Road to Avengers Endgame: Chris Evans’ Captain America is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s backbone; a recap of his journey
Ahead of Avengers: Endgame, let’s revisit Chris Evans’ journey as Captain America — from being a timid scrapper to the leader of the Avengers.Updated: Apr 15, 2019 08:39 IST
Steve Rogers has gone from starring in one of the lowest grossing Marvel movies, to becoming the backbone of the Avengers, and the only character who can go toe-to-toe with Tony Stark — in terms of popularity and adoration.
Ahead of Avengers: Endgame, which might possibly be Chris Evans’ final time playing the character and is said to feature the original six Avengers in prominent roles, let’s take a look at his journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Evans turned down the offer to play the part three times before he agreed. “I think Marvel is doing a lot of good things right now, and it’s a fun character. ... I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He’s a great guy. Even if it [were] just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it. So it wasn’t necessarily about the comic itself,” he’d said in an interview in 2010. Others and considered for the role were Ryan Phillippe and John Krasinski.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Steve’s Marvel journey began as a frail kid from Brooklyn, who wanted nothing more than to fight for his country. He is chosen by Dr Abraham Erskine to be a guinea pig of sorts for an experiment. Steve is injected with the Super Soldier Serum, which gives him superhuman strength and makes him near invincible. Although at his core, Steve remains the purehearted scrapper that he is.
Evans said in a 2011 interview, “He would crush the Olympics. Any Olympic sport he’s gonna dominate. He can jump higher, run faster, lift stronger weight, but he can be injured. He could roll an ankle and be out for the season. He’s not perfect, he’s not untouchable. So a lot of the effects, if I’m going to punch someone they’re not going to put them on a cable and fly them back 50 feet, but he’s going to go down, probably not getting back up, which I think humanizes it. It makes it something that, again, I think everyone can relate to a little bit more, which I really like.”
Steve came into his own in the Avengers, for the first time displaying his natural leadership skills in a modern setting. The film also was the first time the difference in his and Tony’s personalities was played up. This would be explored in more depth in later films. A key scene in the film, in which Tony defers to Steve’s leadership during the Battle of New York, also serves as a pivotal moment in his story.
Evans spoke about Steve’s evolution in a 2011 interview to Entertainment Weekly. He said, “It’s just about him trying to come to terms with the modern world. You’ve got to imagine, it’s enough of a shock to accept the fact that you’re in a completely different time, but everybody you know is dead. Everybody you cared about. . . He was a soldier, obviously, everybody he went to battle with, all of his brothers in arms, they’re all dead. He’s just lonely. I think in the beginning it’s a fish-out-of-water scene, and it’s tough. It’s a tough pill for him to swallow. Then comes trying to find a balance with the modern world.”
Captain America: The Winter Solider
Set two years after the events of the Avengers, the film finds Steve working for SHIELD, along with Falcon and Natasha Romanoff. The Winter Soldier continues the complicated character arc between Steve and his best friend, Bucky Barnes, and serves as an origin story for Bucky’s villainous alter ego, the Winter Soldier.
Evans said in a 2013 interview about making the transition to the modern world, “It’s not so much about his shock with (technology)... It’s more about the societal differences. He’s gone from the ‘40s to today; he comes from a world where people were a little more trusting, the threats not as deep. Now, it’s harder to tell who’s right and wrong. Actions you take to protect people from threats could compromise liberties and privacy. That’s tough for Steve to swallow.”
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Steve is now the leader of the Avengers, and their moral compass. Speaking to BuzzFeed in 2014, Evans said that after the fall of SHIELD in the Winter Soldier, Steve has had to rely more on his Avengers friends than on the regulated rigours of military life. He is “looking to understand where he belongs, not just as a soldier, as Captain America, but as Steve Rogers, as a person.”
Captain America: Civil War
In Captain America: Civil War, Steve is the leader of the faction of Avengers who are against regulation, and Tony’s side, who are for government oversight into the activities of the Avengers. Director Anthony Russo described Steve’s arc in the film as “taking him from the most ra-ra company man” to someone who is “a somewhat willing propagandist” to “an insurgent” at the end of the film. Evans reportedly earned a massive $15 million paycheque for the film.
Regarding his antagonistic relationship to Tony, Evans had said in an interview, “I think there’s certainly a dichotomy—this kind of friction between myself and Tony Stark, they’re polar opposites. One guy is flash and spotlight and smooth, and the other guy is selfless and in the shadows and kind of quiet and they have to get along. They explore that, and it’s pretty fun.”
Avengers: Infinity War
After being sent into hiding at the end of Civil War, Steve makes a grand return in Infinity War when he intervenes in a fight between Scarlet Witch, Vision and Thanos’ minions. His arc in the film leads him and a group of Avengers to Wakanda, where they hold off Thanos’ army while Shuri attempts to extract the Mind Stone from Vision’s head.
Evans told SlashFilm in an interview, “I think (Steve’s) still a leader at heart. I just don’t know if he necessarily has the same chain of command that he had in prior films.”
A tweet by Evans, in which he bid farewell to Captain America, was taken by fans as an indication that the character wouldn’t appear in future Marvel films. Evans’ contract runs out after Endgame, and he said in an interview to the Hollywood Reporter, “You want to get off the train before they push you off.”
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