4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon

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In 1979, two Captain America TV movies were made starring Reb Brown, who these days is mostly known only as the guy who played the title role in two awful 1979 Captain America TV movies. There’s also Connie Sellecca and Christopher Lee in the second one, but that doesn’t really help any. The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch suffers through Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon.

An excerpt:

As for the movies themselves, they share far more DNA with various action-adventure shows of the era (both before and after they aired) than they do any comic book version of Cap. The hero who goes off and saves the world while working for a fictional agency that is either part of the government or at least vaguely sanctioned by it, with a couple of people (usually one man and one woman, but not always) as his support structure. It’s the same formula as Wonder WomanThe Six-Million Dollar ManThe Bionic WomanKnight RiderAirwolfMacGyver, and others.

Which makes these decent action-adventure shows, I guess, but never at any point does this feel like Captain America. More than any other hero, Cap has always been tied to a particular time and place: World War II. A skinny, sickly kid from the lower east side of New York (NOT BROOKLYN!!!!!) who volunteers for an experiment to improve his physique so he can fight Nazis. Tellingly, every other adaptation of Cap into live action will have this (not just the recent Chris Evans films, which felt the need to move him to Brooklyn for no compellingly good reason, but also the 1990 film with Matt Salinger, all of which we’ll tackle in due course).

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