Why Captain America Must Die

Chris Evans as Captain America, art courtesy Disney and Marvel

Captain America
Not-so-secret alias: Steve Rogers
Starred in: Captain America: The First Avenger; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Captain America: Civil War
Appeared in: The Avengers; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Spider-Man: Homecoming
Special abilities: Super-strong; Super-fast; Has a super Frisbee.

Chris Evans in Avengers: Age of Ultron, photo courtesy Disney and Marvel

Captain America is my favorite superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And he has to go.

It’s not because I want him to go. Cap (played by Chris Evans), has been the heart and soul of the Avengers for years. He’s followed his conscience throughout his MCU career, even when that conscience told him to drop his shield. He’s been the moral core at the heart of the team—a guy who despite not having the strength of Hulk or the power of Thor or the titanium wherewithal of Iron Man, took its helm through acclimation and led it through its most perilous hours. Yeah, I think if he tried a bit harder in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he could’ve hoisted Thor’s hammer.

Through all his adventures, he’s kept true to the promise he made scientist Abraham Erskine when he was just a scrawny soldier named Steve Rogers: “That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”

He is a good man, one whose inherent goodness was born in the Great Depression, honed in World War II and survived unscathed even in our complex, deeply flawed 21st Century. Even now, apparently sidelined as the events of Avengers: Infinity War open, it almost feels as though the Avengers are awaiting his return. Who else, after all, could better lead them?

The Avengers—the whole MCU—will be worse off when Cap really leaves it.

And that’s why I think he has to.

There’s no explicit Christ-like figure in the MCU as we might find in D.C.’s universe, with Superman. With Supes, the Messiah undertones have been a part of his character from the very beginning, right down to his name. And even though Disney and Marvel have portrayed Steve Rogers as practically a man without sin, Steve himself would chuckle and shake his head at such comparisons. He’s just a guy from Brooklyn, after all. He’s a manmade superhero, too: If he started playing in the NFL, he’d be suspended for several lifetimes for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

To paraphrase Rogers himself, there’s only one God, and he doesn’t dress like that.

But while Cap isn’t precisely a Christ figure, his whole narrative, from the first movie to the last, has been defined by sacrifice. And the biggest sacrifices he’s made have been for one of the biggest sinners around: Bucky Barnes.

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