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Captain America’s Solo Trilogy: 5 Things It Did Right (& 5 It Did Wrong)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began as Tony Stark’s franchise. The other heroes each had a chance to shine, but Stark was the anchor pulling the whole thing together. However, as soon as the Russo brothers took over the Captain America movies, Steve Rogers became just as important as Stark.

RELATED: The Avengers: 10 Best Candidates to Replace Captain America as Leader

It is the dichotomy between these two characters that has formed the backbone of the MCU for a good few years. It all began when the Russos showed up to get Cap’s solo franchise into shape. Here are 5 Things Captain America’s Solo Trilogy Did Right (And 5 It Did Wrong).

10 Wrong: Generic origin story

While Captain America: The First Avenger isn’t a terrible movie – it’s actually, all things considered, a pretty good one – there’s no denying that it follows the MCU’s set-menu origin story formula.

We meet Steve Rogers as a young man searching for his purpose. He has an older, wiser mentor figure who offers him the chance to fulfill his destiny. The mentor figure dies, which pushes him to fulfill that destiny. Everything’s going great until a villain shows up with similar powers to Steve and he’s finally met his match. The only non-generic thing about it is the fact that the hero is catapulted into the future at the end.

9 Right: Cap’s character arc

Captain America’s character arc as a whole lasted until Avengers: Endgame, but there is an internal one in his solo trilogy and it’s terrific. In The First Avenger, Steve is willing to do anything for his government. In The Winter Soldier, that government betrays him and he realizes he can only trust himself.

In Civil War, he actively fights against the government’s attempts to regulate his actions. The final moments of Civil War see Steve arriving at the Raft to break his allies out of prison. There’s no way we could imagine the Steve we first met doing that, yet it doesn’t feel out of character when we see it. That’s what character development looks like.

8 Wrong: Villains

The Captain America trilogy has never had particularly good villains. Despite Red Skull being Cap’s primary villain in the comics, he just came off as lame in The First Avenger.

It was an intriguing turning of the tables to have Cap’s best friend become the villain in The Winter Soldier, but ultimately, Bucky wasn’t the real villain of that movie; Alexander Pierce was, and he was another generic MCU villain with vague motivations for evil. Finally, Helmut Zemo was woefully underused in Civil War, since the focus was on the Avengers’ animosity towards each other, while his “getting caught was all a part of my plan” schtick has been done a thousand times before.

7 Right: Steve’s friendship with Sam

When we catch up with Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we truly see him as a man out of his time. He’s trying to get by, but it’s not easy, because all of his friends and family are dead and he doesn’t recognize the world. And then he meets Sam Wilson, a fellow vet who is similarly struggling to fit in.

RELATED: 10 Things We Want To See From Sam Wilson’s Captain America

Sam wasn’t frozen for 70 years, but he did go to war and return home to find that he had no place, so the two can relate to each other. Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie have fantastic chemistry and Cap’s solo movies have used this well.

6 Wrong: Steve’s romance with Sharon

In the years between Cap going into the ice and missing his date with Peggy and his trip back to the ‘40s to spend his whole life with her, Marvel didn’t really know what to do with his romantic arc. So, they put him in a weird, kind of creepy, pseudo-incestuous relationship with Peggy’s great-niece, Sharon.

Fans were never on board with this pairing, and it seems right that the MCU just sort of forgot about it. It’s even worse in retrospect, since we now know that Steve would eventually go back in time, marry Peggy, and technically become Sharon’s great uncle.

5 Right: Upping the stakes in the second movie

All these years later, Captain America: The Winter Soldier still stands as one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It suitably upped the stakes following The First Avenger, with Steve Rogers adjusting to life in the modern world, losing his trust in the government he served (the only thing he had left), and coming face-to-face with the ultimate villain: his childhood best friend who he thought had died 70 years earlier and had been brainwashed by Nazi scientists to assassinate him. The Winter Soldier solidified Cap’s place as one of the MCU’s most well-defined and interesting characters.

4 Wrong: Third acts (except for Civil War)

The third act of Civil War is spectacular, with the conflict of the movie being stripped down to its essential elements: Tony finding out Bucky killed his parents, Tony wanting revenge, and Cap standing in his way as he’s torn between his best friend and his closest ally.

RELATED: 10 MCU Moments That Prove Captain America Was Always Worthy Of Mjolnir

But the third act of The First Avenger feels rushed in order to get Cap in the ice and send him into the modern day, while the third act of The Winter Soldier takes the paranoid political thriller build-up and tosses it out in favor of an all-too-familiar CGI smash-‘em-up for the final battle.

3 Right: Final lines of dialogue

The final line of dialogue in a movie is incredibly important, because they’re the words stuck in your head as you leave the theater and head home. The MCU understands this, and it’s never been on finer display than in the Captain America movies. At the end of The First Avenger, Steve finds himself hopelessly confused in 21st century New York and Nick Fury asks him if he’s going to be okay. Steve responds, “Yeah, I just…I had a date.”

His first thought is that he’s missed his chance with Peggy. At the end of The Winter Soldier, Steve tells Sam he doesn’t have to help him look for Bucky and Sam says, “I know. When do we start?” And at the end of Civil War, Steve sends Tony a letter that concludes, “No matter what, I promise you, if you need us, if you need me…I’ll be there.” Powerful stuff.

2 Wrong: Making Civil War pretty much an Avengers movie

Captain America: Civil War is often referred to as Avengers 2.5, because Iron Man, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch are as much a part of the plot as Cap is. While Civil War is, at heart, still a Captain America movie, it doesn’t feel like a true solo movie in the sense that The Winter Soldier does. Civil War is bigger than Captain America, and that’s its biggest problem.

That story needed to be told – the Avengers had to break up before Thanos showed up, because that’s how Thanos won – but maybe it shouldn’t have been a Cap solo movie. Cap deserved a true closer to his solo trilogy.

