Chris Evans first set the world of Marvel on fire as daredevil Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 2005’s Fantastic Four and the 2007 sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer.
But it was the role of Steve Rogers that really helped Evans stepped up his “A” game: the “A” that is Captain America. Released in July 2011, Captain America: The First Avenger was directed by Joe Johnston, who also directed the 1991 film The Rocketeer. Like The Rocketeer, Captain America: The First Avenger is a period superhero piece. Set in World War II, it followed Steve Rogers, the kid from Brooklyn who doesn’t like bullies deciding to become the world’s first super-soldier. As Captain America, he becomes the shield against the forces of the evil HYDRA led by the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).
Critics and audiences saluted Captain America: The First Avenger, the penultimate to Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU): setting up the global assembly of The Avengers a year later. Co-starring Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter and Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones, Captain America: The First Avenger went on to gross $370 million worldwide: spawning 2014’s The Winter Soldier and 2016’s Civil War, both of which became equally successful. The film also led to Atwell reprising her role as Agent Carter for two seasons (2015-16) on ABC, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson forming an unlikely partnership with Stan’s character.
Unlike the Red Skull, what makes Steve Rogers special as Captain America is that he is a good man with a good heart: valuing compassion as a strength, not as a weakness.
After 80 years, Captain America can still do this all day.