Countdown to Avengers Endgame: Captain America: The First Avenger
We’re in the Endgame now. Just 16 days to go before Marvel Studios unleashes the biggest theatrical event in a generation (if not ever), capping off a story that is 11 years and 21 films in the making. There’s no denying that what Marvel has done here is unprecedented. As we approach the big day lets take a look back at the films that lead us here.
Marvel has made a lot of phenomenal casting choices over the last decade with Robert Downey Jr. often cited as the best example but holy hell did Marvel nail Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rodgers. His performance as Cap is so iconic that I am almost incapable of viewing the actor who played Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four series as the same person. He embodies the essence of Captain America and no, I don’t mean he just looks the part.
Captain America is a character that no other studio but Marvel Studios could have ever gotten so right; Marvel understood that Steve’s true super power wasn’t running fast or hitting hard, it was his character. His seemingly innate ability to see the right over the wrong and always choose right. The little guy that never backs down from a fight with a bully, no matter the size. Chris Evans sells this so perfectly that you see Steve Rodgers in him when he is a scrawny kid from Brooklyn and when he is a beefcake in spandex. Sure he has pecks now but he still has no idea how to talk to women and never stops putting others above self.
A mirror to Captain America has always been Superman. While of course Superman has different powers and an cosmic back story, at their core their comic book versions have always been the “Truth, justice and the American way,” heroes. Yet in film studios have struggled to bring that version of Superman to life in the last two decades. Either having a character that feels like an obnoxious boy scout or one that departs so far from that core characteristic in favor of a more “dark and gritty” version. It just feels like this version of Captain America should be too wholesome for 2019 America, but instead, Marvel (and Chris Evans) nail that balance so perfectly that. More than any other MCU character, Captain America was truly the comics brought to life for me.
It is no surprise then that so much of Cap’s first film focuses on these character traits. When seeking the right candidate for the Super Soldier program they wanted someone who would hold tremendous respect for the power they wield and would use it to protect above all else. Captain America: The First Avenger spends significant time showing us why Steve was that person. From the “I can do this all day,” moment in the alley fight where he keeps getting up after every punch to the ending where after having sacrificed everything to save the world his first concern was having let down Peggy Carter by missing their date. Marvel has made fore than a few origin stories over the years (and even by the time The First Avenger hit theaters) but where most feel like they are explaining how someone became super powered, Captain America: The First Avenger is a story of what makes someone a hero and why Steve Rodgers always was one. The serum just made him taller.
I could talk for days about how much I love the MCU’s treatment of Captain America but there are 16 more films to go and the next one is a big one.