1 Right: Completing the Cap/Bucky arc

The MCU as a whole gives us a rounded portrait of Steve Rogers and a complete, fleshed-out character arc, but the Captain America solo trilogy focused more specifically on his friendship with Bucky.

In the first one, they fought in World War II together and Bucky “died,” spurring Cap on to sacrifice himself. In the second one, Bucky returns as a brainwashed assassin out to kill Cap. In the third one, the Avengers are torn apart and the UN pokes around in superheroes’ business. But despite the epic scale, it still didn’t lose sight of the focus on the Cap/Bucky arc and gave it some closure, which is pretty admirable.

NEXT: Captain America: 8 Ways Chris Evans Can Still Play Steve Rogers In Another MCU Movie


2019-07-13 11:07:27

Ben Sherlock

How Captain America Is Able To [SPOILER] In Avengers: Endgame

WARNING: Major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

Captain America lifted Mjolnir in Avengers: Endgame – but just how does it work? The third act of Avengers: Endgame was easily the most gripping action sequence in the entire MCU to date, as the Avengers Trinity faced off against Thanos at last. Steve Rogers has always been an unusual figure among these three heroes; Tony Stark is a genius who by now is wearing what’s surely his most powerful armor yet, while Thor is a literal god. Captain America may be a super-soldier, but his powers pale in comparison to his allies’ abilities.

And yet, to Thanos’ surprise, Captain America proves able to hold his own. He does this by picking up Mjolnir, proving himself worthy. What follows is a stunning fight, as Steve Rogers blends his own tactical acumen with the power of the God of Thunder. From that point on, Captain America becomes one of the Avengers’ heavy hitters, much to Thor’s delight.

Related: Avengers: Endgame’s Ending & Marvel Movie Future Explained In Detail

It’s important to remember that Mjolnir was blessed with a double-enchantment by Odin. The first is that only someone who is truly “worthy” has the ability to wield Mjolnir. The second, as Steve Rogers proved in Avengers: Endgame, is that anyone who picks up the hammer possesses the power of Thor. So why was Captain America worthy?

Why Captain America Is Worthy To Wield Mjolnir In Avengers: Endgame

The theme of “worthiness” lies at the heart of the Thor trilogy. In 2011’s Thor, the God of Thunder proved he was unworthy to take the throne of Asgard when he committed an act of war that would potentially lead to the deaths of millions. His concern was for his own glory, for the thrill of battle, and not for the good of the Nine Realms. That was when Odin stripped Thor of his powers, and placed the worthiness enchantment upon Mjolnir. By the end of the film, Thor had proved himself worthy when he was willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of those he loved. This principle was extended in Thor: The Dark World, when the God of Thunder was again willing to stand as a champion – this time not just for those he loved, but for the entire Nine Realms. The Realms saw Thor battle against Malekith, and acknowledged him as a worthy king.

In the MCU, then, the worthiness enchantment is tied to a person’s willingness to stand up for others – no matter the cost. This is pretty much the same principle as the comics, where Mjolnir has been lifted by a number of other key figures in the past, most notably Jane Foster. Jane was dying of cancer, and every time she transformed into the female Thor it reversed the effect of her chemotherapy; and yet she continued to act as a hero, irrespective of the cost. She was willing to sacrifice everything for the good of others, even for the Asgardians who distrusted and reviled her, and as a result she was worthy.

Avengers: Endgame confirms that Steve Rogers, too, is worthy. This shouldn’t really be much of a surprise; Captain America’s entire life has been a demonstration of self-sacrificial heroism, even before he became a super-soldier. Rogers was unwilling to sit the Second World War out, not because he sought glory and recognition, but because he yearned to make a difference. At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers was even willing to give his own life to protect New York City from Hydra’s bombs. Instead of dying, he awoke from cryogenic suspension 70 years later, and ever since he’s been on the front lines, battling to keep others safe. In Avengers: Endgame, the stakes are higher than ever before, and Captain America is risking his own life to literally bring back half the lives in the universe – whatever it takes.

Related: Ragnarok Revealed The Real Reason Odin Stripped Thor Of His Power

Did Captain America Already Lift Mjolnir In Avengers: Age Of Ultron?

Curiously enough, this is the second time in the MCU that Captain America has attempted to lift Mjolnir. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, there’s an entertaining scene in which the Avengers attempt to pick up Thor’s hammer. The God of Thunder watches, prideful and amused, right up until the moment Steve Rogers makes an attempt. To Thor’s shock, Mjolnir actually moves just a fraction.

Taken at face value, the scene appears to suggest that – at least in Avengers: Age of Ultron – Steve Rogers was almost worthy, but not quite. Avengers: Endgame suggests another explanation, though; that back in 2015, Captain America felt Mjolnir shift in his hands, and chose not to pick it up. Perhaps he saw the look on Thor’s face, and realized his friend would be devastated that a mortal was able to lift Mjolnir. That makes sense; Captain America is a lot less prideful than the rest of the Avengers, and he doesn’t really feel the same need to prove himself to others. But in Avengers: Endgame, with Thor being defeated by Thanos, Steve knows he has no choice. He picks up Mjolnir, claiming the power of Thor for himself, and using it against the Mad Titan. By this time Thor’s lost a lot of his pride, and as a result he’s thrilled to see that Steve Rogers is worthy.

Captain America Has Lifted Mjolnir In The Comics

There have been several occasions when Captain America lifted Mjolnir in the comics. The most famous was in The Mighty Thor #390, at a time when Rogers had abandoned the Captain America identity and just called himself “The Captain.” Thor paid a visit to Avengers Mansion, and was somewhat shocked at a very different Avengers team. His visit coincided with an attack by Seth, the Egyptian God of Death, and soon he was battling alongside the Avengers against Seth’s armies. In one scene, Thor was knocked down and Mjolnir was flung from his grasp; to everybody’s surprise, the Captain picked it up and wielded it before tossing it straight back to the God of Thunder. It happened again in 2011’s Fear Itself event, when Thor was killed by his malevolent uncle, the Serpent. Steve Rogers – who had only recently returned from the dead and reclaimed the Captain America mantle – grabbed Mjolnir and summoned the lightning as he uttered that famous battlecry: “Avengers assemble!”

