Spoiler Alert for Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Steve Rogers’ life sucks. He was super sick growing up, got beat up and couldn’t serve his country when it was most important. Both his parents died when he was still really young. He’s turned into a super soldier but still gets crap from people, particularly from the higher ups (what the hell was even up with that?). He full on fights in WWII (PTSD much?), he fails to save his best friend (and brother, let’s be honest) from falling to his death, he never gets to spend real time with or develop a relationship with Peggy before he sacrifices himself. Then he’s not even given a chance to die peacefully; they bring him back to just start fighting all over again. He fights some more, Avengers movie happens, he goes off alone at the end. Sucks.
Captain America reminds me of Superman in the way audiences react to him. The only thing cheesier than the big blue boy scout is a guy who represents a 1940s hyped up version of American patriotism named Captain America. I thought the score in First Avenger really did Steve a disservice. It was so over the top and fanfare-y, those who don’t know the character really missed the point of the guy. Any die-hard fan will tell you Cap is not some blind patriot but is headstrong, logical, brave and essentially hopeful. I think Henry Jackman’s track “Captain America” perfectly encapsulated that.
From this point on, I highly recommend you grab yourself some headphones and listen to the track as you continue to read. Here is the track on YouTube.
Going back to my first paragraph, Steve’s been through some crap. He’s essentially alone in every way. “Captain America” starts out low and quiet, mysterious and with a hint of sadness. At about 1:25, the “spy” film influence beings to come in. Cap takes out the guys on the launch ship, kicks some butt and is really good at it. At around 3:00, we’re full on tactician. Captain America leading his team, bright white star on his chest, Captain America inspiring the Commando’s or the Avengers to go forward, no fear, trust your team mates, and let’s win this thing.
At 4:14 is the height of Caps “comicness”. Special moves, cheesy comic lines, Cap being the poster child for American heroism, explosions, fanfare, fighting with Bucky. At 5:30 Cap becomes suspicious (there’s a brilliant slight change in the music, it becomes almost sinister). People are lying to him, his team is backstabbing him, “Cap, we have to register ourselves”. Steve says no.
Steve finds out Bucky’s alive. Everyone is convinced he can’t be saved. Steve is convinced he can. At 8:00, it’s the end of the film, Steve is looking at the Winter Soldiers file. Bucky’s been confined, tortured, brainwashed, and used for decades. Steve is devastated but above all determined, raging with a quiet fury. He believes in Bucky. He will stop at nothing to get his brother and best friend back. He won’t give up. Fade out.