Captain America’s time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to an end. Whether that means Steve Rogers is going to die at the hands of Thanos or ride off into the sunset, we do not know. What we do know is that audiences only have one more movie to see Marvel’s most virtuous superhero save the world.
Shortly after Cap was introduced, Tony Stark described him as a living legend. He is, after all, the first Avenger, and the hero other heroes look up to. In a world where the politics are messy and people are at war, Cap is the guy you want fighting on your side.
It’s no accident Cap is one of the few heroes left following Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War. If anyone can muster the strength to rescue half the universe, it’s him.
With his exit from the MCU imminent, we wanted to take a look back at his most heroic moments, whether it be fighting an elevator full of bad guys or nearly lifting Thor’s hammer.
Becoming a hero
Before Steve Rogers looked the part of Captain America, he was just a scrappy kid from Brooklyn. But thanks to his can-do attitude and drive to do the right thing, he was picked for a super soldier initiative.
As the experiment gets underway, it looks as though Rogers’ frail physique is going to succumb to the treatment’s demands. But Rogers refuses to give up, and once the experiment is over, he comes out looking taller and more muscular.
Any doofus with half a brain could’ve underwent the procedure. But it was Rogers’ heroic personality that made him Captain America, even before becoming a super soldier.
Even though he was scrawny and physically inferior to other super soldier candidates, Steve Rogers possessed something the others lacked: heart.
During a routine drill during training camp, Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) throws a dummy grenade into a crowd. While everyone runs away in fear, Rogers jumps onto the grenade in an attempt to protect those around him.
It was a brave and selfless act, one that once and for all proved that Rogers was destined for greatness.
Making a sacrifice
Toward the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Rogers leads an assault on the Red Skull, who intends on using weapons of mass destruction on major U.S. cities. To stop him, Rogers climbs aboard an aircraft carrying these weapons, and after defeating him, realizes that the only way to ensure everyone’s safety is to crash the aircraft into the Arctic. It’s another moment in a long list of many in which Rogers puts his life before others—an act that causes him to miss an important date with Peggy Carter.
When Rogers comes to 70 years later, Nick Fury tells him about what happened to the Tesseract and how the world has gotten a lot stranger since Rogers fell into a coma. Rogers responds by saying not much would surprise him considering what’s happened, to which Fury bets him $10 he’s wrong.
We have to wait until The Avengers for this joke to pay off, but as the team is in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Rogers reluctantly hands Fury $10, admitting that some things can still surprise him.
Tony Stark thinks he’s in charge of the Avengers when New York is invaded by Loki, but it’s really Steve Rogers who’s the boss. What makes him a great leader is that he doesn’t let his emotions inform his decisions and he doesn’t want the glory for himself—characteristics that exemplify Stark.
There’s a particularly great moment in front of Union Station when Rogers is leading the team just as the invasion is getting worse. Rogers confidently instructs the team what to do—Hawkeye is up top, Stark has perimeter, etc.—finalizing his speech by telling Hulk to smash.
It’s a scene that shows exactly why Rogers is such a good leader.
When Rogers refuses to give Alexander Pierce crucial information for Project Insight, he’s branded a fugitive. That’s when perhaps the best fight scene in all of the MCU takes place.
While leaving the Triskelion, Rogers is ambushed in an elevator, taking down a number of agents in a frenetic scrum, including Brock Rumlow. Even before Rogers takes down an elevator full of baddies, he offers to let people off.
“Before we get started, does anyone wanna get out?”
The scene is capped off with Rogers jumping several floors out of the elevator straight onto concrete, before taking down a plane with his trusty shield.
Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t all bad. During a fun party scene, the team drunkenly egg each other on to do dumb stuff. One such thing is to try and lift Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, which can only be done by someone who is deemed worthy. While the majority of the Avengers never get close to budging Mjolnir, Rogers causes it to move ever-so-slightly. The expression on Thor’s face for that brief moment is priceless.
Arm wrestling a helicopter
If I tried stopping a helicopter from taking off, my frail arms would immediately be pulled from my body. Steve Rogers makes it look easy.
When Bucky tries to escape in Captain America: Civil War, Rogers goes in hot pursuit, grabbing the helicopter’s landing gear while holding onto the side of the building’s landing pad. As the camera focuses on his bulging biceps, we’re reminded that Cap isn’t just heroic, but otherworldly strong. Where’s my super serum?
Emerging from the shadows—with a beard!
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Cap is forced to go underground, once again considered a fugitive by the U.S. government. It isn’t until Avengers: Infinity War that he emerges—and with a killer beard!
In a career of iconic moments, seeing Cap emerge at the subway station, and then nonchalantly catch Proxima Midnight’s weapon, is among the best. Although he didn’t feature much in Infinity War, he made one hell of an entrance.
“I can do this all day.”
Even when he knew he was outmatched, Steve Rogers never backed down—even if that meant getting his ass kicked. He stood up to a bully in Captain America: The First Avenger, and again to Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War. Both times, bloodied and to the point of exhaustion, he refused to give up, saying, “I can do this all day.” It perfectly encapsulates Steve’s unbreakable spirit and again proves he’s the hero the MCU deserves.