Captain America

I ran across this blog post that wanted to discuss Captain America. It was a defense of him, countering accusations that he’s somehow “cliche.”

Captain America embodies the spirit of Spidey’s catchphrase. “With great power comes great responsibility.” He was a weakling, physically impotent, and the object of much derision and abuse. Receiving the super soldier serum, he became more than a man. He became a symbol of America’s ideals. Our own version of Noblesse Oblige. It is the job of the powerful to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Cap sat out Vietnam. Did you know that? Didn’t approve of the war.

In the movies he’s clearly not thrilled about some of our recent military decisions. They fly in the face of his beliefs. America is supposed to lead by example, not by force. Not to be a bully. He loves his country, but not in a jingoistic, nationalist way. It is not beyond him to criticize it for its missteps and misdeeds.

Though Cap represents home-spun values in some respects, it is this instinct to defend that is the most important aspect of him. I don’t think it makes him 1 dimensional. If he was some kind of nationalist nut, maybe. But a man who has moral conflicts about what has been his life’s work, and the uses he and other soldiers are put to, is not a man of a single dimension.