The MCU, or Marvel Cinematic Universe, was launched with the adventures of its main heroes, including the high-tech Iron Man and the brave Captain America. In 2011, Steve Rogers donned the mantle of Captain America in Captain America: The First Avengeropposing him to the villainous Red Skull during World War II.
Captain America is back for 2012 The Avengers, but he wasn’t done with his solo films yet. He also starred in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil war. Luckily for Cap fans, the Captain America movie trilogy has rapidly improved in many ways over the years. How did Steve Rogers, the Brooklyn Man with a Shield, improve his story during these MCU episodes?
ten Captain America costume has been upgraded
A variety of MCU hero costumes have changed over time, usually for the better. For example, Iron Man kept building new suits and Spider-Man got his hands on newer and more advanced suits over time, thanks to Tony Stark. Captain America also upgraded his superhero wardrobe during his films.
At first, Captain America’s outfit looked pretty cheap, especially since it started out as an actual theatrical costume and not a combat suit. During the years 2014 Captain America: The Winter SoldierSteve’s outfit was much more appropriate for the fight, and it just looked cooler too.
9 Captain America’s humor has been sharpened somewhat
The MCU is known for its endless one-liners and jokes, especially from Tony Stark and the mischievous Star-Lord – though most of the characters have a good sense of humor. Steve Rogers cracked a few jokes in his first movie, but he wasn’t a comedian. In fact, he was downright clumsy.
Steve was a straight, serious man at the time, and his best joke involved misunderstanding what fondue is, which isn’t exactly hysterical. Later in his trilogy, he became more confident with his sense of humor, or lack thereof. He wasn’t trying to be funny just for fun, and that was an improvement.
8 Bucky Barnes just got a whole lot cooler
First Captain America movie, James Buchanan Barnes was Steve’s Army buddy, a lovely guy who supported his friend any way he could. There wasn’t much to say about him in the first film other than his apparent death after falling off a train.
Bucky came back in The Winter Soldier as the namesake villain, a terrifying assassin with a metal arm and some serious skills. He was now a superagent for the USSR, and he had become Steve’s number one enemy. It was a tragic, yet thrilling turn of events that definitely enhanced Cap’s movie trilogy.
seven Captain America’s relationship with Bucky just got more compelling
Not only did Bucky Barnes become a more compelling character, his relationship with Steve Rogers became more meaningful and impactful in the movies, especially as Bucky blurred the line between friend and foe. However, Steve refused to give up on his dear friend.
Soon, the Steve Bucky ship became a fan favorite, and it added some much-needed emotional depth to the trilogy. This friendship is what created the rift between Captain America and Iron Man in 2016 Captain America: Civil War. It’s all about Bucky now.
6 Captain America’s combat skills have been improved
Captain America has always been a competent fighter during his time in the MCU, from his tenure with the Howling Commandos in 1940s Europe, to his battles against HYDRA in the 2010s, and even against his fellow Avengers in Civil war – he was getting better and better.
At first, Cap’s fighting style was really just an excuse to show off his shield, but the movie trilogy quickly corrected that. Captain America had some truly spectacular fights and gunfights with his many foes in the next two movies, transforming him from a star-studded gimmick to an engrossing action hero.
5 The tone of the movies has also improved
The MCU is known for its balance of humor and drama, from Star-Lord challenging Ronan the Accuser to a dance, to scenes of tragedy and heartbreak, and everything in between. All three Captain America movies have improved a bit over time and leveled off.
The first film felt a bit self-conscious about what it was doing, leading to a vaguely goofy tone throughout. Then, The Winter Soldier had a tougher, more confident tone as a slick action movie, and that made it a lot more likable than The First Avenger. It is the same for Civil war.
4 Film policy has improved
The first Captain America movie largely eschewed politics, opting for the classic but simple premise of defeating Nazi Germany and heroically vanquishing evil. Even for the MCU, it’s a bit too much like a comic book, but the next two films had much more relevant and thoughtful storylines and commentary on modern events.
The Winter Soldier explored meaningful and intriguing political themes of security versus freedom, and Captain America knew whose side he was on, even if it meant disagreeing with Nick Fury. Then, Civil war pondered the theme of how much power is too much power, almost making the Avengers an analogy to nuclear weapons.
3 Movies increasingly included MCU characters
Gradually, the MCU added more heroes and villains to its roster, and the Captain America movie trilogy benefited greatly from this trend, even more so than the Iron Man trilogy. The First Avenger was like a standalone movie with a limited cast to match, and that quickly changed for the better.
The Winter Soldier added Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Crossbones, and superagent Natasha Romanoff to the Captain America trilogy, which helped Cap feel more relevant. And of course, Civil war was like The Avengers 2.5, full of cool characters. Only Thor and Hulk were absent.
2 Nick Fury played a bigger role
The Captain America trilogy was greatly improved when more characters were added, and the biggest addition was Nick Fury, SHIELD director Nick Fury has surprisingly strong chemistry with Steve Rogers, as they are both serious men with somewhat different attitudes about state security.
Nick will use any means to protect the United States and the world from outside threats, while Captain America is much more cautious and skeptical of great power, even if that power is meant to protect people. This put them at odds in The Winter Soldier in a stimulating way.
1 Steve’s relationship with Peggy Carter deepened
Many comic superheroes have a lover, from Lois Lane to Pepper Potts and Steve Trevor. In The First Avenger, sparks flew between Steve Rogers and the beautiful and talented agent Peggy Carter. However, they didn’t do much more than share a kiss in this film.
Later in The Winter Soldier, Steve and Peggy shared a heartfelt scene when an elderly Peggy finally reunited with her World War II lover, who has seemingly never aged a day since then. Then in Civil war, Peggy died in her sleep. Steve was heartbroken. It’s all great personal drama to help further develop Steve’s character.
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