Now, if there's one word that doesn't immediately spring to mind when you think Captain America, it's 'killer.' Cap, after all, is far better known for his peaceable nature and 1940s-style optimism than for being a brutal killing-machine purposefully designed to kill all who stand in his way.
And yet, if you take a close look at Cap's movie appearances to date, there's good reason to believe that he might actually be far more deadly than we thought — and have a far higher kill count than you might imagine. Y'see...
Captain America Has Actually Killed Way More People Than You'd Think
In fact, if you take his four major Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances to date as a guide, it seems Cap might just be a hell of a lot more dangerous than we thought. Let's take a closer look...
'Captain America: The First Avenger' Features A Whole Lot Of Nazi-Killing
Now, in fairness — and this is true of the vast majority of the deaths discussed below too — Captain America: The First Avenger is careful to not show all that much actual on-screen death, and most of what we do see can be blamed on dastardly Nazis, but that doesn't mean that Cap didn't kill a whole lot of people.
After all, this is a war movie we're talking about, and Cap spent most of its running time blowing up Nazi installations, fighting off Nazi attacks and generally flinging Nazis off of things to their (inevitable) deaths.
Which, spread over the course of a very active anti-Nazi campaign on Cap's part, most likely means he killed at least a hundred or so enemy combatants, if not far more. Of course, what with that being World War II, that only sort of counts — surely it's Cap's actions in the present day that matter more?
'The Avengers' Features A Whole Lot Of Brutal Alien Murder
Y'see, the handy thing about making a horde of invading aliens the main villains in a superhero movie is that you don't actually feel bad while watching your heroes putting them down with ruthless efficiency.
After all, they don't look human, and a dehumanized enemy sure is scientifically easier to kill.
Even if we leave those presumably gigantic piles of alien corpses aside, though...
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Saw Cap Destroy Three Helicarriers
Now, sure, the helicarriers supposedly only had skeleton crews of Hydra operatives on board at the time, but seeing as real-life aircraft carriers can hold as many as 3,000 crew members, and tend to require upwards of 700 of them in order to operate effectively, it seems safe to assume that at least a few hundred Hydra agents died in the fiery death explosions — and possibly well over a thousand.
Add in the high potential civilian casualties that the impact with the Triskelion building brought with it (the odds of every single occupant getting out safely seem low), and Cap's take-down of Hydra — while nobly meant — may well have caused the deaths of thousands, all told.
Those deaths, though, were largely indirectly caused by Cap, unlike when...
'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Probably Saw Cap Kill A Whole Lot Of Henchmen
Remember how, in Age of Ultron's opening sequence, the Avengers take out a whole load of Hydra goons? Well, just because there's no blood visible on that shiny white snow, that doesn't mean all of those folks are still alive.
After all, blunt force trauma (like that caused, for instance, by being hit by a vehicle... or a vibranium shield) can be incredibly deadly, and comes with a dangerously high chance of spinal or brain injury, even when not fatal. An impact to the back, head, or chest could cause catastrophic organ failure, even at a relatively low speed.
In other words? If being hit with Cap's shield is a little like being hit by a car, or punched full strength by a professional boxer, there's a pretty good chance that at least some of those hench-goons are dead. Add in Cap's own physical strength being substantially heightened, and the fatality levels are likely to go up.
Which, if true, makes Cap a bona fide killing machine.
The thing is, though...
Cap Might Not Actually Have Killed All Of Those People
Y'see, there's something that all of the above reasoning fails to factor in: Steve 'Captain America' Rogers is obsessed with fairness, decency and doing the right thing.
Which makes it entirely possible that the whole way through his adventures (barring World War II), he has actually been painstakingly holding back his own strength, and making full use of his enhanced senses to ensure that nobody dies when it could possibly be avoided. Similarly, back on those helicarriers, he may — off screen — have cunningly utilized some sort of Stark-designed technology to send captured Hydra agents safely to the ground, and incarceration.
In other words, Cap may well be a walking, talking killing machine dressed up in the red, white, and blue — but he's almost certainly one who chooses not to kill whenever possible. Just like Superman, Iron Man, or any other well-intentioned hero with more power than a human body could withstand the force of, it seems reasonable to assume that Cap take care to use his great power with the great responsibility that comes with it.
After all, he's a hero. That's what they do.