When you think of the most unforgettable scenes of your favorite Marvel movies and I would be willing to bet that most of them have the same thing in common. Let’s face it: Captain America has more exciting fight scenes, quotable dialogue, and astonishing acts of pure heroism in the MCU than most of the Avengers.
Chris Evans’ first time playing a superhero (Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch, in 2004’s Fantastic Four and its sequel) almost left him forever typecast in the role of an insufferable douchebag, until he was given the twice-in-a-lifetime chance to enter an alternate timeline of the Marvel universe. As overly ambitious wannabe soldier turned perfect human specimen Steve Rogers, the actor became the Golden Boy of the comic book movie genre with more than enough moments in his own movies and crossover events alike to prove it.
It appears that Steve Rogers’ story has come to a close following the events of Avengers: Endgame (but more on that later). To commemorate Chris Evans’ defining role, we look back on what I have personally chosen as Captain America’s 10 greatest moments in the MCU, ranked on criteria of honorability, memorability, and pure badassness.
10. Steve Rogers Chases HYDRA Agent (Captain America: The First Avenger)
One of the most pivotal moments of Steve Rogers' superhero evolution occurs immediately after he gets "taller" in Captain America: The First Avenger, chasing down an undercover HYDRA agent who steals the Super Soldier Serum and murders Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Clearly, Rogers is still getting acquainted with his new capabilities during this New York pursuit, literally stumbling into many obstacles, but he gets the hang of it quickly and even runs an impromptu shield test by deflecting a bullet with a freshly ripped-off car door. After all the death-defying excitement and the caught HYDRA agent's death by cyanide, Rogers then begins to take in what he has become, reflecting that his motivation to commit to this heroic act was purely out of heart and not from what "came out of a bottle."
9. “Is This A Test?” (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Of course, we already a get a sense of that heroism, and at a more emotionally deep level, even before his transformation in Captain America: The First Avenger, when Dr. Abraham Erskine plugs Steve Rogers as the ideal Super Soldier for having "qualities beyond the physical." Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) argues that winning wars does not take "niceness," but "guts," before throwing a grenade toward the troops mid-training session, prompting all to scatter to safety but Rogers, using his 90-pound body to cover the blast. The only explosion that does occur, however, is Phillips' mind-blowing discovery that Rogers, just now realizing the grenade was a test, does indeed have the guts that no other soldier has.
8. Captain America Vs. Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War)
As for Captain America's physical strength and stamina, few moments saw him put those impeccable traits to the test more profoundly than his stand-off against Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War. Up to that point in the devastating 2018 film, the only individual who had made any physical effort to single-handedly take on the Mad Titan was Hulk in a brief match that sent him cowering inside Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), but Steve Rogers cowers to nobody and uses everything in his power to hold back this tyrannical control freak and take off the nearly complete Infinity Gauntlet himself. Thanos' look of bewilderment at the sight of this mortal (which, admittedly is an understatement when it comes to Cap) holding his own against him says it all.
7. Highway Fight (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Speaking of bewilderment, that word does not justifiably describe the look on Steve Rogers' face during one of the most shocking twists in an MCU movie (well, unless you followed the comics, that is). In this dazzling action sequence from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (of which there are many), Rogers, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), are pursued by the titular assassin on a busy highway that turns into a struggle to dodge bullets, traffic, and even rockets, one of which Cap attempts to deflect with his shield, launching into a city bus on the street underneath. That becomes the site of this conflict's resolution, when Cap takes off his enemy's mask, revealing him to be his long lost friend, James "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
6. Passing The Shield (Avengers: Endgame)
However, a twist that even the most obsessive Marvel Comics readers could not predict was at the stunning conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, in which Sam Wilson, Bucky, and Bruce Banner expect Steve Rogers to come back from a time jump to return the Infinity Stones having not changed a bit, but instead find him sitting on a park bench, aged more than 70 years and wearing a wedding ring.
Sam expresses his congratulations, but reveals his disappointment to live in a world without Captain America, at which point Rogers assures him he will not have to by giving him his shield. While Falcon becoming Cap is canon, the reason the film provides for his succession serves as a beautiful send-off for Rogers, allowing him the life with Peggy (Hayley Atwell) he deserved.
5. “I Don’t Like Bullies…” (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Eventually earning the life he deserved stemmed from Steve Rogers' answer to one simple question. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Abraham Erskine discovers that the still scrawny military hopeful has had his enlistment rejected five times, prompting the German doctor to ask him if his interest is killing Nazis, to which replies, "I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies. I don't care where they are from." Amid the insurmountable odds he would eventually surpass as an Avenger, this moment sees Rogers at his most relatable and inspirational to the audiences willing to take a stand up against those who step on them.
4. “I Can Do This All Day” (Captain America: Civil War)
An earlier, equally inspiring scene from Captain America: The First Avenger sees Steve Rogers proclaim a willingness to endure a day's worth of abuse from two bullies before Bucky comes to his rescue. That scrappy moment of resistance is paid a most epic tribute in Captain America: Civil War, this time with Rogers coming to Bucky's rescue against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who gives Cap a taste of his own medicine by replicating his hand-to-hand combat style, only to see him to get back up and declare he "can do this all day" before delivering Tony Stark a devastating blow to his armor and their friendship. That is until Avengers: Endgame, of course, which also sees Cap respond timidly to hearing his past self utter the quote in a more hilarious callback.
3. Captain America Lifts Mjolnir (Avengers: Endgame)
However, the undisputed champion MCU movie callback provides closure to one of Avengers: Age of Ultron's lighter scenes in which Steve Rogers comes closest to lifting Mjolnir after a party. This would lead many, including Thor (Chris Hemsworth), to speculate that Cap is truly worthy, and would finally witness proof when he successfully summons the Asgardian weapon during a battle with Thanos at the climax of Avengers: Endgame. Audiences shared a giddy reaction with Thor over confirmation to their theory, but even that does not reach the same level of satisfaction to what occurs soon after.
2. “AVENGERS… Assemble” (Avengers: Endgame)
Our remaining Avengers seem to be on their last leg against Thanos' army at the desperate climax of Avengers: Endgame, until Steve Rogers receives a transmission from Sam Wilson that announces his dusted friends and colleagues were brought back and appear through a mass of portals conjured by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The presence of almost every existing hero in the MCU ready to achieve justice gives Captain America a reason to finally speak the long anticipated words, "AVENGERS... assemble." If there is one moment throughout this entire shared cinematic that is the most earned, this is it, and to have it delivered from Cap makes it one of his greatest honors.
1. Elevator Fight (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
However, when considering the one moment out of the entire MCU that is the most expertly constructed, thoroughly invigorating, and ultimately definitive to the character of Captain America, how could it not be the elevator fight? The famous sequence builds tension at an engrossing pace before the suspicious Steve Rogers' offering to relieve any SHIELD who "want to get out" sets off a ruthless brawl resulting with a pile of unconscious men at Cap's feet before his death-defying escape. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the first time an MCU film was taken seriously as an action movie and Captain America was taken seriously as an action hero, and this scene that thinks outside the box in a claustrophobic setting was the key.
What do you think? Is the elevator fight from Captain America: The Winter Solider also the first thing you picture when you think of Steve Rogers, or is it just his abs? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for more information and updates on the all-American hero’s future, as well as more of our ranked picks for some of the greatest moments from the MCU, here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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