Hi Marvel cinephiles! (And all movie fans!)
Captain America finally became worthy! Oh wait! He already was. Marvel cinephiles geeked out at the scene in ‘Marvel’s The Avengers: Endgame’ where Captain America finally lifted Mjolnir in an all-out battle against Thanos! Let’s look at the evolution of Captain America from ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ to ‘Marvel’s The Avengers: Endgame’.
This is a three-part story. In our first part, we look at Captain America’s journey as a super-soldier. In our second part, we look at Captain America’s journey as a superhero. In our third part, we look at Captain America’s journey as a warrior.
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014)
The transition to superhero takes place in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. The characteristic of a superhero is to do the right thing, no matter what, no matter the cost to personal sacrifice and life! Superman, anyone? Captain America takes this decisive step in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. This is where Captain America is tested at his most personal level with The Winter Soldier. I will not spoil who he is for anyone who has not watched the movie, however, I will say that the assassin with the metallic arm is programmed by Hydra and has a close connection to Captain America.
Before, it was simple! Captain America had orders and he had to follow them! He had clearly stated missions and an identified enemy. In this movie, Captain America finds out that the real modern world is with blurred lines and that sometimes, the ones we trust the most can betray us. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ plays very much like a spy movie: Captain America has to go camouflage mode, infiltrate organizations, investigate Hydra, go to safe houses with Black Widow with whom he goes into hiding from S.H.I.E.L.D., uncover secrets, and come to the realization that, yes, even S.H.I.E.L.D. can fall to Hydra.
Here, the Captain becomes a superhero. No longer just tied to national boundaries, or to patriotic allegiance, but rather to the cause of saving the peace and he often puts it, and I paraphrase, saving people’s lives. That is what superheroes do! They save people’s lives!
And when Captain America is faced between loyalty to his new spy agency, in this case S.H.I.E.L.D, to the point of saving face, or with saving people’s lives and uncovering a terrorist plot of global proportions, he chooses to save people’s lives, even at the cost of being branded a traitor to the nation to which he is most patriotic to and electing to even take down the S.H.I.E.L.D organization show was in opposition to Nick Fury, its former Director.
It is to be stated that, here, the focus of the character shifts from fighting a national war, or a global crisis of alien invasion, to fighting a corrupt conspiracy within a “compromised” government agency tasked with keeping the peace.
Peace is the objective! What can there be said? Captain America is essentially, here, at a crossroads! He opposes the Director’s decisions. He opposes a “compromised” government agency and becomes labeled a traitor!
Shouldn’t we instead say that he is here, a rebel, a spy, and in fact, a superhero?
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (2015)
The 2015 movie ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ finds Captain America at his most capable. The Avengers team figures at its best in this movie, showcasing a combination of teamwork, hi-tech gadgetry, might and power, and the ability to put an end to conflicts on a global scale. The premise of the movie is to take down Hydra’s known locations of “super-powers” experiments and the retrieval of the scepter held by Loki.
Captain America presents in his most capable role: a superhero in full form! The new outfit is quite astonishing, his muscles are ripping and his look is great! He is the de facto leader of the Avengers making tactical decisions on the battlefield and bringing the troop together.
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ marks a definitive step in the ideological differences between the Avengers team members. The creation of Ultron is a development that marks a transition: Tony Stark creates Ultron out of Loki’s retrieved scepter with the help of Bruce Banner/the Hulk, and without the approval of the Avengers team. Tony Stark, here, is a mad scientist that takes the dream of the Avengers’ peace-keeping mission far and at the same time, attempts to fulfill his father’s dream of ending war on Earth through the nuclear weapons program (that is, the Manhattan Project). Ultron is an artificial intelligence designed from Loki’s scepter in order to put an end to nuclear war and bring peace to the Earth. But things go awry!
There is a memorable scene that solidifies Captain America as the superhero he is: He budges Thor’s hammer.
According to Thor, whoever lifts Mjolnir, inherits the throne of Asgard to become king!
Happy Sad Confused reports that The Russo brothers had this to say about the scene:
“In our heads, he was [always] able to wield it. He didn’t know that until that moment in Ultron when he tried to pick it up. But Cap’s sense of character and humility and, out of deference to Thor’s ego, Cap in that moment realizing he can move the hammer, decides not to.”
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ shows Captain America in his most well-adjusted role as a superhero. Before he was a symbol, a leader, a war hero. Now, he is a superhero, a friend, a teammate, and one who is capable of taking on threats that are far greater and more powerful than he is.
Compare Captain America’s fight scene against Loki to his fight scene against Ultron. The Captain is able to hold his own against a vibranium advanced artificial intelligence robotic machine that has the power to shut down Avengers Tower’s systems, “kill” J.A.R.V.I.S (Tony Stark’s A.I.), build himself in a matter of hours a vibranium body, take over the Internet, upgrade himself within an hour, and build mechanic copies of himself. This pales in comparison to Loki’s power despite his Asgardian magic and the power of the scepter.
Captain America shows the power of the superhero who is always able to face and stand up to threats that are more powerful than they are, take their best punches, stand up, and keep fighting!
When Captain America finds out about Ultron, he seems to react calmly. While the Avengers squabble, Thor grabs Tony Stark by the neck, and Tony Stark has a breakdown. Captain America orders Thor to stand down, reassures the team, and takes the lead on finding Ultron. Here, he is more than a super-soldier, he is committed to the Avengers being different than S.H.I.E.L.D: He is a superhero! Who solves crises and tackles big world problems with a strategic approach.
The creation of Vision, however, is a different story! I guess you will just have to watch the movie in order to find out.
Check back for Part III where we’ll take a look at Captain America’s journey as a warrior as seen in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’.