Captain America: Through the Years

00:00 April 03, 2014
By: David Vicari
[Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios/Motion Pictures]
The Winter Soldier

Captain America (1990) - Even after the success of Tim Burton's Batman in 1989, comic book movies weren't Hollywood's first priority. Sometimes, the rights to comic book movies fell into the hands of those who didn't really care about quality. The first Captain America feature (excluding serials and TV movies), based on the Marvel Comics character, is a God awful affair, thanks to incompetent direction by hack extraordinaire, Albert Pyun (Alien from L.A., Omega Doom, The Sword and the Sorcerer) and a meager budget. In fact, this film is so cheap that both Captain America / Steve Rogers (Matt Salinger, son of J.D.) and the Nazi villain who is inexplicably Italian, Red Skull (Scott Paulin), spend most of their screen time out of costume and make-up. Chintzy action and little story results in a poorly photographed travelogue of Yugoslavia. ZERO STARS

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - This is how you do it. Chris Evans is a perfect Captain America / Steve Rogers in this extremely well-mounted movie adaptation of the comic book hero. The World War II era set film has a great Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) cliffhanger vibe. *** ½

Marvel's The Avengers (2011) - Evans returns as Cap in this kick-ass ensemble. *** ½

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) - This new action-packed sequel, set in modern day, plays like a spy thriller when S.H.E.I.L.D. is infiltrated by villainous agents of HYDRA. Rogers takes it on the lamb with Agent Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and is pursued by a mysterious and powerful foe dubbed The Winter Soldier. This film is all about action and it has some cool set-pieces. Anchoring the film is, again, a sincere performance by Evans. ***

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