…sir…there’s something nobody’s talked about. When do I get some fresh troops in my battalion?
Colonel Louis: Dr. Vasseli had all the details to the process in her head.
(NC covers his mouth with both hands to hold in his laughter)
Colonel Louis: Besides, you got that crazy fireproof uniform Dr. Vasseli made up for you.
Steve: She didn’t know much about camouflage.
Colonel Louis: But she sure did love the red, white and blue.
NC: (as Colonel Louis) She thought dressing you up like a human bull’s-eye will do much better at throwing the enemy off.
NC (voiceover): So after that…extremely weak explanation about the costume, they toss him out of the plane to go hunt some Nazis.
(Cut to the Nazi compound, and Captain America sneaks around)
NC (voiceover): (as Captain America) I hope I look silly enough.
(Cut to the Nazis shining a light on Captain America high from a control tower; Captain America uses his shield like a Frisbee to knock off one leg of the tower, making it fall to the ground before the shield returns to him)
NC: What, did he invade “F-Troop”?
NC (voiceover): So after he defeats the Nazis with his flying saucer sled, he makes it to their main headquarters where he finds the child that was experimented on at the beginning of the film who has now transformed into…Freddy Krueger’s wax sculpture.
NC (voiceover): Actually, he’s known as Red Skull, who is sadly much more powerful than the mighty Captain.
(Shots of Red Skull beating up Captain America and kneeing him in the stomach are shown)
NC (voiceover): Wow, uhm, Captain America kinda sucks.
Red Skull: (to his Nazi soldiers that are watching down from a balcony) Pity him! He is like a child!
NC (voiceover): So after getting his (Captain America) blue nads kicked, they strap him to a missile and plan to launch him towards the White House.
Red Skull: Where is the big bomb going? White House. A present for President Roosevelt.
NC (voiceover): (as an announcer, with text from the first question shown onscreen as the 60s Batman theme plays) How will Captain America get out of this one???? Will he turn the White House into rubble, or will he escape to get his American ass beaten once more? (“Tune In Next Time” is shown) Tune in next time, which is…(“Right Now” is shown) right now!
Captain America: (grabs onto Red Skull’s wrist) Two can travel cheaply as one, you sick bastard!
(Red Skull says something indistinct before Captain America grabs hold of his wrist with a knife in hand and uses it to slice Red Skull's hand off as the missile starts to take off; Red Skull stands around screaming in pain)
NC: (as Red Skull with his right hand tucked inside his sleeve) I’d give my right hand to…get my right hand back!
(The missile is launched before we cut to the White House with the movie’s caption “Washington D.C.” being shown)
NC (voiceover): Yeah, thanks, movie. I never would have figured that out.
Young Tom Kimball’s Mother: (approaches her son) What are you doing up?
NC (voiceover): So in that place that’s apparently hard to identify, a young boy named Tom Kimball dreams about the possibilities of Washington.
Young Tom: How do you expect me to sleep, Mom? We’re in Washington, D.C. (He is tucked back into bed by his mother) When I grow up, I wanna be president.
NC (voiceover): (as Young Tom) I wanna invade countries that will get a B.J. in the Oval Office and not be able to pass a questionable health care bill. President! (Normal) So because the kid is just so gosh-darn excited, he sneaks out in the middle of the night to take pictures of the White House. Wow, what a dork.
(Young Tom looks up to hear a noise and sees Captain America on the missile coming toward him)
NC (voiceover): (as Captain America , yelling) Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name! Thy kingdom come—OHH, GOOOOODDDD! (as Young Tom) Well, that’s just silly. (normal) So Captain America actually kicks the rocket over the White House just missing it.
(After the rocket flies over the White House, we get a shot of Captain America still strapped to it and flying past the camera)
NC: When did this turn into a Daffy Duck cartoon?
(A clip of Daffy Duck riding a rocket in space and screaming is shown)
NC (voiceover): So the rocket somehow lands in Alaska (The movie’s caption “Somewhere in Alaska” is shown) without exploding and leaves Captain America in the snow. (Camera closeup on Captain America’s gloved hand sticking out of the snow is shown) Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. Our hero. Just when you’re hoping he’ll disappear from the movie altogether…he sort of does. Literally, decades go by without any mention of the guy. I guess the movie just decided to give up on him. So we get all the way to the ‘90s where that Tom Kimball boy grows up and actually does become President of the United States. A white guy as president? (scoffs) Who’s gonna believe that at this day and age? He meets up with a guy named General Fleming, played oddly enough by the father from “A Christmas Story.”
General Fleming: (to President Kimball) You just simply can’t expect us to cut back on our solid waste 90% in six months.
