Captain America: a Hero We Can All Root For

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

The Captain America films are a collection of three installments with another on the way in 2024. They are stand-alone movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that focus on introducing a character or concept and serve as a prelude to Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Captain America himself is a symbol of heroism and patriotism, but he also shows that having power doesn’t mean it can change you into someone else. 

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): For me and my family, this movie was a big hit. We are fanatics about war movies, but this is one that will never get old for me. It is also likely the first movie I saw in theaters. This was the second Marvel-released film directly from the source, before the purchase by Disney. Iron Man , the first movie, was a solid 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and would make a lasting impression on moviegoers. Captain America: The First Avenger wasn’t as good as Iron Man, with a rating of just 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It wasn’t bad, just not mind-blowingly amazing. It’s cool to watch at different ages and catch some of the concepts and details we missed when we were younger. There are a lot of references to World War II and what was considered “normal.” It explores concepts like propaganda versus reality, the propaganda the government was selling to promote the war compared with the undeniable reality the soldiers were facing on the battlefield. It looks at death coming unexpectedly in places away from the battlefield, as well as the concept of a good thing having an unexpected end and the idea of sacrifice. It also features the first onscreen appearance of an Infinity Stone known as the Tesseract.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): This, too, was a movie I was too young to understand the concepts of when it first premiered. This movie did significantly better than the first Captain America as Marvel brought in characters from the original as well as the Avengers series. It explores concepts like corrupt officials in government positions or organizations and the idea that one person’s conspiracy about the people they are working for changes everything. It also dives into, uh, brainwashing . . . just straight up brainwashing. This movie has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and marks the midway point of the MCU’s Phase 2 of their movie lineup.

Captain America: Civil War (2016): Captain America: Civil War picks up almost where we left off in the Avengers film and marks the beginning of Phase 3. I couldn’t find anything about themes in this movie without giving spoilers. So if you were sick of me rambling about themes and concepts, then thank this movie. This one is a mix of excitement and heartbreak and it’s hard to feel serious, excited, and sad all at once. This movie has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, a tie with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With a lot of conflicting emotions in this movie, the plot  of it defined the other movies in the MCU moving forward.

Captain America: New World Order (2024): This is an upcoming movie with Captain America as the star, of course. The release date is May 3, 2024 and there’s little info yet about the plot. The director is Julius Onah, a Nigerian-filmmaker and occasional actor who directed The Cloverfield Paradox.

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