Monday, February 17, 2014

How Captain America Ruined Steve Rogers


There’s one thing I really don’t like about the movie Captain America

I don’t like that Steve Rogers went from being a small, weak, and ignored man to a Herculean and handsome man who was pursued by more girls than he wanted. 
The trouble with my objection is that it’s one of the main plot points of the movie. Steve Rogers was all heart and no strength or looks, until a magical/scientific serum granted him everything he was lacking. Then he became Captain America and was a great hero. That is the story of Captain America.

But imagine the story without the serum.
Imagine if somehow, through blood, sweat, tears and months of bootcamp, Steve Rogers finally managed to master the basic push-up, and, despite still being a ninety-pound shrimp with health problems, was shipped to France and ended up in that same battered camp, where he heard that his best friend was captured. Imagine if then, with all the courage in his tiny frame, he used his wits and determination and love for his friend to infiltrate the enemy base and free the prisoners. 
He wouldn’t have the strength, the muscles, the good looks, that heroes are supposed to have. But he would still have the bravery, the selflessness, the dedication that makes Captain America a hero.

In the movie, it seems that the woman of the story, while she admires Steve Rogers’ courage, doesn’t really fall in love with him until he steps from the machine, a foot and a half taller than before, with rippling muscles. Suddenly, he’s a perfect romantic lead and she’s head over three-inch-heels.
But imagine if that had never happened and she had simply realized that despite his physical weakness, Steve Rogers was more of a man than any six-foot-tall hunk with a smile. What if she had respected and admired his moral integrity and fallen in love him because he was a good man, and that mattered more than his looks?

Maybe that movie wouldn’t have been Captain America. But it would have been good. Instead of the story of a  character with what amounts to a handicap that is magically removed, it would be the story of a character with the same “handicap” who not only overcomes it and saves the lives of his comrades but, through courage and integrity, makes other people see past his weaknesses and appreciate him for who he really is. 

I think I would like that story better.