NC: (as General Fleming) We have to be as fra-gi-lay as possible.
NC (voiceover): We then cut to the League of Extraordinary Accents where all sorts of evildoers plan evil things, and it turns out the General is among them as well.
General Fleming: (to the other evil men) You’re gonna see everything that you worked for and planned for for the last 30 years go right down the crapper!
Man (who seems to look like Red Skull, but with regular skin): The saucy nation that used the word of trouble…
NC (voiceover): Well, now, who’s this guy? Is this a new villain or something? (Cut to a shot of the man’s wrist to show where it was sliced off but now treated, then to another shot of the man) Wait a minute, that's Red Skull? Well, what happened to him? Did he just…magically grow his skin back? There’s plastic surgery, and then there’s fucking miracles, guys. I mean, isn’t the whole reason they called him Red Skull because—oh, I don’t know—HE HAD A FRIGGIN' RED SKULL? OK, whatever. After Red Skull becomes Numb Skull, they discuss their diabolical plans to kidnap the President and brainwash him to do their evil deeds.
Red Skull: I am one humble business man, with double the science. Before you make your decision…
NC (voiceover): Say, wasn’t there a Captain America in this movie?
(Cut to a snowy landscape in Alaska with the movie’s caption “Alaska” shown briefly)
NC (voiceover) Yeah. I know. Because it changed so much over the decades. Will you lay off the descriptions??
(Two Alaskan surveyors approach Captain American as they see his gloved hand being the only noticeable thing under the thick ice)
NC (voiceover): So they find Captain America years later, literally frozen in a block of ice as they just thaw him out in their tents, and he just walks off like nothing happened! That’s pretty WEAK!
Alaskan Surveyor: No way did that just happen.
NC: (as the Alaskan surveyor) I can’t believe we just thawed out a basketball mascot!
NC (voiceover): So the President hears about this and, rather than—oh, I don’t know—call the Secret Service or something, he calls his childhood friend—played by Ned Beatty—like he’s eight years old again.
Sam Kolawetz (Beatty): Well, you sure it’s not some kind of crazy hoax?
President Kimball: Can you spare me the conspiracy theory just this once?
NC: (as President Kimball) Enough of your…childish ravings! I’m talking about a superhero that was strapped to a missile and frozen in ice!
(Cut to an exterior shot of Rome with the movie’s caption “Rome”)
NC (voiceover): But Red Skull discovers—(he notices the appearing caption) OH, FUCK YOU, MOVIE! Do you really think we can’t figure out where this is? I mean, seriously! Why don’t you just have a subtitle under everything?
Red Skull: (riding in a car with a hot woman next to him; they respectively have NC’s own subtitles of “Red Skull” and “Hot Lady” underneath them) And background on everyone on the security staff.
Driver: (NC’s subtitle “A Driver” is shown below him) Consider it done, Mr. Census.
(Cut to an exterior shot of one of Rome’s city streets where NC’s subtitles appear on everything in the shot, including “A Building” on a few buildings, “A Car” on a few cars, “A Person” on a few pedestrians, “A Street” and “An Umbrella”)
NC (voiceover): So as I was saying, Red Skull discovers about Captain America, too, and thus sends his finest hot chicks to track him down. (A helicopter flies over a forest) But thankfully, the President is quick to act, as he sends…one pudgy middle-aged journalist to handle the situation. (Pauses) Am I in the circus?
(Cut to two of Red Skull’s henchwomen pursuing Captain America on their dirt bikes through a forest)
NC (voiceover): So Captain America escapes the evil supermodels on dirt bikes because he heroically cowers into a pickup truck driven by Ned Beatty. (Pauses) I honestly could not make this up if I tried!
Sam Kolawetz: (to Captain America in the car) This Red Skull guy…was closely involved in the murders of Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King…
NC (voiceover): OK, OK—
NC: Stop, stop, stop. You’re seriously gonna bring up the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in a movie that has this thing in it? (A quick shot of the rat-like creature from earlier in the film is shown) Why do I get the feeling that’s not gonna mesh?
Captain America: (with his mask removed) Would you pull the car over, please? I think I’m gonna be sick.
NC (voiceover): So Captain America pretends to be carsick and—I am not kidding here—STEALS THE CAR AWAY. This guy’s an asshole! When he’s not getting his useless butt kicked, he’s either hiding under something or running away! Talk about Captain Douchebag! So he goes back to his old home only to find his girlfriend of two sentences is married and has an identical twin daughter. And yes, she’s played by the same actress.