Leaving aside one strange, controversial example from “Secret Empire” – it involved a warped version of reality – there have only been these two occasions where Captain America has used Mjolnir in the comics. It happens in the worst of situations, when all seems lost, and it’s as spectacular a demonstration of Steve’s character as it is of the power of Thor. That now seems to be true in the MCU as well.

More: Avengers: Endgame’s Post-Credits Surprise Explained


2019-04-25 06:04:22

Thomas Bacon

The Evolution Of Captain America In The MCU

Captain America’s journey in the MCU has been a long one, and he’s been through a lot. He started out his story in these films as a young, sickly kid in 1940s Brooklyn who wanted so badly to help fight in World War II. From there he has been a hero, a fugitive, and more. While we don’t yet know Captain America’s fate in Avengers: Endgame and what, if any, story lies ahead for Steve Rogers, we can look back on his evolution thus far.

Here are the main stages of Captain America’s evolution in the MCU.

RELATED: Captain America ‘Fights Like Thor’ in The BEST Way

10 SKINNY KID FROM BROOKLYN WHO HATED BULLIES

When we first meet Steve Rogers, he’s a young adult in ’40s Brooklyn who likes to fight bullies in alleyways. He desperately wants to join the Army and fight for what he thinks is right, especially considering his best friend is going and his dad died in World War I. Even before he was Captain America, Steve cared deeply about doing the right thing and sticking up for people. He didn’t like bullies, and as Dr. Erskine said, he was a good man.

9 BECOMING CAPTAIN AMERICA

The next major moment in Cap’s evolution is him becoming Captain America. Because of his inherent goodness (and a particularly clever moment with a flagpole), he is picked to try the super soldier serum. He becomes Captain America but is mostly used to sell war bonds at first.

RELATED: Captain America: Civil War Happened Too Early In The MCU – But Marvel Had No Choice

However, when he makes a tour stop in Italy, he learns that Bucky is either missing or killed in action. This prompts him to use the powers he has been given to save Bucky and the other soldiers. This is the moment where Steve really starts to become Captain America and learn how to be not just a hero, but a superhero.

8 WAKING UP FROM THE ICE AS A MAN OUT OF TIME

At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve sacrifices himself to save millions of others when he flies the plane into the ice. He wakes up again around 70 years later to a completely new world. He’s now a man in the 21st century, and he’s left to try and figure out how to live in this new world. Everyone he was close to is either dead or old, like Peggy who lived a full life while she thought Steve was dead. Steve is definitely lost and unsure of his place in the world and where he can find friends and family now.

7 BECOMING PART OF THE AVENGERS

In The Avengers, we see Steve still trying to figure out the new time period he lives in. He is recruited by Fury to become part of the Avengers Initiative. Of course, this doesn’t go super smoothly at first, and it takes some time for the Avengers to fight together as a team.

RELATED: Avengers Cast Sings Marvel-Themed We Didn’t Start the Fire

But, this is the start of a new lease on life for Cap as he’s able to fight bullies and help save the world again. He also begins to find people he can call a team, although he still struggles to feel he belongs going into Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

6 DISILLUSIONMENT IN WINTER SOLDIER

In Winter Soldier, Steve is working for SHIELD, but he still is clearly mourning the loss of his old life and the people he cared about. He starts to find people he can rely on such as Sam Wilson, but he also learns the awful truth the SHIELD has been infiltrated by HYDRA. This knowledge clearly shakes him deeply and shakes a lot of the trust he had in institutions. This shift in his way of thinking will come into play many times in later movies, too.

5 SAVING BUCKY BARNES

The other most important part of Steve’s evolution in The Winter Soldier is learning that Bucky Barnes is still alive and has been brainwashed into being a HYDRA assassin.

RELATED: Avengers 4’s Chris Evans Says Bucky is Steve Rogers’ “Home”

Steve is stuck between wanting to do everything he can to save the world and wanting to save his friend. He is willing to die instead of fighting Bucky, and Bucky’s emergence back into his life will impact his arc in the rest of the movies.

4 A TROUBLED RELATIONSHIP AS CO-LEADERS WITH TONY STARK

From the moment they meet in The Avengers, Tony and Steve have a somewhat hostile relationship. They are two very different people, although they both believe strongly in doing what they can to save others. At times they respect each other, and many other times they are at odds. Their relationship is strained once again in Avengers: Age of Ultron which leads into the major conflict in Captain America: Civil War.

3 BREAKING THE LAW TO DO WHAT HE BELIEVES IS RIGHT

In Civil War, Steve Rogers has another major shift. While many believe Steve is a letter-of-the-law type of man, he is more loyal to people and ideas than institutions. When the Accords are presented, he chooses to go against them, and his decision is cemented when Bucky is blamed for the attack on the U.N.

RELATED: The 5 Movies You Have To Watch To Understand Avengers: Endgame

Steve is stuck between wanting to do everything he can to save the world and wanting to save his friend. He is willing to die instead of fighting Bucky, and Bucky’s emergence back into his life will impact his arc in the rest of the movies.

2 FUGITIVE/NOMAD

After Civil War, Captain America is a fugitive and war criminal. He is off the grid and takes haven in Wakanda before going on covert missions with Falcon and Black Widow. He is clearly disillusioned and not sure how to embody the Captain America role anymore. He distances himself from this title during this time period. As he no longer has his shield, he takes up the Nomad identity from the comics, even though this time period of his life isn’t focused on much onscreen.

