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Film / The Return of Captain Invincible

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Captain Invincible was a superhero who won World War II single-handed. After the war he was tried for numerous offenses including supporting Communism (by fighting the Nazis...), impersonating a captain and showing his underpants. He walked out of his trial and vanished.

Years later when his evil arch-enemy Mr. Midnight once again menaces the world (or at least New York) with a dastardly scheme he is discovered living in a squat in Australia. Now a disillusioned alcoholic, can Captain Invincible regain control of his long-unused and erratic superpowers in time to stop this fiend and make the world safe again?

A musical B-movie comedy from 1983, starring Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee. Unrelated to the eighties British superhero-parody newspaper comic strip Captain Invincible, and definitely not to be confused with the superhero comic Invincible.

This film provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of quite a number of superhero tropes.
  • The Alcoholic: Mr. Midnight even gets a song to showcase and exploit Captain Invincible's weakness for alcohol, reducing him to tears in the process.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Supporting Communism, Impersonating a military officer and Showing your underpants.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Why, Mr. Evil Midnight, who embraces his status as a monster...and even has a song about how long evil has existed. "Long before the sands of time, there was evil doing well...Long before the birth of crime! There was evil building Hell!
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The "Bullshit" song. Very simple lyrics.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Captain Invincible squeezes a young Boy Scout around the shoulder during a visit to Camp Eisenhower, and the crunching of bones is audible. Many years later, said child has become the President, and shows said wound to Captain Invincible to remind him of his promise.
  • Eldritch Abomination/Humanoid Abomination: Possibly Mr. Evil Midnight, going by the song sharing his name. He may actually be Satan.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Why yes!! Christopher Lee not only speaks in his usual deep voice, but sings bass-baritone.
  • Fan Disservice: The three martini-shaking women in "Name your Poison." Superficially attractive, but their movements and actions make them creepy.
  • Forgot the Call: With the help of an ungodly amount of strong liquor. In fact, Mr. Evil Midnight's plan for defeating Captain Invincible again is to tempt him back into forgetting the call with the draw of various kinds of alcohol.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet: "Evil Midnight", a duet between Captain Invincible and the evil Mr. Midnight which has Midnight singing a Villain Song and Invincible singing a "The Villain Sucks" Song as a duet with him.
  • Hurricane of Puns: "Name Your Poison", again. A veritable bar(rage) of cocktail puns.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: A specialty of Captain Invincible.
    • Captain Invincible is in a deli, trying to take down some human thugs in a nonlethal way, for questioning, by hurling pie after pie at them with superspeed. Eventually he hasn't got another pie to throw at them, so what does he throw instead? A pi. As in, a large sign in the shape of the numerical symbol known as "pi".
    • What does Captain Invincible say after surviving a snake pit, alligator pit and even a giant peach pit? "Well, that was really the pits!"
  • Insult Backfire:
    Captain Invincible: Fine talk from a sociopath paranoid schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur!
    Mr. Midnight: (smiles and bows) Thank you!
  • Kick the Dog: Mr. Midnight provides a wonderfully pure example, as after reducing the Captain to a helpless wretch by tempting him with a truly beautiful bar, he hands him...a can of Sterno.
  • Large Ham:
    • Alan Arkin is both figuratively and literally chewing the scenery. Captain Invincible is trying to get sober, but he catches sight of several full bottles of booze that start an intense craving. He writhes around, suffering flashbacks, and actually bites a chunk out of the kitchen counter.
    • Christopher Lee is having a great time in this film, but he turns it up a notch even past that during his Villain Song.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Christopher Lee briefly appears as a woman as part of a hallucination. His voice doesn't change.
  • Music for Courage: Just when the good Captain is down on the ground and looks all ready to crawl back into the bottle, his old wrist radio crackles to life and after a short announcement starts to play "God Bless America". Epic beatdown on the archvillain in 3...2...1....
  • The Nudifier: Captain Invincible isn't as skilled with his magnetic powers anymore. Metal fasteners are a bad idea.
  • Nuke 'em: The President's military advisers are rather too quick to suggest this, multiple times.
  • Old Superhero: Captain Invincible is a washed-up, ageing superhero called back into action due to an international emergency.
  • Power Incontinence: Captain Invincible has trouble controlling his powers again. He accidentally activates his magnetism instead of flying, and his amazing computer brain starts glitching.
  • Regional Riff: The Oriental riff plays when Mr. Midnight mentions a Singaporean cocktail among the contents of the bar in "Name Your Poison".
  • Shoulders of Doom: Smaller than most but still undeniably part of the Captain's outfit.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The film travels along the sliding scale.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When the woman who discovered him bends over, Captain Invincible's magnetic powers inadvertently make household appliances explode.
  • Superheroes Wear Tights: They don't call him "The Legend in Leotards" for nothing.
  • The Promise: Captain Invincible promises to a Boy Scout that, when he becomes President, he can call upon Captain Invincible at any time. Many years later, said President uses that, above any notion of patriotism or civic duty, to recall him to super-heroism. It works.
  • Underwear of Power: Parodied when he's indicted for indecent exposure.
  • Villain Song / "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Evil Midnight" manages to be both of these tropes at once, with Midnight boasting about how evil he is and how evil has always existed in the universe, while Captain Invincible insults him and stoically insists that good will win.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Watching this, one has to wonder how many recovering alcoholics are covered by this trope. As a bonus: Captain Invincible's Weak Sauce Weakness is that he is weak for the sauce.