Bernice: (to Steve) Everyone kept saying that “Missing in Action” was just another way of saying “blown to smithereens.” But I never believed that. Not for one second.
NC: (as Bernice) That’s…why I got married?
Bernice: (sobs) I feel so old, and ugly and-and-and look at you!
Steve: You? Ugly? Not a chance. (He hugs her)
NC (voiceover): (as Steve) I don’t care if you look like a female Jon Voight. It just turns me on more. (Normal) But Red Skull sends out more fashion models to hunt him down and kill him. (The henchmen and henchwomen’s plane zooms by the camera across the sky before we cut to the interior where they’re sitting) Look at this; it looks like the cover of “Vogue.”
(Footage freeze-frame on the image with the title “Vogue” at the top and NC’s magazine captions “Take our Test: Does he love you or will he leave you and get frozen in ice for 50 years?” “Keep your Red Skulls your reddest” and “80 Ways to turn the American Flag into Hideous Spandex” shown all over)
NC (voiceover): So they break into the house, shoot Kris Kristofferson and kill dear old Bernie.
Sharon (Bernice’s daughter): (to a police officer) Where’s my mother? (She runs inside before stopping to see Bernice’s dead body being wrapped up in a black body bag) Oh! (She screams) Ohhh, no!
NC: (as Sharon) Ohh! I can’t stand to watch myself die!
NC (voiceover): We also find out while this was going on, the President was in fact kidnapped.
Female Anchor: (on the TV) The President of the United States was abducted from his hotel in Rome.
NC (voiceover): Boy, our armed forces really kinda suck, don’t they? They create a neon action hero who can’t fight to let the ruler of a free nation get abducted without a cut scene. These guys couldn’t defeat Cobra!
Cobra Commander (from the “G.I. Joe” cartoon): COBRA!!!
NC (voiceover): So through a series of driving, snooping, and yes, more heroic hiding, he (Steve) and the daughter find they need to travel to Rome in order to find the evil Red Skull.
Steve: (while riding with Sharon through Rome) Could you pull over for a minute? I think I’m gonna be sick.
(Steve is let out, pretending to be carsick)
Sharon: (She gets out and goes toward him) Are you OK?
(Steve continues to fake being sick until he quickly moves to get into the car)
NC (voiceover): Oh, God, not again, you dick weed!
Sharon: What are you doing?
Steve: I can’t put you into danger, Sharon.
NC (voiceover): (as an announcer while the logo for “Captain America” is shown over the screen and the theme music for “Superman” is heard) Captain America! Bravely abandoning the people who help him in his time of need!
NC (voiceover): (Normal) So we see Steve try to talk to some of the local people but doesn’t manage to get far.
(Young Italian Woman speaks something in her native language)
Steve: Uh, speak English? (The Young Italian Woman shrugs her shoulders apologetically) I-I was wondering…
NC: (laughs) I like that. “Do you speak English? No? Well, then, I’ll just keep speaking it.”
NC (voiceover): The daughter somehow manages to follow his car on foot and proceeds to help him out with her Italian.
NC: Which makes the previous scene… (He raises a finger to make the caption “Entirely Pointless!” show up with a “Ding!” sound) entirely pointless.
NC (voiceover): So they find an old tape recorder that has the recording of Red Skull’s kidnapping as a child.
(We hear audio on the tape of crashing and a Nazi speaking German; NC’s own subtitles are placed over when the Nazi speaks)
Nazi: Hey, what has two handles and a “Holey” personality? (Gunshots are heard and a few women screaming) Get it?
NC (voiceover): But then they’re approached by Red Skull’s hot chicks who try to kill him again.
(Sharon and Steve are at an outdoor café where Sharon first notices Red Skull’s two henchwomen sitting at different tables and slowly raising their guns to point at Steve; Steve notices the henchwomen through a reflection)
Sharon: (gasps) Steve!
Steve: Get down! (He quickly gets up to shove Sharon down and below the table before the henchwomen start firing; he quickly crawls away)
NC: Pretty slow on those guns, ladies. I mean, you’re not moving like you’re doing a yoga move. Just whip it out!
NC (voiceover): So we partake in a pretty standard chase scene with no real surprises.
(As Red Skull’s henchmen chase Sharon and Steve through one of the streets, we get a shot of the street that pans down to where two little boys are sitting across each other and rolling a ball back and forth)
NC (voiceover): (laughs) Uh, hi! A giant car is about to run you over? (Steve sees the two boys and swoops down to move them out of the car’s way) I mean, what are you kids? Blind, deaf and all around stupid?