1 TAKING UP THE MANTLE OF LEADER AGAIN

In Avengers: Infinity War, Steve is still a fugitive. However, when Thanos becomes a threat and Tony Stark is no longer there to defend earth, Steve becomes a leader again. He doesn’t exactly take up the Captain America mantle again, but he does bring the rest of the team on earth together to fight the battle in Wakanda. When the Thanos snap happens and the Avengers lose, Steve is clearly devastated. While Endgame isn’t out quite yet, we’ve seen from trailers that he will get the shield back somehow and will likely embrace his Captain America title more fully once again.

NEXT: Avengers: Endgame Early Reactions: A Truly Epic Conclusion (& Beginning)


2019-04-24 03:04:44

Amanda Steele

Tony Stark Misses Captain America’s Optimism in New Endgame Spot

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) misses Captain America’s (Steve Rogers) “giddy optimism” in a newly-released Avengers: Endgame TV Spot. It’s been a tumultuous last couple of years for the MCU heroes following their falling out in Captain America: Civil War. But after suffering a devastating loss to Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, the two seems to be ready to set aside their differences for the common good in the much-anticipated Joe and Anthony Russo-directed film. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the project will wrap up the 22-film arc that the franchise has been treading since 2008’s Iron Man collectively known as The Infinity Saga.

Plot details are still tightly under wraps with Disney’s marketing designed to not give anything away in terms of Endgame‘s narrative. Infinity War was one of the most secretive productions ever, and with its sequel supposedly having more spoilers, it makes sense that Marvel Studios is doubling down on security. Trailers have barely revealed anything about how things pan out for both the remaining heroes and Thanos. But the TV spots, which have been rolling out regularly for the past several days offering fans an idea on what to expect in the Phase 3 capper. The latest promo clip previews what kind of dynamic the two MCU founding heroes will have in the film.

Related: Tony Stark Doesn’t Want to Die in Avengers: Endgame TV Spot

Shared by Marvel Studios‘ official Twitter account is a new Endgame TV spot composed of old and new footage. The clip starts with an emotional narration from Black Widow explaining how she never had the family, but because of the Avengers, she somehow found people she can totally trust. The video continues with a flurry of scenes and ends with a new dialog from Tony, seemingly telling Steve that he misses Steve Rogers’ “giddy optimism.” Watch the clip below:

Fans have seen the particular exchange between Iron Man and Captan America in a couple of previously released clips, but Marvel Studios continues to change the lines in the scene. In an earlier video, Stark was asking Steve about getting the whole team together, while in another, he says it would be nice to not die trying to execute their plan to take down Thanos. With the Russos admitting footage manipulation for the sake of Endgame‘s marketing, it won’t be surprising if nothing in these spots are in the film – at least in the scene in question. Nonetheless, it’s a great promotional material considering people’s investment in these two characters – both in their separate and collective arcs. Infinity War kept them separate all throughout with just minor references to one another, and seeing them reunite for the Phase 3 capper will definitely be one of the most powerful scenes in the project. And if they retain the same vibe that these exchanges have, it’s safe to say that the heroes will be able to recover from their previous conflict and not have a problem operating as a unit.

Stark and Rogers are two heroes expected to exit the MCU via Avengers: Endgame. While most are convinced that they’ll both die fighting the good fight, there are several other ways to sideline them without the need to permanently write them out of the franchise. If anything, no one’s really gone in the world of comic books and if Marvel Studios wants to emulate that, they would also have to somehow follow the same format. Chances are that although fans won’t be seeing them as prominently as they are in the franchise in the coming years, they can easily be called back for another event film to evoke nostalgia from their long-time supporters.

More: Thanos Wants to Destroy Earth (Not Balance It) in Endgame TV Ad

Source: Marvel Studios



2019-04-22 05:04:58

Ana Dumaraog

Captain America ‘Fights Like Thor’ in The BEST Way

Captain America may not be able to fly, punch, or drink like an Asgardian, but now that he’s defending Earth from a magical invasion he’s asking one question: what would Thor do? And his answer is more incredible than fans will ever expect.

Steve Rogers usually doesn’t need to worry about ‘fighting like Thor’ since his hammer-throwing Avengers teammate is normally fighting at his side. But in Marvel’s new War of The Realms event, the heroes have been scattered. Thor has been stranded far away from the fight, and doesn’t even know that his brother Loki was eaten alive by his Frost Giant father. So with demons invading New York City, Captain America decides to stop fighting like a super soldier… and start thinking like a god.

RELATED: Marvel’s New MAGIC Venom Has Been Revealed

Being the hero that he is, Captain America sets his sights on the biggest target. Fans of the Thor movies know that the god of thunder has dropped more than a few Frost Giants by delivering a simple knockout punch. But without the ability to fly, there’s no way for Cap to put his own strength – or shield – to use. A problem he solves with some good old fashioned ingenuity. If you can’t jump or fly into the face of a Giant, just take the stairs instead.

The strategy kills two birds with one stone: Steve hurries his way up floor after floor to reach the height of the Frost Giant’s massive blue head, and gets to direct every bystander to make a quick exit to safety. The attack itself is delivered without warning, just the sudden appearance of Captain America diving out a plate glass window shield first, aiming straight at the utterly baffled face of the Jotunheim warrior. The impact doesn’t even need to be shown, since fans know that a Cap-powered, vibranium shield strike to the skull is just as good as a swing of Thor’s hammer (assuming Mjolnir hadn’t been destroyed, obviously).

This perfect blend of Steve Rogers ingenuity and Asgardian enemy is a terrific appetizer for Cap’s coming promotion, when the War of The Realms sees Captain America join the Valkyrie and wage war from the back of a pegasus. But the moment that is guaranteed to have readers clutching their chests in a wave of Chris-Evans-esque delight comes when the Frost Giant hits the pavement unconscious… and Steve instructs his teammates to “find me another giant! I’m going back up!” Hey, when the winning strategy demands Steve sprint up dozens of flights of stairs over and over again, you can guarantee that he’ll be willing to do it. All day, if need be.

