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What is the appeal of Captain America?
But I know he is loved, particularly by some people on this site, so I am really intrigued and really hope someone here can explain why they like him. I am not here to argue because I am genuinely intrigued as to what the appeal is.
1. There’s something cool about a non-powered dude who, like Batman, can go toe-to-toe with supers.
2. The best stories lean pretty hard into the conflict between his idealism and the realities of realpolitik.
3. Nostalgia. He’s been around a long time and there’s tradition. I don’t think he’d be created today.
I always liked Captain Britain better, personally.
hotseatgames wrote: I'm pretty indifferent to him, myself. I like it when he punches Nazis. His shield is cool, and unless I am mistaken... he does have "powers". Isn't he some sort of super soldier, bio-enhanced or something?
In the comics, the super-soldier serum transforms him from a short, skinny guy into a tall, muscular guy with a degree of superhuman endurance, but otherwise no real powers. Most of what he brings to a fight is superior skill, tactical genius, extensive combat experience, and an indestructible shield made of an alloy of adamantium and vibranium. In the movies, Captain America does have low-end superhuman strength.
But for me it has nothing to do with patriotism. Before I really understood the character at a deeper level, I thought he was lame at best, naionalistic at worst. But the best Cap stories have explored unexpected nuances. There was a moment in one of the better stories where he’s just come out of the ice and he realizes that he’s lost everything. But he sees a flag and understands that it’s the only constant in his interrupted life. It was unexpectedly powerful and moving...yet it didn’t feel patriotic at all. It felt a lot more complicated. Cap has also always -questioned- America more than celebrated it.
There’s some interesting Cap stuff going on in Falcon and the Winter Solider right now with a new VERY American in a bad way guy wielding the shield after Falcon abdicates it.
Don't overthink it, Cap was just a wartime comic hero who punched Nazis back when Americans (and the Allies) were militarily punching Nazis. The 20th century was a high-water mark for simple-minded easy American patriotism, so he stuck around.
Ancient_of_MuMu wrote: I was just discussing Captain America with my daughter, and we were both saying that we just don't understand the appeal.
But he also works because he gets to be a somewhat funny fish out of water in Winter Soldier onward, and because he has a tragic backstory that sort of offsets the plucky heroism.
Plus he is a more balanced superhero since he is as much training/skill as powers and I don't recall the Steve Rogers "secret identity" being terribly relevant like some others which so often leads to silly drama. It also helps that his primary 'power' is a SHIELD (i.e. defensive in nature) that while he can employ in a offensive way is objectively a protective device.
Of course when viewed through a modern cynical lens he is especially problematic, particularly when the writer isn't up to snuff. He doesn't work well as a foil to push current propaganda.
I think producers will be trying to capture the Evans/Cap lightning in a bottle for generations to come, never was a casting so appropriate IMHO. I can only wait with barely suppressed glee for the "old man cap" movie in 10-15 years assuming Evans stays reasonably healthy and finds himself in need of a truckload of money down the line.
For me, that is the embodiment of patriotism. I will argue that patriotism is not a bad thing, but it is too readily corrupted into nationalism.
One could say a lot about the whole American nationalist angle but I haven't found it too bothersome in the MCU, which is my only contact with Marvel. It's a small drop in the pond compared to inherent problems to the genre. The whole superpowered vigilante stuff was already dumb before nationalism got into it IMHO
jpat wrote: It's pretty hard to discuss Cap's contemporary appeal without thinking about Chris Evans's appeal in the MCU and also the fact that the Winter Soldier movie was probably transformative in that regard. First Avenger is pretty much a standard origin story, but Winter Soldier showed that Cap could have depth and nuance. (I know WS was a well-regarded comic run, too, so I'm not discounting its effect on comics, but I don't really know about that.) Evans also just looks good in the suit--unlike, IMO, the guy who's wearing the uniform in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, where the helmet/skullcap makes him look like a anthropomorphic Bullet Bill.
So, your answer to the original question -- what is the appeal of Captain America, is "his ass". Is that a fair summary? I think there's a few people that would agree with you.