Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. This month I’m hyped for Avengers: Infinity War, so I’m showcasing MCU baes all April. Finishing off our Infinity baes is none other than Steve Rogers.
Who is Steve Rogers?
Steve Rogers is better known as Captain America. He is a founding member of the Avengers — also known as the first Avenger — and a real hero. Steve wasn’t always Captain America, though. Initially, he was just a scrawny kid from Brooklyn with a lot of heart.
Captain America: The First Avenger first introduced us to Steve. He’s different from the other Avengers in that he is not from our time. Steve was born at the tail end of World War I in Brooklyn. His father died in combat; his mother was a nurse. Growing up, Steve didn’t have much. He didn’t even have his health — he was a sickly mess.
But Steve did have one thing. He had James “Bucky” Buchanan Barnes, his best friend. They were inseparable. And… he also had a lot of righteous fury and aggression. Steve always stood up for the little guy — even when he was the little guy. All he wanted to do was to make the world a better place.
So, when World War II broke out, Steve wanted nothing more than to fight. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and save the world. The Army had other ideas. Steve was rejected time and time again for his health issues. When Bucky is drafted, Steve tries again to get in. This time, he attracts the attention of Abraham Erskine, a scientist.
Erskine works for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, which seeks to make better weaponry. He is the head of Project Rebirth, an initiative to create the perfect soldier. Erskine invented a serum that augmented a person physically. He wanted to ensure they chose the right person to augment and saw a hero in tiny Steve Rogers. He chooses Steve for the project.
Steve faces some pushback from Project Rebirth’s military head, Colonel Phillips, who is unimpressed with the tiny soldier in front of him. But Steve manages to impress with his courage, intelligence, and discipline. Steve also catches the attention of SSR Agent Peggy Carter, who is assisting with Project Rebirth.
After undergoing the augmentation process, Steve emerges built like a Greek god. Sadly, Erskine is then assassinated and Steve is labeled and experiment. He is held back from fighting. He eventually rebels when he learns that Bucky’s battalion has been captured, and goes AWOL to save his friend (with Peggy’s help).
Steve is successful in his rescue. Phillips decides Steve can have more responsibilities, and he forms the Howling Commandos to stop Hydra, the Nazi science division. They work hard and successfully slow down Hydra, but Bucky is lost on a mission. Steve turns to vengeance and decides to stop Hydra once and for all.
In the end, Steve is successful — but at a cost. He is forced to crash a warplane with himself on it to save New York City from Hydra weapons. He lands in the Arctic, surviving due to the ice surrounding him. When he awakes, 70 years have passed and the world is a different place. He has lost the world he knew — and everyone he loved.
But Steve Rogers is still a hero. He joins SHIELD’s — the follow-up to the SSR — Avengers Initiative when aliens invade the planet. He works with Tony Stark, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton to form the Avengers. They successfully push back the invading force. Steve Rogers, no matter where or when he is, will always be there to save the day.
After The Avengers, Steve continues to work with SHIELD and Natasha. However, loyalties are questioned and faith is shaken in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Steve and Natasha discover that SHIELD has been infiltrated by Hydra. Worse, Hydra has brainwashed Bucky into being their weapon.
Steve refuses to fight his friend — but still manages to save the day. Working with Natasha and new friend Sam Wilson, they foil Hydra’s evil plan and dismantle SHIELD. Steve also manages to break through Bucky’s Hydra programming and reach his friend again. At the end of the film, however, Bucky has fled and Steve searches for him.
Avengers: Age of Ultron sees Steve reuniting with the Avengers to mop up the Hydra mess. He clashes with Tony over leadership issues and differences in philosophy. When push comes to shove, though, they work together to save the world, because that’s what they do best. The fault lines that form in Ultron have lasting ramifications, though.
In Captain America: Civil War, these tensions boil over. Bucky is framed for a terrorist attack, and Steve defends him. At the same time, they are facing government interference that limits the Avengers’ ability to take action. Bucky comes first for Steve, though. He puts it all on the line to protect his best friend.
The tipping point comes when Helmut Zemo reveals that Bucky was the one who killed Tony’s parents. Tony, already on edge with Steve, snaps. A fierce battle ensues, and there are no winners in a fight like this. Steve walks away with Bucky, who goes into cryofreeze in an attempt to fix his Hydra programming. Steve stops being Captain America — but he never stops being a hero.