If this moment alone hasn’t convinced you to pick up War of The Realms already, then check out the official synopsis for Issue #2 below:

THE WORLD AT WAR! AS THE BATTLE FOR NEW YORK CITY CONTINUES, A HERO FALLS! All the heroes of the Marvel Universe have assembled, yet this still might not be enough to stop Malekith’s endless war. And the one hero who could turn the tide…is stranded where no one can reach him. With Thor trapped in the land of the Frost Giants and the forces of Earth overwhelmed, Black Panther, Jane Foster and Doctor Strange make a desperate gamble. Valhalla awaits…

Marvel’s War of The Realms #2 is available now from your local comic book store, or direct from Marvel Comics.

MORE: Thor’s New Queen Isn’t His Mother, It’s [SPOILER]


2019-04-21 02:04:16

Andrew Dyce

Captain America Turns ‘Traitor’ In The Story Marvel WON’T Tell

WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Life Story #1 & #2.

One would think that an alternate-timeline in which Captain America betrays his country at the height of the Vietnam War would see such a drastic occurrence as its focal point. Yet this stunning event is only a part of the background of Life Story – a new Spider-Man mini-series that offers a decidedly different take on the heroes of Marvel Comics during the Silver Age of Comics.

The basic idea of Life Story is taken from the classic Marvel What If? series, which explored how the lives of various characters might be forever altered by one little change. In the case of Life Story, the series explores the life of Peter Parker if he had aged in real time after being created as a 15 year old high-school student in 1962. The first chapter of Life Story is set in 1966, where Peter Parker is 19, newly accepted into college and, like most young men of the time, worried about the growing conflict in Vietnam.

Related: Marvel Studios Reportedly Developing What If TV Show For Disney Plus

While Stan Lee wasn’t shy about confronting the issues raised by the Vietnam War and the student protests against it, he never explored how Peter’s sense of responsibility might leave him conflicted regarding the idea of military service. Ignoring the morality of the war itself, Peter did have the welfare of his elderly Aunt May to think of, but he probably would still wonder if the responsibility of his great power required him to serve society as a soldier.

Writer Chip Zdarksy explores this question masterfully, with Peter turning to Captain America for his own opinions on the war and his advice on what he should do. True to form, Steve Rogers says that he intends to see the conflict for himself before making a decision but that he has seen enough of Spider-Man in action to trust that he will make the right choice for himself.

Peter eventually decides that there is no dishonor in protecting his city from domestic threats while other superheroes support the war effort directly. As for Steve Rogers, the first issue of Life Story  dramatically reveals his decision in its final pages, as a group of American soldiers prepare to attack a seemingly unarmed rural village in the jungle of Vietnam. They are all disarmed by one throw of Captain America’s mighty shield, with Cap instructing them to tell Iron Man that “These people? They’re under my protection.”

This subplot continues into the second issue of Life Story, where the story jumps forward to 1977. For reasons that are not precisely explained, the Vietnam War is still going on in this reality, with Iron Man and Giant Man still leading the American troops. Captain America, for his part, is said to still be hiding out in the jungle, fighting a one-man war to prevent deaths on both sides of the conflict.

Again, this interesting idea is only background material. The focus of the story remains on Peter Parker, who has just turned 30, is happily married to Gwen Stacy and is working alongside Reed Richards at the Future Foundation. While Zdarksy spins an engaging tale around Spider-Man, and how an older Peter Parker might have addressed the problems he faced in the 1970s Spider-Man comics, the tale of Captain America changing in the face of the Vietnam War is worth examining in greater detail. It is unknown how this subplot will be developed in future issues but there is rich ground to be explored here and tremendous potential for a follow-up mini-series.

Spider-Man: Life Story #2 is now available from Marvel Comics.

More: Even Marvel Admits Spider-Man’s Worst Story Was a Mistake


2019-04-19 01:04:15

Matt Morrison

Avengers: Endgame Poster Highlights Thor, Iron Man & Captain America’s Evolution

Marvel Studios releases a brand new poster for Avengers: Endgame highlighting the evolution of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. The MCU’s trinity of heroes: Tony Stark, Thor and Steve Rogers are the cornerstones of the franchise. Together with the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, they make up the six original Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and as their potentially final mission together nears, marketing for the Phase 3 capper zeroes in on these characters.

Picking up after the tragic ending of Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame will see the surviving heroes of Thanos’ decimation of half of life in the universe at their lowest point. With their first real defeat handed to them by the Mad Titan, they each suffered their own personal loss with no clue how to move forward. But with the help of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), they might find a way avenge the fallen by hatching a plan that will take down the intergalactic villain and at the same time restore peace and order in the universe. And at the forefront of that battle are Stark, Thor and Rogers. As people prepare for the worst in case some, if not all of them bite the bullet in Avengers 4, Marvel Studios continues to amp up the nostalgia via their latest poster.

Related: New Avengers: Endgame TV Spots Reveal Never-Before-Seen Footage

Shared on Marvel Studios‘ official Twitter account is a poster created by Chris Skinner that features MCU’s trinity of heroes in their Endgame appearance and parallel to that is the visual representation of their origins. Stark is paired up with himself wearing the bulky Mark I which he made with Ho Yinsen while he was in captivity in Afghanistan, Thor with Mjolnir and Captain America as skinny pre-super soldier serum Steve. This will be the first of 10 exclusive one-sheets for the film from the digital artist. Check out the illustration below:

It’s no secret that letting all six original Avengers survive The Decimation was an intentional choice from directors Joe and Anthony Russo, as well as screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. While the trailers and promo spots for Endgame barely reveal anything plot-wise so as to keep the secrecy of the movie, they’ve made it a point to emphasize the re-assembly of these characters. They even teased what appears to be Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all approaching a waiting Thanos in an unknown battle-torn setting. Whether or not that specific shot is in the film remains to be seen, however, since the filmmakers admitted to manipulating footage in promo materials to keep fans guessing.

