I have to admit right now that Captain America is my favourite Avenger. Don’t get me wrong, as a feminist Black Widow is a very close second, but Captain America pips her (probably helped by the fact he has his own films) because of one very simple fact: he was chosen to become a hero because Steve Rodgers is a gentleman. Not just a nice guy, but a proper gentlemen, who is determined to do his bit for the war effort despite all of the obstacles standing in his way.
After having to watch the arrogant ‘look at me, look at me’ attitudes of Tony Stark and Thor, watching a story about how a good person is given the chance to change the world was refreshing and enjoyable. This film is about how Steve Rodgers develops and grows into the name Captain America. As origin stories go, this is easily one of the very best I have seen.
The other fabulous character introduced in this film is of course Agent Carter, portrayed by Hayley Atwell. Both her and Captain America have developed into great characters over the years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is only in this film that you get to see them together for any decent length of time, and the chemistry between then is amazing. It is tragic for both characters that they will never spend more time together. (Though Marvel if you are reading this and fancy using the infinity stone that manipulates Time to make this happen, for at least long enough for them to say goodbye properly I’d appreciate it).
The plot of the film also made this film an instant classic for me, purely because the historic setting of World War Two actually managed to make the villain’s plan of world domination not look completely ridiculous, but actually frighteningly accurate of the time. The background of the Second World War makes Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull and his pursuit of the supernatural a very natural storyline. A lot of this is of course helped by the cinematic history of Nazi’s hunting the supernatural in order to win the war, the most famous coming from Indiana Jones.
But that aside, the entire idea of a good guy raising up to defeat evil just works a lot better. Steve Rodgers didn’t need to be taught how to be humble, like Thor and Iron Man; he just needed his big break, and his moment to shine, and he earned it by being the good guy in the first place.