In 2016, you can't throw a stick at a movie calendar without hitting a number of comic book films. Between Marvel, DC, and Fox, we're getting laced with numerous shared universes featured superpowered beings battling for world supremacy. Back in the 1980s though, it really wasn't like that, primarily because the technology to bring these legendary stories to the screen wasn't anywhere near what we have today. Since superhero movies weren't really a "thing" then, Marvel was very loose with their properties, which led to abominations like the very first Captain America film, which finally hit the direct-to-video and cable circuits in the summer of 1992, two years after its initial release date.
Here's a quick consensus of the film via Rotten Tomatoes, where this version of Captain America is currently sitting at zero percent: "Lacking a script, budget, direction, or star capable of doing justice to its source material, this Captain America should have been left under the ice." While Stan Lee produced it (and had a hand in the script before it was shot), the film ended up only making $10,173 on a $10 million budget.
How the hell did this happen? The film, made to celebrate Cap's 50th anniversary, comes from the dreaded Cannon Group, a production company so awful that there's a documentary on its insane history. This is the same company that not only turned Chuck Norris into an action star, but made the Breakin' films, the horrendous Superman IV, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. They made the over-the-top cheesy action genre pop, churning out big, mostly crappy films at a fast pace. So in summary, Cannon probably wasn't the right company to handle the Captain America story.
The level of wrong in this film is massive. How a film that should be obviously marketed for kids felt that it should START with, as Entertainment Weekly put it, "a sequence in Italian with subtitles, and a machine-gun slaughter," is beyond me. They also kept Red Skull in it, and his weak makeup job made him look more like a man with bloody, raw hamburger on his face than what we saw in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Honestly, you shouldn't watch this film, unless you're down to take in a shitty action film, or you're in a movie club that only watches the worst films. Lucky for us, Marvel redeemed themselves with their Captain America films, making three flicks that are arguably the best films in their universe (yes, Civil War is that good). Camp is all well and good, but the 1990 Captain America is just downright awful, and deserves any horrible words flung its way, even if it's an awesome indicator of how far films—both superhero and otherwise—have truly come.