After the Phase 3 capper, it’s anyone guess what the fates will be for the MCU trinity. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased that the twin Avengers sequel will be the final chapter for some of these heroes, and since they’re the oldest from the franchise’s growing cast, it makes sense that they’re the ones to go. At this point, there’s already a slew of second-generation heroes that take over the frontlines of the MCU once they’re out of their superhero gigs, either permanently and temporarily. That said, it doesn’t mean that the franchise don’t need them anymore. Not taking away from the new characters, but they have big shoes to fill once these founding heroes are already out of the spotlight following Avengers: Endgame.

More: Captain Marvel Isn’t Part Of The Avengers’ Big Endgame Mission – Why?

Source: Marvel Studios



2019-04-18 05:04:33

Ana Dumaraog

Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense Isn’t In Captain America: Civil War? Think Again

Spider-Man’s spider-sense was actually featured in Captain America: Civil War – twice. When Marvel Studios struck an unprecedented deal with Sony to incorporate a new version of Spider-Man into the MCU, they decided not to repeat anything that had been done before on the big screen. That’s why Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is younger than any previous iteration of Peter Parker, and it’s why Marvel avoided retelling that famous origin story.

It also meant that Marvel chose not to focus on Spider-Man’s spider-sense. In the comics, the spider-sense is a core part of Spider-Man’s powerset, a preternatural sixth sense that warns him of danger. When Sony began making Spider-Man movies, they chose to make the spider-sense central to their portrayals, creating stunning slow-motion scenes that emphasized the sense of impending danger and the speed of Spider-Man’s reflexes. Marvel Studios chose to ditch this approach, and it wasn’t until Avengers: Infinity War that there was even an explicit nod to the spider-sense, with the hairs on Peter’s arm standing on end as the Black Order ship arrived on Earth.

Related: Why Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Trailers Ignore Avengers: Infinity War

But on closer watch, just because Marvel hasn’t focused on the spider-sense in previous films, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there all along. It’s worth remembering that the MCU’s Spider-Man has struggled to master his powers in a way none of the other big-screen versions have. As he explained in Captain America: Civil War, all his senses have been “dialed to 11.” He’s struggling to cope with the sheer amount of input; and that potentially means he hasn’t yet worked out how to handle this mysterious danger sense.

In actual fact, there are two scenes in Captain America: Civil War where Spider-Man’s spider-sense appears to be in play. The Airport Battle really begins when Spider-Man enters the scene, stealing Captain America’s shield and webbing up his hands. Though he doesn’t know it, Captain America had figured that Iron Man’s forces would somehow try to take his shield, and he’d planted Ant-Man on it as a surprise. It’s easy to miss, though, but Spider-Man begins to react to Ant-Man’s presence before Scott Lang sizes up. He knows that something is wrong, even if he hasn’t got a clue what it is. That’s a problem Spider-Man has frequently had in the comics, when his spider-sense warns him of danger but he can’t figure it out in time to dodge it.

Later on, Spider-Man takes on Falcon and Winter Soldier. During the fight, there’s a moment when he’s engaging Falcon in a mid-air battle, telling Sam that he has the right to remain silent. Bucky attempts to intervene, ripping up a piece of furnishing and tossing it at Spider-Man – but the wall-crawler reacts at speed. “Oh, God,” Peter gasps, the eyes of his mask widening just as they tend to when his spider-sense is triggered in the comics. He turns to see what’s coming, and ducks under it, before catching it with webbing and throwing it straight back at the Winter Soldier. There’s absolutely no way Spider-Man could have sensed that attack if not for his spider-sense.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that the MCU’s Spider-Man does indeed have spider-sense, and it’s since been visualized in Avengers: Infinity War. As Feige noted, “I think how we explore [the spider-sense] in a cinematic sense will change.” In Captain America: Civil War, while the spider-sense was there, the action scenes weren’t really from Peter’s perspective and thus it wasn’t the focus. It will be interesting to see what approach Jon Watts takes in Spider-Man: Far From Home now the spider-sense is officially out of the bag.

More: How Sony Ruined (And Then Saved) Spider-Man


2019-04-18 04:04:13

Thomas Bacon

Captain America: Civil War Happened Too Early In The MCU – But Marvel Had No Choice

Many Marvel fans complained that Captain America: Civil War should have happened after a lot more heroes had been established in the MCU – but in truth it couldn’t have happened any later. The film is based on a classic Marvel Comics story from 2006 that saw the entire superhero community divided over a Super Human Registration Act.

There’s a sense in which the Civil War comic set the scene for the modern comic book industry. It was the first Summer Event of the 2000s, and it genuinely did transform the Marvel Universe for years to come. Although it starred Captain America and Iron Man, every single superhero not gifted powers by a mutant gene was drawn into the Civil War; from Carol Danvers’ (then Ms. Marvel) to Spider-Man, from the Punisher to the Fantastic Four. When the dust settled, Captain America had been arrested as a criminal – and he was executed by a sniper before he could stand trial. Tony Stark was placed in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D., while several major heroes were left as fugitives from justice, a so-called “Secret Avengers” team. The scale of it all was absolutely staggering, and – even more impressively – it was possible to chart the course of the event through all the main issues and the countless tie-ins. No other Marvel Comics event has matched it in terms of consistency and careful plotting.

Related: Every Captain America Movie, Ranked

The MCU version of Civil War, told as part of Captain America 3, was different. Each side had just a handful of heroes; Iron Man had Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, Spider-Man, and Black Panther, while Captain America had Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye. The Airport Battle may have been a franchise highlight, but it didn’t really begin to compare to the comic book climax, when vast numbers of heroes slugged it out in Times Square. Comic book fans cried foul, insisting that Marvel should really have waited for a bigger line-up before doing this plot.

