I’m somewhat of a Marvel fan. Admittedly I’ve never actually read a Marvel comic or graphic novel, but that shouldn’t stop me from having an opinion. After all, Jeremy Hunt doesn’t let a complete and utter lack of experience in healthcare hold him back from telling doctors how to work.
What this does mean is that for the most part, my only real knowledge of Marvel is what I’ve picked up from films, computer games and what I can remember from 90’s TV shows. So what follows is entirely based on those.
When a Captain America film was first announced, my response was an awkward shudder. Oh God, that’s JUST what Marvel need, a pretty boy running around in red, white and blue punching bad guys with the awesome power of jingoism.
I went to see it (I place being a nerd far above fear of being a hypocrite), and was genuinely surprised when I enjoyed it. No, more than that. I loved it.
Most super hero origins revolve around a protagonist with great powers having to find their heroism. Iron Man is an arms dealer who sees the damage his weapons do and vows to do better. Thor is a god who loses his power until he becomes worthy. Spider-man uses his power to win money, before realising he has the responsibility to do more with it. The X-Men need to convince Wolverine to care about helping people and join the team. It’s the same basic mixture, it’s just the decorations that vary.
Captain America was different. Here we have a scrawny little kid who won’t let that hold him back from trying to do some good. He knows his contribution might not be much, but he’ll do anything he can to make it, from lying to enlist, to throwing himself onto a grenade to save his squad.
Captain America wasn’t super-powered and needed to find his heroism. He was a hero looking to find his super-power.
But when he gets those powers he doesn’t become a superhero overnight. He’s still that small kid with self-esteem issues. He gets roped into being a morale-boosting performer, thinking it’s really the best he can be doing and the most difference he can make. It takes time, and help from friends, for him to realise that he can actually be so much more. And that really struck a chord with me.
Admittedly you don’t have to be Freud to work out the psychology of me liking the story of a scrawny kid with low confidence becoming a superhero overnight and actually mattering. But we’re all in that position. We might not have super powers, but there’s so much good we can do to change the world in our own small way. We don’t need guys in suits flying around acting like heroes. We need more of us to simply say “I don’t like bullies” and do whatever we can to stand up to them.
That’s why, going in to Civil War, I’m definitely Team Cap.