Infinity War will test Steve like nothing else. It remains to be seen if he walks away.
Why is Steve Rogers Bae?
Do you have eyes? Have you ever been blessed to look upon Chris Evans? Boy is fiiiiiine. The All-American aesthetic really works for Evans. He is a pleasure to look at — but he’s not just eye candy, I promise you that.
Chris Evans honestly makes you wonder if Project Rebirth is real because there’s no way such a superior specimen of manhood just happened naturally. We’re on to you, Evans. You’re just too good — and I’m not just talking about the pretty face.
Truth, Justice, and the Captain American Way
At times, Steve’s dedication to “truth, justice, and the American way” can grate a little. He toes the line of self-righteousness and is not immune to judging others. For someone who identifies fairly strongly with Tony Stark, that could get on my nerves.
But if you actually look at Steve’s actions, an image emerges — the best of America. Steve Rogers is what America should be. He is focused on doing the right thing, at all times, at all costs. He never gives up on his principles.
The First Avenger revealed a man who didn’t relish a fight, but wouldn’t walk away from one when he was needed. The Winter Soldier shows his dedication to liberty, more than the American government. Civil War is where Steve most toes that line of self-righteousness. But it still shows a good man; one who stands up for what is right and stands by his friends.
Steve Rogers is the American ideal. I don’t mean that in the “he’s hot, fit, and classically handsome” kind of way. I mean that Steve Rogers is what we should all aspire to be. He gives us a guideline on how to be a good person: defend the weak, stand up for truth, and do everything you can to make the world a better place.
No matter where you came down in Civil War, no matter which side you chose, we can all respect that Steve is a man of principle. After all, that’s what made him Captain America in the first place. Erskine looked at Steve and saw a good man with a good heart. He was the only person worthy of Project Rebirth, one who wouldn’t abuse his new powers. He was a good man.
Just a Kid From Brooklyn
But that is not to say that Steve is a stuffy, boring, upright citizen. If Steve was only Captain America, only truth justice, and the American way, he would be the worst. Unflinching patriotism, self-righteousness, and an unshakable confidence in one’s own right does not a bae make.
Luckily for us, he’s Steve Rogers just as much — if not more — as he is Captain America. And Steve Rogers was once a scrawny punk from Brooklyn who picked fights with people twice his size and sassed his only friend. Steve Rogers is the guy who thought “fondue” was a euphemism for sex.
We see a lot of this side of Steve in the movies. Detractors only focus on Cap and ignore the man who carries the shield. That man is what makes Steve Rogers bae. There are little moments in a lot of the movies that show a different side of Steve. In The First Avenger, he draws a picture of himself as a dancing monkey.
Steve really gets good when he’s around other people, though. In his interactions with the Avengers — particularly Natasha — we see a snarky person who is always ready with a smart alek quip. Steve really enjoys being around people; he just sometimes has a hard time relating to people born 50+ years after him. When he’s comfortable, though, he shines.
The Avengers movies really do a good job with this. Take the “language” recurring joke in Ultron. Steve sasses Tony over his language, though he himself is known to swear. His teammates poke fun at him, showing a friendly dynamic. He gives as good as he gets, giving Natasha attitude over it. This is Steve Rogers as he should be: a man with friends and a smile.
What’s Not To Love?
Steve Rogers is literally the embodiment of goodness. He may have started off as a scrawny, aggressive kid, but he always had a good heart in his core. Erskine’s formula augmented his body, but it was his good nature that really made him into a hero.
Throughout the Captain America and Avengers movies, we see that Steve is a fully-fleshed, multi-dimensional character. He represents the America ideal of goodness, but he snarks with his friends. He can’t flirt to save his life but makes friends as easily as he breathes (now that his asthma has been cured). All Steve wants is to make the world a better place. How could you not love that?
Things look pretty bleak for Steve Rogers, though. Infinity War and its sequel are Chris Evans’ last outings as Captain America. Most fans are assuming that Steve is going to die. Some have proposed kinder endings, but one thing is true: the end approaches for Steve Rogers.
So as you walk into Infinity War this weekend, remember Steve Rogers — not Captain America, but the kid from Brooklyn with too much heart and a desire to do good. Remember that Steve Rogers is a good person, with depths and flaws but a lot of goodness. Remember him as he was — Steve Rogers, the super soldier with abs of steel but a heart of gold.