In this post, Sam and Zach tackle the red, white, and blue crusader of Freedom, the Captain America.
Zach: I think that the main problem with Captain America is his absurd predictability. Every time “The Cap” (this is a popular nickname for Captain America for those who are unaware) rushes into battle kicking some Nazi butt or saving someone, he never really faces any actual challenge because he always fights low-level goonies with outrageously pathetic aim.
Sam: All heroes suffer from the “Stormtrooper Complex,” so Captain America’s enemies are no different in that sense. The real challenge lies inside himself. In the end scenes of The First Avenger, Steve Roger’s struggle is with his willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good, not with his adversaries. In The Avengers, part of his struggle is with modernity and his belief in old fashioned values. My favorite Cap quote is in Avengers when Widow mentions to him that Thor is ‘basically a god,’ to which Steve responds “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” His combination of fierce loyalty and old-fashioned charm steals the audience in a way that the newfangled heroes never could.
Z: A superhero trying to cope with an unfamiliar world, that’s so not cliché. If I wanted an Avenger who struggles with modern Earth, I would look to Thor, who doesn’t even know it’s not polite to throw your coffee mug when it’s empty. Captain America’s story is just far too played out to even captivate fans.
S: You can never play out America.
Z: Also, his character is far too linear; he has no dimensions. Captain America is just this pure and incorruptible hero, who seems to always be fighting the bad guys. There is no controversy to his character; there is no gray area that inspires heated debates between fans.
S: The purity of Captain America is essential to his role on the Avengers. His moral compass consistently points True North, which is a refreshing take from the ‘edgy’ superheroes of the Dark and Modern Age of Comics. His old time, black and white perspective brings a much-needed set of values to contemporary superheroes.
Z: This is exactly the point of Captain America: not only his character, but in fact his entire story is antiquated and out of date. His story has trouble modernizing by accepting the trends of the superhero world, so it falls short as an old and over-used model that makes fans truly bored. Captain America has no depth which makes his personality incredibly bland amongst the “menagerie of badassery” that is the Avengers.
S: Captain America represents the value set of the American culture. In our pursuit of individualism, we’ve forgotten what made America great not only as a country, but as a set of ideals. The Cap is the America we left behind, a country where people are measured on the value of their character not the sheer bravado they spew. He’s popular because he represents what all Americans need: his focus on the team, and his emphasis on doing what is right. That’s what the American culture needs, an unerring moral compass.
About the authors:
Zach Armet is the clone of Soviet genetic engineer, Mikhail Chevoshenko, and escaped a gulag with a plastic spoon at the age of three. In his spare time, he enjoys knitting sweaters for orphaned kittens.
Sam Swoap is currently on the run from the World Bank and is wanted for armed robbery and parking violations in 19 different countries, including Andorra and the Federated States of Micronesia. His favorite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s.