Captain America is one of the most heroic characters to ever be brought to the big screen but, like all great heroes, he does have flaws. What flaws you may ask? Well, there aren’t many, but his dogmatic view of the world can clash with others, leaving people feeling like he’s a bit of a stuck-up pretty boy.
Captain America: Civil War was the first time his views came into direct conflict with his fellow Avengers and it led to him becoming a fugitive/Secret Avenger. It was during this time that he became more hardened and unwilling to play by the rules but when the world needed him he didn’t waste time returning to the forefront to save the day. Unfortunately, his fracturing of The Avengers in Civil War led The Avengers to get defeated by Thanos, hence the Infinity Snap.
His redemptive arc in Endgame isn’t as blatant as Black Widow or Nebula’s but there’s still a common thread between most of these heroes that once again reiterates the brilliance behind the writing of Avengers: Endgame. So, on that note, let’s get to Captain America’s section of this series. Enjoy!
To fully understand Captain America’s storyline in Avengers: Endgame we have to go back to this very moment in Infinity War. Thanos has just committed the Infinity Snap, half of all life had turned to dust, and The Avengers had failed.
For the first time in Captain America’s years, he had been defeated. The catastrophe that he had prevented in 1945 still happened, but WAY worse. Knowing that they lost and that there was nothing they could do about it was the single hardest moment of his life.
Helping a Friend
The first step of his redemptive story arc was his reunion with Tony Stark. Remember, the last time they had seen each other they had been beating each other bloody. After the devastating aftereffects of Thanos’s maniacal mission, he could only feel profound relief in seeing that his friend had survived.
“Let’s Go Get That Son of a B****”
Captain America doesn’t often get angry. Yeah, he fights evil to save innocent lives and yes he has no tolerance for villains but Thanos truly got under Captain America’s skin. The anger emanating from Captain America at this moment as he prepares to lead the able, surviving Avengers to kick Thanos’s you-know-what is truly glorious and yet another step in his evolution as the new and improved Captain America.
Despite trying to move on in the dating scene Steve Rogers could never forget his first and true love, Peggy Carter. Knowing that in this upcoming duel with Thanos he may not survive (considering how tough their last encounter against Thanos was) he wanted to remind himself of what he was fighting for. This is, in actuality, his true redemption story.
A Seminar for Recovery
Digging into his deceased friend’s (Sam Wilson) page book Steve Rogers ran a recovery program where he helped people recuperate from the apocalyptic events of the Infinity Snap. What’s so heartbreaking about this scene is that this isn’t happening a month or two after Infinity War. It’s FIVE YEARS LATER and still, the devastation is palpable, the heartbreak is fresh, and Steve Rogers has not moved on in the slightest. But how could he? His mission in life was to protect people and serve his country. And all of that was taken away in the blink of an eye, leaving him dead in the water. There’s something he says at this moment that’s so profound for his character at this point in his story. Here it is.
“The world is in our hands. It’s left to us, guys. And we gotta do something with it. Otherwise…Thanos should’ve killed all of us.”
It’s this moment that you realize how depressed Steve Rogers truly is. He’s going on day by day wishing that he could’ve been turned to dust like the rest of Thanos’s unfortunate victims, for with each passing day the weight of his failure never dwindles.
Reclaiming His Shield
Even though Steve Rogers and Tony Stark had already established neutrality between themselves their closeness still hadn’t been rekindled until this moment. And, as a peace offering, Tony returned Steve’s shield to him. It was Steve’s official return to being Captain America and another step in his redemptive storyline.
Steve Rogers Sees Peggy Carter
Steve Roger’s storyline throughout the MCU has obviously been deeply affected by the incredible sacrifice he makes in 1945 and waking up in the next century only to learn that everything he loved was gone. But what affected him most was losing Peggy. Even though he found purpose in joining S.H.I.E.L.D/The Avengers and saving lives there would always be this emptiness that he could never reclaim. Or at least, he thought he couldn’t until Endgame.
During the Time Heist, he and Tony Stark have to go back to the 1970s’ to obtain the Tesseract and the Pym Particles necessary for their way back. During this venture of theirs, Steve Rogers ends up in a random office that just so happens to be Peggy’s office. And, by a stroke of luck, Peggy’s there, busy as always, but she’s there, in the flesh before his very eyes.
Once again, he’s reminded of what he lost and that no matter the outcome of their mission to bring everyone back to life, he would still have to live a life without her. It was at this crucial moment in his story that at the end of this mission he would find a way to reclaim the life that had been robbed of him and maybe finally get that dance.
He’s So Worthy!
You see, last time Captain America tried to lift Mjolnir (in Avengers: Age of Ultron) he hadn’t been worthy because he hadn’t faced the events of Captain America: Civil War or the devastating tragedy left behind by Thanos in Infinity War. By Endgame he is a completely different hero than he was in 2015. He has learned that he does have flaws and faced up to them in an honorable way. That’s what makes him such a perfect hero.
Him wielding Mjolnir brings his heroism full circle and it’s truly his greatest Captain America moment. (I love this part so much!!!!)
A Perfect Ending
Okay, let me gather my emotions because just looking at this picture is getting me teary. Okay, here goes.
As I established earlier, Steve Rogers’ greatest loss was a personal one; losing Peggy Carter. Not only was he heartbroken but Peggy was as well, for she had lost the man that she loved. When Captain America realized he could help save the galaxy and reclaim the life he lost with Peggy he didn’t waste time doing it.
He passed his mantle as Captain America to the man he believed would uphold the image with flying (no pun intended) colors, his good friend Sam Wilson and according to, Steve Rogers, the life he led as civilian Steve Rogers was “beautiful.”
Okay, now I’m going to go over into a corner and cry now. 😭
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.