Modern Mythologies: Captain America

[Disclaimer] This was originally published on my old blog.  With permission, from myself, I have republished it here before doing a follow-up post before the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  

WHO IS HE?

Frail Steve Rogers

Steve Rogers was a scrawny kid who grew up in the depression. When the opportunity to serve his country in the second world war arises, he does not let the size of his body deter the strength of his spirit to serve.  After being OBVIOUSLY unable to meet the physical requirements of the military, he volunteers for a special program meant to create a Super Soldier.  The program is a success, but after he goes through the procedure, the scientist responsible is assassinated by a Nazi spy (comic book version).  This is different in the movie, but the end result is the same; Cap is born, and they are unable to duplicate the process fully again.  This is why there is only ONE Captain America.

WHY IS HE IMPORTANT?

To understand why Cap is important, you have to look at him in both the WWII era, and the modern era.

Captain America Headed to Normandy

1941– Captain America first burst into the comic book scene in March of 1941, nine months before America officially was invited to enter the war by the Japanese.  In a time where Nazi Germany was doing racial cleansing, trying to have the superior race, and blaming their problems on a specific race, Cap was an American response that the Perfect Human Specimen would be against they evil they were pushing across Europe. In 1941, Captain America was a foreshadow of what would happen if America ever got into the war.  Aside from Punching Hitler in his actual mouth, Cap is exactly what America did once we entered the war.

Captain America a Modern Mythology2011– I got into Cap when I was in high school when marvel tried and failed to reboot its most popular characters.  This was a horrible attempt, and led to the not-too-bad Ultimates reboot. This version has the same origin of Cap in WWII, but he sacrifices himself during the war to deter a missile over the Arctic. After successfully knocking the bomb off course, he falls into the ice below and is frozen (along with the only working Super Soldier sample) for generations.

 

The newer version of Cap (frozen in time) adds a level of depth to the character. He comes directly from a time considered to be the moral height in American history.  He skipped the Baby Boom, Woodstock, the Civil Rights Movement, 1980s Butt Rock, the whole of the 90s, and Y2K.  Much like some grandparents who grew up in the same era as Cap did, he is old fashioned, and politically incorrect, which is refreshing, and necessary.  Captain America represents the best we have to offer of ourselves from the best time of our recent history.

HOW HE REFLECTS ON OUR HUMANITY?

Scrawny Steve Rogers

The trailers to the new movie does an amazing job of depicting Steve as a small physically frail individual who just wants to be a part of something great.  There is a great line by Stanley Tucci’s character who says, “… because a weak man knows the value of strength; knows the value of power.”  This sentiment is what  we are losing in our humanity: the value in strength, in courage, in sacrifice, in being a part of something bigger than ourselves that is real, and meaningful.   Captain America is a Superhero, but I will argue that he has no superpowers.  His main weapons are a shield, and his heart. He does not have super-human powers, but abilities of a person at the peak of human capabilities.  Similar to the Green Lantern, Captain America’s power is his heart.  As the leader of the Avengers, Captain America is the team’s soul.  He is a man… just a man, and he does not let his power define him.

 

 

THE MOVIE.

Captain America The First Avenger

I think that the movie will capture the character the way Thor and Iron Man have.  I am more excited for this movie than the others, even the Hulk.  I will be seated in the theaters on July 22nd with the rest of the fanboys who can’t wait to see this movie.  Iron Man was good, Thor was good, and even though Iron Man 2 felt like a setup movie, but I have high expectations (especially after seeing the trailers).  I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I will.

I’ll see you on the flip side!

~JB

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About ManvDadhood

I am a man, and by my wife’s standards that makes me flawed. My challenge to parents, and to myself, is not to teach my kids about the kind of person I hope them to become one day, but to become that person today.

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