“I would argue that Cap is far from cliché, unlike most superheroes today (X-Men, Spiderman, Batman, or Superman), Steve is the most refreshing.” - according to an IMDB.com user. To be on the safe side, the user who I’ve quoted this statement from will remain anonymous.
The term being coined here is, “cliché,” which the person states, he’s far from it. I could not disagree more. Yet, this will include a positive spin behind this argument. But, before I address address things, let’s all agree with one thing:
Steve Rogers isn’t some morally-challenged, morbidly-depressed, vigilant misanthrope. Nor is he a man faced with hate and intolerance from the people he’s sworn to protect. The trend that superhero adaptations work best when the protagonists have deep, psychological issues is not completely popular with the majority. This has been proven by the entry of 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, (a shield-throwing superhero film with retro-style flavor), as well as this year's sequel, [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973).
Steve Rogers is an idealized version of the All-American male. A “cliché”, if you will. A man of honorable conduct who also puts his country first. Captain America was the brain-child and mascot of America during the late 1940s. Created by the legendary Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, he was the symbolic figure that represented everything America has stood for, and everything we’ve fought for against the Axis powers. During the WWII era, America asserted many forms of product placement that became resources for propaganda that antagonized the Axis nations. Such values were asserted for political, domestic, and military reasons.
One of the many examples of such is that Steve Rogers (a.k.a.) "Captain America", is a walking propaganda of Pro-American ideals and values-- for which Americans have strongly believed in during the times of WWII. And such values are what were imprinted in Steve--even while he resides in modern times. He’s a man with the mentality of your 90 year-old grandfather: always complaining about what he doesn’t understand about the culture of modern times. He’s always looking at the world through a different perspective. The traditions of the modern world, (drugs, atheism, sex, OR communism) were considered as Anti-American, taboo, or against the conformity of American ideals during his hey-day.
Every hero has an agenda. And what becomes the catalyst behind a crime-fighter’s agenda, depends solely on the events that have affected their lives. These events are what justify their vendetta; they are what lead to the path of vigilance. These events vary greatly. What makes Steve Rogers different from the pack? Well, both Steve Rogers and his persona as Captain America are both public. The latter being given to him during the military as a way to help sale war bonds. Yet later on, it would become an embraced symbolism of justice and valor. Juggling a life of duality holds no personal conflict of interest for Rogers, as it did for Peter Parker in 2004's Spider-Man 2. Instead, Steve addresses the conflicts he sustains quite differently than that of either Batman or Spider-Man. Before he was Cap, Steve was simply a young, Brooklyn orphan with a physical deficiency-- but the love of Fine Arts. Unlike his best friend (and future side-kick) Bucky Barnes, the emaciated Rogers can’t defend himself against bullies or score any chicks.
The issue of bullies are one of the major motives behind his plan to have a career in the military--despite being physical frail and unfit. Another “cliché.” And, this a cliché along the lines of a woman joining the military on some feministic binge just to prove her male opposition wrong. Yet, there are various degrees of clichés that these heroes represent. Some good. Some are bad. Or, some are outright corny. And again, Steve a cliché (in a good way) due to the fact that he is a man who embodies (and had become a symbol) of the traditional American values and beliefs of the early 20th Century. In the Avengers, Steve Rogers finds difficulty with the adjustment to a modernized society that is less simplistic then that of the Great Depression/WWII era. This is quite different that a man whose motive for vengeance against criminals is due to the murder of his parents and his fear of bats. With all of that being said, this all proves to be a refreshing spin on against the broodiness that some of his fellow superheroes embodies.
Furthermore, there’s the formulaic side-kick cliché. Call this a minor detail. But, if Batman has Robin, how is Cap and Bucky any different? However, in the world of superheroes, you either work alone, or have a trusty 'side-kick' to help you fight the baddies, whenever danger calls.
With one last note, Steve Rogers’s persona does not show traces of corruption of value. And, the fact that Steve represents only the "righteous" side of man-kind, is what makes him a cliché. But in a way, this is all good for me.
Give me your feedback. I'd love to know what you guys think, in the comment section, below. - Phoenix DA NERDETTE (@Da_Nerdette)