The other day a good, generally intelligent friend of mine was watching The Avengers for the first time. Via a text-message session, I asked her how she was enjoying it, and she said something to the effect that it was good and all the boys in it were really yummy, except for “grumpy old grandpa Captain America.” Granted, the rest of this text-message convo soon devolved into her writing some obviously wine-fueled, slurred, incoherent texts that I still can’t quite make out if they’re hilarious or vaguely offensive to monkeys, but the fact of the matter is, she thought Captain America was the worst. Steve Rogers. Star-Spangled Sweetie Pie. My Cap’n.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard the good name of Steve Rogers slandered. When people find out that he’s my favorite Avenger, the look I generally get is a mixture of horror and confusion—much like when I attempt to get my flirt on (just kidding, of course! That look is pure revulsion). How could I possibly love high-waisted-pants-wearing Captain America when there are three other mega-hotties well-rounded, intelligent, and interesting superheroes from which to choose?
Let me break it down for you.
Captain America has the best stand-alone film. Yep, I’m saying it. Captain America: The First Avenger is the best of the stand-alone films for each Avenger (thus far), even though for some reason no one seems to have seen it. I actually think this is the root of why most people don’t like Captain America—they have no idea where he’s coming from. So before you start arguing with me, go out and rent it; even my wine-slugging friend (re: above) was converted within the first 20 minutes of watching, and now she’s Team America. Why? Because it’s a genuinely awesome back-story that sets up a genuinely awesome character.
Though I’m looking forward to seeing the Ruffalo take his shot at a Hulk movie, the Eric Bana version was horrific (haven’t seen the Edward Norton version, so I guess I can’t say this unequivocally, but I’m pretty confident that my mind would not be changed). And Iron Man is a pretty entertaining film, don’t get me wrong; but take RDJ out of the equation and you lose 90% of the magic of that franchise (this was proven during the second film, when pretty much any time Mr. Stark wasn’t onscreen proved to be a total snooze fest). The same goes for Thor, which rides 95% on the sheer muscular blonde hunkiness of Chris Hemsworth. This is not to say that Chris Evans doesn’t do an awesome job capturing the Cap’n, ‘cause he does. But even without him as the heart and soul, the film stands on its own. The cinematography is sooo pretty. It is genuinely funny and romantic and sad. The supporting cast is awesome as well, including the always-fabulous Tommy Lee Jones, my not-so-secret love Stanley Tucci (aka the “Tucc-meister”), and my girl-crush, Haley Atwell. Which brings me to my next point…
Captain America has the best love interest. Isn’t the Hulk in love with some chick named Betty? I honestly can’t remember. Jane and Thor have okay chemistry but spend barely two seconds together, and then we’re supposed to buy that he’s all torn up about being trapped in a separate universe? Umm, I’ve watched Doctor Who; you can’t trick me with a lackluster stuck-in-an-alternate-universe love conflict when I’ve already seen the ultimate tragedy that is Ten and Rose (plus, Natalie Portman is so… Natalie Portman). I actually like Pepper Pots, but it really annoys me that Iron Man is set in the 21st Century and she’s still written as his long-suffering secretary/assistant. Couldn’t she have been a business partner or a member of his board of advisors or something? It wouldn’t have changed the plot that much and then she wouldn’t have had to be pining all the time.
Then you have Agent Carter, who not only knows how to rock a red dress and shoot in heels, but has a soft and tender side that only Steve’s big-old puppy heart can access—when she isn’t too busy shooting at him for being a big dumb bag of hormones. And to top it all off, she is actually the Cap’s superior. She is part of the war effort long before Steve Rogers gets involved, and her backstory doesn’t include any kind of dead brother or dog or fiancé (going on film canon here, not comic books)—she does it because she’s awesome and it’s the right thing to do and she can. She is woman, hear her roar. So it turns out that even though Captain America is supposed to be the old-fashioned one of the Avenger bunch, he’s the one who has a thing for a smart, independent woman whose entire life doesn’t revolve around him. Hmm. Who’s the grumpy old grandpa now?
And really, the ending? You must not have a heart if you weren’t rooting for Steve and Peggy to somehow, through some miracle, get their dance. And if you didn’t tear up a little during the Avenger’s deleted scenes when Steve realizes Peggy is still alive but can’t bring himself to call her? You monster. Why are you like this??? I heart these two so much. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m still hoping for a miracle—thank goodness for fan fiction.
(Don’t believe me? Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dehn8RqOt7U)
Captain America has the best heart. Like, seriously. Sometimes he may seem like a crotchety, do-goody old grandpa, but inside he’s a puppy. A wide-eyed, golly-geeing, adorkable puppy.
Steve Rogers is so not cool. On the outside he’s this ridiculously handsome, buff dude, but on the inside he’s still that scrawny little geek who wears his heart on his sleeve and got his trash kicked pretty much every single day of his life. He’s the guy who doesn’t know how to talk to girls and will stick up for what he believes is right, even when he has to risk his own life—or worse, look like a total tool. To paraphrase Chris Evans himself (I may or may not have accidentally stumbled across a few youtube interviews. Accidentally. By total and complete chance): “Captain America may not be the coolest or the handsomest, and he may not even have the best powers, but he’s the guy who will show up to help you move or drive you to the airport.” Yeah, he’s that guy, the one you take for granted until he’s gone.
To put things in Jane Austen terms (because, who wouldn’t compare the Avengers to Jane Austen novels??), Steve Rogers may not be Darcy or Wentworth or even Bingley, but he’s Colonel Brandon. And we could all use a few more Colonel Brandons in our life. (For the record, Iron Man is Frank Churchill, the Hulk is Knightley with a twist of Wentworth, and Thor is a male Emma. … I’ve thought a lot about this. Perhaps too much… )
So, yes, Captain America may not be super suave and charming like Iron Man, or super brilliant and green-ish like the Hulk, or super handsome and Fabio-haired like Thor, but I’ll take that star-spangled, ma’am-saying, inner-geek Steve Rogers any day. By the way, Cap, can you water my plants and get my mail while I’m out of town? You will—and you’ll even vacuum the floor and wash my sheets while I’m gone? What a guy.