Lovers of the comics tend to forget that there’s a crucial difference between the comic medium and the movies. In the comics, thanks to a sliding timeline, no superhero ever really ages or retires; the Fantastic Four were introduced in 1961 and are still Marvel’s First Family to this day. In contrast, the movies are restricted by the fact that actors age and contracts expire. What’s more, in a shared cinematic universe, it’s much harder to recast the franchise stars; the MCU pulled it off with the likes of the Hulk and War Machine back in Phase 1, but they just couldn’t do it now, when their stars have become household names. The MCU creates phenomenal storytelling possibilities for Marvel Studios, but it also imposes restrictions.

Marvel visionary Kevin Feige understood that any adaptation of Civil War simply had to include both Captain America and Iron Man. In actual fact, that reportedly became something of a bone of contention in Marvel back in 2015, with Marvel Entertainment’s Ike Perlmutter reluctant to sign off on Robert Downey Jr.’s pay-check for the film and proposing using another character for the pro-registration side instead. This was only one of many issues between Feige and Perlmutter, and matters became so acrimonious that Disney intervened and forced a corporate restructure. Marvel Studios was separated out from the rest of Marvel Entertainment, Feige was placed in charge, and he promptly signed up Downey for Captain America: Civil War. That internal Civil War shows just how important Feige felt Iron Man was to the story, regardless of who was on his team.

Given the contracts of both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are believed to be coming to an end with Avengers: Endgame – an fact Evans talked about as early as 2014 – the truth is that this plot could only happen in Phase 3. Granted, that means a smaller cast than the comic book version of Civil War, and a less spectacular final battle, but it’s better that than losing the main characters from the story and abandoning their arcs altogether.

More: Joss Whedon’s Avengers Films Never Understood Captain America


2019-04-15 05:04:18

Thomas Bacon

Joss Whedon’s Avengers Films Never Understood Captain America

Steve Rogers aka. Captain America (Chris Evans) has the best solo movies, but Joss Whedon’s Avengers films – 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – never truly understood his character. The Star-Spangled Man has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his solo origin movie, 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, which directly preceded the first Avengers movie. Outside the team-up films, Captain America’s story continued in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and his solo trilogy concluded in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America most recently returned in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes finally came face to face with the Mad Titan Thanos, a villain the MCU has been setting up since the very first Avengers movie. And after the cliffhanger ending of Infinity War, in which Thanos won and wiped out half of all life in the universe, Captain America was one of the heroes left standing, having watched his best friend Bucky Barnes aka. Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) die. Next, Captain America will return in Avengers: Endgame as the remaining heroes team up to take on Thanos again and try to reverse the snap.

Related: Marvel Movie Timeline: A Complete History Of The MCU

Avengers: Endgame is set to conclude the story of the MCU so far, what Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige calls the Infinity Saga and, as such, we’re looking back at the franchise as a whole. In particular, Captain America has had an interesting arc throughout his solo movies, but has been underutilized in the first three Avengers movies (Cap has more lines in his Spider-Man: Homecoming cameo than Infinity War). Further, Whedon’s characterization of Captain America in his two Avengers movies gets certain key aspects of the hero wrong, revealing the writer-director doesn’t understand the Star-Spangled Man. Now, we dive into how Whedon’s characterization of Captain America is different and what it gets wrong.

  • This Page: Captain America Is The Best MCU Character
  • Next Page: Joss Whedon Rewrote Captain America & Got It Wrong

Captain America Is The Best MCU Character – In His Solo Movies

One of the lines of dialogue most associated with Captain America comes from his second solo movie, The Winter Soldier: “The price of freedom is high, it always has been. But it’s a price I’m willing to pay.” However, this dialogue is actually a callback to a scene early on in The First Avenger when pre-super soldier serum Steve picks a fight with a man in a movie theater who was being disrespectful of a newsreel about the United States Army’s involvement in World War II. In that newsreel, the voiceover says, “Our brave boys are showing the Axis Powers that the price of freedom is never too high.” These lines are important because they represent Captain America’s core beliefs in the MCU. He believes in freedom and he believes in paying the price to earn that freedom, even if that price is giving his own life – and even, as seen in The Winter Soldier, if no one else is willing to give their lives for freedom.

Steve also demonstrates a stubborn fighting spirit, particularly in The First Avenger: “I can do this all day.” In the first act of the movie, Steve picks a fight with a man much bigger than him, and it becomes clear from his conversation with Bucky that this is a regular occurrence. Then, it’s revealed Steve has tried to enlist in the army and join the war five times – five times – before he’s taken in by Dr. Erskine for the super soldier program. It’s Steve’s time fighting on the streets of Brooklyn in the 1930s and 40s, then his time in WWII where he proves he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. That mentality carries through the rest of his solo films as he takes on an entire branch of the United States government in order to defeat the MCU’s Nazi organization, Hydra, and again when he fights his own friends in Civil War in order to protect the Avengers’ freedom from government oversight.

Related: Every Captain America Movie, Ranked

Captain America’s relationship to the U.S. government is another key aspect of his characterization, and one that doesn’t get explored much, if at all outside of his solo movies. Over the course of his three movies, Steve goes from putting all of his faith in the U.S. government’s mission in WWII, to questioning an institution that can allow an evil like Hydra to foster within its ranks. And, having learned that even a government in which he placed so much faith can be fallible and corrupt, Civil War sees Steve fight to make sure no government has the power of the Avengers under their control. Since the Avengers movies tend to feature more extraterrestrial threats – with the exception of Ultron – Captain America doesn’t have as strong a showing as he does against the villains of his solo movies.

Still, though Captain America may not be the most important Avenger in the team-up movies, his solo movies and his solo trilogy are arguably the best of the MCU. The Captain America films have a very specific trajectory and Steve Rogers is a fully realized, well-developed character through all three movies. He’s a hero who fights for freedom, always, and one who appreciates his abilities after having grown up getting beat up in the back alleys of Brooklyn. Marvel Studios created one of its best heroes in Captain America – but he hasn’t gotten to shine properly in the Avengers movies, and part of that is due to Whedon not truly understanding the character of Steve Rogers.

