Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Marvel, where I go through the Marvel movies over the next few months.
Now on paper I should absolutely hate the character of Captain America. A nationalistic salute to a country who is already infamous for being over-the-top in terms of patriotism, he should be a symbol for everything I hate about over-egotistical Eagle-land views. And yet, I love Captain America. I adore Steve Rogers. But why? Well lets find out.
So lets focus on what makes Steve Rogers such a fantastic character. He’s courageous. Now that seems to be a standard for superheroes. I mean you can’t have a cowardly superhero, can you? But the purpose behind Captain America’s courage is not a self-centred courage. He’s not being brave for macho reasons, or because it makes him look good. No, to quote the First Doctor, he’s only doing what has to be done. Or, to quote Steve Rogers himself: â€œI don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.â€ This right here shows the correct version of courage, a version that is often lost within pop culture. When we see depictions of the Second World War, especially in video games, we’re often portrayed almost as a superhero. We have no fear for our safety, nor real concern for our consequences. We kill the bad guys because that’s why they’re there, that is their purpose in the game. We don’t feel any guilt for it, nor do we worry about the morality. But that’s not true with Steve Rogers. Steve understands the full responsibility of what he is doing and is only fighting the war because it’s the right thing to do. He’s doing it to oppose bullies, not because he enjoys doing it. This level of selfless courage does indeed make the character a lot more interesting to watch. He’s brave because he’s doing the right thing for the right reasons. But that’s not the only thing that helps Steve Rogers. No what really endears me to the character is that he’s brave even when facing almost impossible odds. He’s willing to stand up against bullies even when it’s clear he can’t win. It’s this level of courage, going into a fight knowing one will lose but doing so anyway because it’s right, that really helps sell Steve Rogers as Captain America. He’s stupidly brave, but always brave for the right reasons.
What’s another virtue of his? Well he’s wide-eyed idealism. He’s an honest man, not understanding the point of lying or hurting other people. He isn’t malicious or cruel in the slightest. Now while some may argue this a bit unrealistic, as in no one can be this selfless, but to me it really helps me buy the story. I mean we’re watching the story of a man becoming superhuman and fighting against a villain with a red skull for a face. Realism has nothing to do with it. So since the whole thing is realistic, why not have a character who is selfless to the point of almost being unbelievable? But the best part of the character is that it doesn’t seem so unbelievable that someone like him would exist. Oh, sure, logically such a human couldn’t really exist. No one is that seemingly flawless. But it’s a nice fantasy and what are comic book movies if not fantasies? Steve Rogers is the man we want to be, after all. An idealistic hero trying his best to do the right thing. Being optimistic enough to stand firm, despite the rather cynical and depressing world he finds himself in. It’s quite an admirable trait for the character to have, which endears him with the audience. But those are two virtues. Is there anything else worth mentioning?
Well lets skip to the mean of the matter: Captain America is the perfect representation of the American Dream. While the dream has been perverted and distorted over the last few centuries, he really does stand for what the average American citizen thinks the perfect American should be like. And I can’t say I necessarily hate the idea of there being a country full of people like that. When people say that they want an America filled with guys like Steve Rogers, I can’t say I fault them. It’s a bit unbelievable, yes, but Captain America is a great role model to look up too. If more people were like him and followed by example, the world would be a much happier place. So despite being made for almost sickeningly patriotic reasons, the character manages to stand on his own above it on the virtue that he embodies the good that every human being should strive for. He is, in no uncertain terms, a superhero. And that’s why I love him for it.
So there you have it. A love letter to a superhero I never thought I’d actually like. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.