(Cut to a henchman on a motor bike and pursuing Sharon and Steve up a hill)
NC (voiceover): I love this: He pushes the daughter out of the way of the bike so he can…get hit with the bike. (Steve flies into the air after getting hit and lands on his lower back, injuring himself)
NC: (as Steve, in a dopey voice) Duhh, oh, yeah! For some reason, I thought I was a superhero or something! (scoffs)
NC (voiceover): So he grabs a bike of his own, speeds off into the sunset…and then falls off the cliff.
(Sharon and Steve land in the water)
NC: I mean, really? Are you even surprised?
(The clip of Steve and Sharon going off the short cliff and into the water is shown again)
NC (voiceover): (as Steve) God, I suck!
(Three of Red Skull’s henchwomen run up to see if they can spot the bodies of Sharon and Steve in the water, but see nothing)
NC (voiceover): (as one of the henchwomen) Well, gee, it’s not like we can just keep looking for ten more seconds. Let’s go, ladies.
(The henchwomen leave before Sharon and Steve emerge at the water’s surface)
NC (voiceover): So they finally find the location of the President as they sneak into their hideout to save him. (Steve pulls out his neatly-folded Captain America outfit) This looks like a job for flamboyance! (President Kimball kicks down his cell door) So the President escapes, but is cornered by the bad guys. His brilliant way out? Killing himself. (President Kimball throws himself off the side of the hideout) Hey, after being in this movie, I don’t blame you. (Captain America catches Kimball in the nick of time) But luckily, Captain America just happened to be climbing up the wall at the time!
Captain America: (to President Kimball) Wait on the north shore. There’s some caves there at the base of the cliff where you can hide. I’ll come and get you when we get out.
President Kimball: What, are you kidding? I’m not bailing out on Captain America.
NC: Good! You can probably kick more ass than he can!
NC (voiceover): So he (Captain America) confronts Red Skull as we get some flips, kicks, punches, the President tosses him his multi-colored pizza pan as he escapes to the roof.
Captain America: Mr. President! Thanks! (He gives a thumbs up)
(Freeze frame on Captain America’s thumbs up)
Mentos Announcer: (speaks as the Mentos logo and tagline are shown below Captain America) Mentos! The Freshmaker!
NC (voiceover); So Red Skull goes to arm another bomb which is in a piano—yeah, whatever—as Captain America does what he’s best at: hiding like a pussy. (Captain America keeps hiding and dodging the bullets as he stands in a stone doorway and Red Skull shoots at him) But the daughter plays the recording of his (Red Skull) kidnapping to distract him as Captain America gets his Wonder Frisbee and knocks him off the cliff.
(Cut to Red Skull falling off the hideout and into the water; Cut next to a henchwoman taking a tommy gun while Captain America’s shield is still flying)
Captain America: (grins) Heads up.
(The henchwoman gasps as the shield presumably cuts off her head before it returns to Captain America)
NC (voiceover): (as Captain America) I just decapitated a hot chick. I am the great American hero. (Normal) So the President calls in his Scottish ninja army men as Captain America hugs his dear daughter and makes one last speech to the audience.
Radio Newscaster: (narrates over a drawing of Captain America) In Rome today, 116 nations agreed to an environmental protection treaty. (The movie’s end credits start to roll) In a brief statement after the signing…
NC (voiceover): OK, if you start rolling the credits over the dialogue, we kinda figure it’s not important. Most important plot points happen BEFORE the movie is over!
NC: So, yeah, just going by this movie alone, it appears that Captain America would be the lamest superhero ever. (He pulls out the movie’s VHS case) I mean, just look at the highlights on the back of the box. It’s Captain America getting beaten up by Red Skull and being strapped to the bomb! These are the heroic highlights, kids! Oh, I also like this where it says that “Captain America (Cut to the following text on the VHS case) is a high-flying adventure for children of all ages…” (Cut to the film’s PG-13 rating) …as long as you’re over the age of 13! (Cut back to NC) This is crap! (He puts down the VHS case) Plain and simple.
(Clips from the movie play as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): It’s a wimpy superhero, it’s a boring story, and the production value looks like it was more out of the ‘70s than it was the ‘90s.
NC: But to be fair, this is a very tough superhero to pull off. I mean, what guy could honestly look the least intimidating in that ridiculous outfit?(beat) Chuck Norris!
(A Photoshopped image of Sharon and Captain America posing against a fireworks background (with Chuck Norris’ head superimposed over Captain America’s head and wearing a black cowboy hat) is shown)
High-Pitched Voice: A-CHUCK-A-NORRIS!!!!!!
NC: I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to! (He gets up to leave)
Mr. Erlich: Heil Hitler! (He shoots Dr. Vaselli)