Next Page: Joss Whedon Rewrote Captain America & Got It Wrong

Joss Whedon Rewrote Captain America For Avengers 1 & 2

Contrast to Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, Joss Whedon’s version of the character in The Avengers – which he wrote and directed – is a boy scout who butts heads with Tony Stark aka. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Some of this comes from Steve’s faith in S.H.I.E.L.D. and, by extension the U.S. government, which is true to the character as established in The First Avenger. Steve hasn’t yet been forced to face the truth of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s corruption and so he trusts Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Then Steve and Tony butt heads again in Avengers: Age of Ultron over Tony’s desire to protect Earth with Ultron, seeing it as a preventative measure similarly problematic to Fury’s Project Insight. But while the basic points of Steve’s character are the same, Whedon changes certain aspects of Captain America’s characterization for both Avengers movies.

Though Whedon did some script work on The First Avenger, there’s a notable change in Steve’s tone from his first solo film to The Avengers, then again from The Winter Soldier to Age of Ultron. Whedon’s characterization of Steve emphasizes the man out of time nature to his character in the Avengers movies. Steve was born in the 1910s, grew up in the 1920s/1930s and went into the ice in the 1940s, then wakes up in 2011. In The Avengers, he wears clothes more reminiscent of the 40s, and calls Natasha Romanoff aka. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) “ma’am” on more than one occasion. To be clear, no other character in the The Avengers refers to a female character as “ma’am,” and Cap only uses the term of respect once in The First Avenger, directed at Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) – in a scene that may have been rewritten by Whedon. In all other instances in The First Avenger, he refers to Peggy by her title, Agent Carter. While it’s a small change in Cap’s character, it gives him more of an old-fashioned tone in The Avengers.

Related: Marvel Movie Timeline: A Complete History Of The MCU

That tone carries into Age of Ultron, particularly in Whedon’s “Language” bit. Despite having lived in the modern era for a few years at that point, Steve warns Tony away from using the word “shit” in the opening sequence of Age of Ultron, and the other characters refuse to let it go, teasing Steve about it throughout the rest of the film. It’s another instance of Whedon using Steve being a man out of time to comedic effect, carrying that theme over from The Avengers, but it doesn’t account for the character growth Steve saw in The Winter Soldier. Essentially, Whedon’s Captain America can be boiled down to two character beats: a man out of time and a hero who believes in “truth, justice and the American way.” But, that’s not who the MCU’s Captain America actually is.

Why Whedon’s Interpretation Of Captain America Is Wrong

Captain America, as introduced in the MCU and developed through his solo movies, is a much more complex character than Whedon’s interpretation. Whedon’s characterization simplifies or outright changes Steve’s core beliefs to deliver punchlines or create tension among the Avengers team, particularly in Steve’s conflict with Tony. Steve is a man that grew up likely as an Irish Catholic (though that’s not confirmed in the MCU) in 30s/40s Brooklyn and went to war, where he spent time fighting Nazis alongside fellow soldiers, but Whedon ignores that background in order to portray Steve as an uptight, god-fearing idealized man from the 40s. Whedon conflates Steve being a “good man from the 40s” with Steve using overly formal language, being religious to the point of refusing to accept the reality of gods like Thor and Loki, and reprimanding Tony about swearing. But that’s an overly simplistic view of Captain America that erases everything about him that makes him so interesting.

This is never more obvious than at the end of Age of Ultron when Steve is giving one of his trademark speeches, and it’s a stark contrast to the one he delivers in The Winter Soldier. In his second solo movie, Cap says, “The price of freedom is high,” and refers gravely to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents potentially giving their lives to win the organization’s freedom from Hydra’s grasp. In Age of Ultron, Cap tries to rally his teammates by saying, in part, “If you get killed, walk it off.” The line is delivered as a punchline, one Whedon no doubt included to bring some levity to the moment, but it flouts Steve’s belief in the preciousness of life. Dying in battle is the highest price someone can pay. Steve Rogers wouldn’t joke about it.

Related: The 5 Movies You Have To Watch To Understand Avengers: Endgame

But therein lies the problem with Whedon’s Captain America: it uses Steve’s beliefs and ideals, and the era from which they come, to deliver punchlines, but to the detriment of the already established character. Whedon tends to write characters with snarky, quippy banter – it’s one of the aspects of his writing that won him a massive fan-following. While that works for certain Avengers characters like Iron Man, Hawkeye and, to an extent, Black Widow, it doesn’t necessarily fit Captain America. Steve isn’t an overly serious character who never cracks a joke, but he’s also not the type to blithely quip about his friends dying – particularly after losing his best friend in battle. Whedon ignores the aspects of Captain America that don’t fit his particular style and tone of writing, rewriting Steve to fit his own sense of humor.

Ultimately, Whedon’s tweaks to the characterization of Steve Rogers have a snowball effect to the point where the character comes off less like a three-dimensional person and more like an idea. Whedon’s Captain America is “truth, justice and the American way” personified when the actual truth of Steve Rogers is more complex. He’s a normal man with a good heart who was chosen to become a superhero because of his ideals – but that doesn’t mean all he is is his ideals. He’s faced loss and hardship, shouldered responsibility others would crumble under, and still stands strong in his beliefs. He’s a good man in a way that isn’t relegated to his original time, but transcends the era in which he was born. In Whedon’s Avengers movies, these aspects of Captain America’s character are fodder for jokes, not the foundation upon which the character is built. It emphasizes a lack of awareness on Whedon’s part about what makes Steve Rogers a superhero and proves he never truly understood Captain America.

Next: Everything We Know About Captain America’s Role In Avengers: Endgame


2019-04-13 11:04:20

Molly Freeman