I have to admit, I side-eyed the idea of a Captain America movie at first. I didn’t know that much about the character — have never really read superhero comics, so most of what I know about the Marvelverse comes from movies, cartoons, and pop culture osmosis — but patriotism and jingoism never sit well with me, and the Captain America concept seemed laden with the potential for both. But good reviews and an interest in the Avengers franchise got me in the door, and once there, I was lost to the sweet earnestness of one Captain Steve Rogers.
I enjoy a bad boy as much as anyone (see: Tony Stark), but I often like the good boys better (see: Alistair from Dragon Age), and there is no doubt that Steve is a good one. Although Erskine makes a good point about a weak man being better able to appreciate the gifts and dangers of strength, I think it has as much to do with character. Some people who are weak become bitter, nursing grudges, and if they were given strength, they would likely lash out, take their revenge on the world. But not Steve Rogers. Steve has a burning passion to help people, to do the right thing, to make the world a better place, to show respect for the others who serve, and all these aspects of his character are in place long before he becomes Captain America. These are the qualities that Erskine sees in him, and that had me falling in love with the 90 pound weakling.
So I was doomed to adore Steve from the start, and none of the qualities that drew me to him went away when he became a six-foot tall supersoldier with a strong jaw and flawless pecs. (I’m just saying: Chris Evans. His voice, too, good grief. And those eyes. I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers. Or much else.)
It’s telling that Steve’s primary weapon is a shield, along with whatever he can do with his own body: fists, feet, whatever it takes to knock down an enemy. He’ll fire a gun when it’s necessary, but he prefers to put himself in the thick of a fight, to take the brunt of the damage, to protect as many other people as he can. He’s the human shield, figuratively and literally. And I just love that. I want him to be rewarded for his idealism and his kind nature. I want to give him a hug and tell him that everything is going to be all right.
Instead, he’s ripped from his own time, forever separated from the woman he loves (which is one of my favorite romantic tropes; if we ever get any kind of reunion/closure scene for Steve and Peggy, I can promise you that I will turn into a puddle of goo, sobbing on the floor), and asked to take up his mantle again to defend a world he barely recognizes. And he does it. I won’t quite say without complaint, because Steve is not perfect, he is human, and sometimes I see a part of him wishing that he’d been allowed to stay frozen in that ice, left to history. But Steve is a man with a calling, a calling to protect and to serve that won’t be denied. In the end, he will always do what he believes is right, and that conviction is another thing that appeals to me.
In the end, for all these reasons, Steve Rogers is, against all expectations, my favorite Avenger. Instead of being too straightforward, too goody-goody, it turns out that he is just exactly the right amount of both. And I love him for it.
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