The Marvel Avenger Movie Even Worse Than Madame Web 

By Devin Nealy | Published

Despite garnering a recent wave of criticism, Madame Web’s critical and commercial reception pales in comparison to the abysmal reputation of Captain America(1990). Since its release, Madame Web has become an object of critical scorn. With a 12 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, it would be easy to regard Madame Web as the worst Marvel movie ever.

However, the title of worst Marvel film belongs to the fan-favorite character and pillar of the MCU’s beloved Infinity Saga, Captain America. 

Marvel Was Losing Badly To DC

michael keaton batman

Prior to 2008 and the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel movies were not always synonymous with quality. In the latter half of the 20th century, DC Comics, with films like Superman (1978) and Batman (1989), was the go-to brand in the world of superhero films. To keep pace with their distinguished competition, Marvel released several movies that were both commercial bombs and failed with critics. 

The First Marvel Movies

stan lee hulk

Over the course of a few decades, Marvel took several stabs at bringing their most iconic characters into live-action. On the small screen, Marvel gained some success with The Amazing Spider-Man (1977) and The Incredible Hulk (1977), both craving a place in pop culture. Finding their footing on the silver screen proved to be slightly more complex, as Marvel struggled to clear the special effects hurdle in their early cinematic outings. 

Madame Web Doesn’t Look So Bad Now

Films like Dr. Strange (1978) and Howard the Duck already cemented Marvel’s second-place status in the world of film, but Captain America(1990) became the face of Marvel’s shortcomings as a film studio at the time. At present, Captain America (1990) possesses a similar 12 percent with critics on Rotten Tomatoes as Madame Web. Unlike Madame Web, which has a 57 percent audience score, Captain America (1990) sits at 19 percent with audiences on the site. 

Captain America Wasn’t An A-List Hero

Given the character’s popularity in modernity, it’s hard to imagine that Captain America could ever spawn such a poorly received film. One of the reasons Captain America’s run in the MCU was so successful was due to the respect the studio showed the source material. The 1990s iteration of Captain America took a different route, deviating from the source material. 

Filled With Radical Changes

Starring Matthew Salinger, Captain America (1990) not only chose to embrace a campier tone than Captain America: The First Avenger, but the film also made a radical change to the Red Skull. Instead of being German, the movie opts to make the Red Skull Italian and also garbs his iconic face in special effects that have since become panned in recent years. Aside from the cosmetic changes, the 1990 film is also widely criticized for its sluggish pace.

Chris Evans Saved Captain America

chris evans captain america

Before the MCU and Chris Evans helped solidify Captain America as a fan-favorite character, Captain America(1990) was instrumental in keeping the character obscure. It is easy to look back at superhero films from the 20th century and dismiss their shortcomings as products of their time. Still, the original outing for the Star-Spangled Avenger is an outlier even amongst its peers. 

With some luck, Madame Web may be able to follow in Captain America’s footsteps and restore her public image after her critically maligned debut on the silver screen.