In case you missed the news, Steve Rogers is NO LONGER Captain America in the MCU. Confirmed by Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of Winter Soldier and Civil War, Steve Rogers dropping his shield after his fight with Iron Man in Civil War was indicative of Steve abandoning his superhero identity. Naturally, conversation has shifted towards speculation of who will don the mantle of Captain America moving forward, with Bucky and Falcon leading the way. The speculation appears to have overshadowed a glaring issue with Captain America: Civil War.
Shouldn't something as monumental as the end of Captain America have been made more obvious?
In case you forgot, near the end of Civil War, Cap responds to Tony's statement of him not deserving the shield by dropping and leaving it as he helps Bucky out of the ruins. When we next see Steve, he is in civilian clothing as he appears ready to break his team of heroes out of the Raft. Many fans questioned what this meant for the good Captain's future. For someone as important as Captain America and the straightforward way the MCU has been presented to the audience so far, there should have been a clear-cut answer once the movie ended.
While Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man has cemented himself as the face of the MCU since he first graced the silver screen in 2008, the MCU's overarching storyline has been cemented by Cap's trilogy. We were first introduced to an infinity stone in CA: The First Avenger. The desolation of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the resurrection of HYDRA and Bucky in CA: The Winter Soldier continues to have a profound impact of the MCU and directly effects many of its characters. Last, but far from least, at the end of CA: Civil War, the MCU was left in a state of uncertainty, with heroes torn, allegiances, betrayals, and the world staring and questioning its heroes.
So much of the MCU up to this point has relied on the events directly corresponding with Captain America. He has also served as the moral compass for the Avengers. Yet, rather than clearly tell the "conclusion" of his story through Civil War, we learned of it from the directors during an interview. Is nobody else bothered by this? I don't know why it wasn't made more clear, but I immediately thought of two ways the end of Captain America could have been more precisely presented.
1. Accentuate The Dropping Of The Shield
Captain America has used more than one shield, so the dropping of the shield was not a strong indicator that he will no longer be Captain America. Also, logistically speaking, it was probably easier for Cap to help Bucky without having to lug the shield around. Yet, this is supposed to be the reveal that, at this moment, Captain America is no more. To make it more obvious, a number of emotional indicators could have been used as a nod to the decision Steve Rogers just made.
Perhaps a slow motion scene shot from above with Captain reluctantly letting the shield slip from his arm. Perhaps a few second montage of Captain America, indicating Steve's memories as the star-spangled hero, before leaving the shield behind. I mean, even having Rogers have a strong stare at the shield before walking away, maybe even saying goodbye to it. The scene needed something to give that "Oh damn" reaction. All in all, I thought the overall scene was weak for something that was supposed to portray such a powerful revelation.
2. Mid-Credit Scene Conversation With T'Challa
The mid-credit scene conversation between Rogers and T'Challa in Wakanda also could have offered the necessary information. After Bucky was placed back in cryostasis, at some point in their conversation, T'Challa could have referred to Steve as Captain or Cap. With a response such as "It's not Captain anymore, just Steve" or something along those lines, it would have been slightly more clear that he does not want to be known as Captain America anymore.
These are obviously pretty specific suggestions to how to improve the movie's message regarding the identity of Captain America. There are many ways that could have been improved, but the point, again, is that we should not have had to have this information confirmed by the directors of the movie. The expectations from the movie should have been made clear, as it has always been, by the movie itself. As mentioned before, I think the scene was too weak for the information it was meant to portray.
In Memory of Steve Rogers: Captain America
At least we can take some joy in watching these hilarious bloopers from Civil War, right?
Do you think the movie did well in delivering the message that Steve Rogers is no longer Captain America? What does it mean for the future of the MCU?