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SPOILER WARNING : So you’re scouring the internet for Avengers: Endgame content…. Here’s a friendly reminder that reading spoilers without witnessing the movie in all its glory will just ruin it for yourself. Only read on if you have contributed to the record-breaking box office haul for the Infinity Saga conclusion.
Thankfully, Cap was in the best hands possible. The Russo Brothers started their partnership with Marvel with 2014’s Captain America: Winter Soldier (a highly-regarded fan favorite), they kept it going with Civil War in 2016 before moving on to closing out the Infinity Saga with Infinity War and Endgame.
The Russos’ had a lot of ground to cover with Endgame besides the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan, but the movie still managed to conclude the character’s arc in an incredibly satisfying way. Chris Evans was given the space to offer up his best and most well-rounded performance as the hero to date that shows off his position as one of the most deliberate superhero stories ever told on screen.
While his standalone trilogy was certainly impressive, Endgame elevates Captain America higher and caps (no pun intended) off his narrative in a way we won’t soon forget. Here’s why:
His “Giddy“ Optimism Pays Off
The downfall of a character like Captain America (and his DC brethren, Superman) is his sky high idealism and belief in the greater good. It’s a characteristic of comic book publishers’ earliest iterations and for a reason: to bring hope and escapism to readers in hard times.
While we certainly like a good dose of escapism today, it’s more difficult for us to believe in a hero like Cap, and Tony Stark’s relationship with him throughout the franchise is the perfect example of this. He’s always questioning his decisions and words of confidence.
In Endgame, Tony hits Steve with this head on in the beginning of the film, cursing his optimism since they have now lost. But there ends up being something insightful in Cap’s good intentions to “keep on keepin’ on” that shine brightly in this movie most of all. He is the rock of the squad who believes in Ant-Man’s idea, then recruits Tony and the rest of the team, yes with Black Widow at his side, but without him everyone (even her) was starting to give up.
Cap even starts to give up a bit himself, but he never lets this stop him. Where some of the other Cap films have wavered on the “why,” Endgame shows that the character’s belief in it all turning out okay really can be a strength, making it the ultimate film for the hero.
He’s Got America’s Ass
Okay so if you were looking for analysis of Cap’s booty, this isn’t it, but it is regarding the whole-ass scene that starts with this now iconic line. There’s nothing we love more seeing some clever character development, and Endgame juggles this with many of the core Avengers.
For Cap though, the parallel between who he was and who he has become between 2012’s Avengers and his last hurrah is shown much more literally. When he travels back to the New York battle to retrieve the Tesseract, he runs into himself and straight up takes him down in the best way possible. When younger Cap says “I can do this all day,” the older Cap scoffs at the line hilariously.
Not to mention that the moment in the elevator with some of those Hydra double agents serves as a fun callback to the iconic elevator fight scene in Winter Soldier. When the hero mutters “Hail, Hydra” to deceive them instead of using his energy to battle them all, it shows Cap is capable of being quippy and a really fun character at the end of the day.
While Chris Evans has a lot of seriousness to pull during the franchise, Endgame really brings together the hero’s charm. The fact that all these references pack a huge punch in just a few short minutes shows the character was never the butt of the MCU, but is a real MVP.
He Assembles The Full Team… And The Mjolnir
Then comes the moment when Captain America must face Thanos again, as the past version of the Mad Titan has found out the location of the gauntlet and seeks to become “inevitable.” It was already an exciting showdown between Thanos, Cap, Iron Man and Thor, but then Cap says these words: “Avengers Assemble.”
It’s a scene that looks to be the end of Cap as he stands alone in front of Thanos, but Rogers isn’t a “I can do this alone” kind of guy. He knows a battle is best won together, and when all the unsnapped Avengers enter the battle it’s a glorious moment unlike any other.
In a geekfest full of incredible moments such as that “girl power” shot, one of Cap's certainly steals the show as well. Right before all the unsnapped heroes show up, he gets Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. The whole theater absolutely skips a heartbeat when this happens, and when he wields it and switches off the weapon with Thor, its big screen GOLD.
There was a bit of foreshadowing of this in Age of Ultron when he moves Mjolnir a bit, but Endgame hails Captain America as just about the most powerful original Avenger as he becomes worthy of the weapon of a god. The scene is payoff for the character in the best way because he’s always been trying to do the right thing and be a “worthy” hero… now he absolutely is.
He Makes That Date
Captain America’s story starts on an emotional high note when he must force down a plane in the ‘40s and leave behind Peggy Carter before their budding romance can really start to blossom. It’s the ultimate sacrifice for the hero that he grapples with throughout his MCU journey. He is constantly going back to the life he left behind and he has dealt with it in all of his films.
While we speculated Peggy may play a role in Endgame, her involvement in the MCU ends up giving audiences a happy ending that gives all of those emotional moments meaning and depth. After saving the world and helping bring together the Avengers, Cap goes back in time and lives the life he’s always dreamed of.
Then he remembers another one, the exact moment when Hulk, Bucky and Falcon beamed him back in time to tell them that it worked. He returned the Infinity Stones to their rightful place and took a permanent trip down memory lane to retire.
Cap then has one last thing to do: pass off the legacy of his shield to someone: either Bucky or Sam Wilson. While his love for Bucky throughout the franchise could have swayed him that way, Falcon is the clear successor and is the perfect way to end his story, even if Anthony Mackie never actually suits up as Captain America (we'll have to wait and see).
Without Avengers: Endgame, Captain America’s story just wouldn’t just be as impactful emotionally and cinematically as this movie made it. Not only is it the perfect send off for the character but his best movie to date.