Steve Rogers’ tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to let him go (It doesn’t, okay?) Cap had a long and illustrious career as leader of the Avengers, being self-sacrificial and good and everything we all wish for in a friend, and even an enemy. From his first appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger, rescuing thousands of men single-handedly from behind enemy lines, to Avengers: Endgame, where we watch him give whatever it takes and avenge the world one last time, Cap remains steadfast in his virtues.
Steve’s ending may not have been what fans were anticipating, but one can’t deny that it was something he deserved. A quiet, happy life, a wife and children, nights spent dancing instead of fleeing as a war criminal — these are things he never once thought he could possibly have, or that he even deserved. Endgame gave us the fairytale ending for the man who gave himself nothing, and one can’t deny it was something Steve fervently earned.
At times, we truly didn’t deserve Captain Rogers. His steadfastness in the face of adversity, strongholds to his moral code, and loyalty to his friends is beyond commendable — it’s downright admirable. Here are nine moments (out of many) to relive exactly what made Steve Rogers that “good man” everyone always referred to him as, even if he didn’t believe it himself.
1 & 2. Captain America: The First Avenger
“Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
The moment all of us (but mainly Peggy Carter) fell in love with Steve Rogers. This selfless action solidified him as the candidate for Dr. Erskine’s Super Soldier Serum, proving to even the non-believers that sometimes it’s the little guy that makes the biggest difference.
“What makes you so special?” “Nothing, I’m just a kid from Brooklyn.”
He may be the world’s first super soldier and the first Avenger, but in his own humble mind he’ll always be that scrawny, scrappy kid from Brooklyn who just wants to stand up against bullies. He didn’t care where they were from, he just didn’t like ’em. We don’t either, Steve.
3. The Avengers
“You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.”
A tyrant is a tyrant and needs to be taken down — demi-god or not. Steve has never and will never stand for leaders who rule by inducing fear and restricting free will, and he’s willing to go to bat with anyone who tries, even it means he may lose. He knocked out Adolf Hitler over 200 times; Loki doesn’t stand a chance.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
“I’m not gonna fight you. You’re my friend.”
If Steve Rogers is one thing, it’s loyal. Despite his best friend being brainwashed by the enemy, he can’t bring himself to fight him. Whether that’s because deep down he knew Bucky could redeem himself, or he was just unable to bring an end to the friend he’d thought he’d lost, is up to you. Till the end of the line… (cue ugly tears.)
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
“We’ll lose.” “Then we’ll do that together, too.”
Steve is always ready to fight for what’s right, whether or not the rest of the team agrees with him. He’d rather lay his life on the line to protect the Earth and its freedom than allow Tony’s “suit of armor” to do it for him. Also important to note, he chose not to lift Mjölnir in the scene moments before this, as to not hurt Thor’s ego. You cannot convince me otherwise, so don’t even try. Cap has been, and always will be, worthy.
6. Captain America: Civil War
“You don’t deserve it. My father made that shield!”
Steve drops his iconic shield as he’s carrying the battle-wearied Bucky Barnes from the neutralized threat of Tony Stark, choosing his friend over his duty. It came as no shock that his loyalty to the first person who ever believed in him won out in this scene, but proves Steve isn’t willing to ever give up on the people most important to him, no matter the sacrifice. We’d have chosen Bucky, too.
7 & 8. Avengers: Infinity War
“I’m not looking for forgiveness, and I’m way past asking permission.”
My personal favorite Rogers line. The righteous Steve Rogers of old is gone. He’s battle hardened and weary, and not taking anyone’s nonsense, not even the Secretary of State’s. But still, he takes a stand to do what needs to be done, putting his life on the line, despite the differences he may have with the very ones he’d die to protect.
“I am Steve Rogers.”
A talking tree? Doesn’t matter, Steve is a genuine and earnest man, taking time from his fight to introduce himself in return to the strange alien creature fighting alongside Thor. His level of respect and lack of immediate judgment for all creatures is something we could all take a little something from. He was a talking tree. I feel like it’s important to mention that at this point, Steve has really only seen bad aliens (Thor excluded.) So him still giving this adolescent tree-man the benefit of the doubt, in the middle of an alien battle…he deserves some kudos. We don’t deserve him.
9. Avengers: Endgame
“As long as one man stands against you, Thanos, you’ll never be able to claim victory.”
The iconic line from the comics may not have made it into the movie, but the sentiment did. Cap straps his shield up one last time to stand alone against the army of Thanos, ready to die for the morals he’s lived his life for. If this scene didn’t hit you right in the feels, please share some of that stoicism with me, because it still hurts. While we’re grateful Steve didn’t also make the ultimate sacrifice, he was about to. Thankfully, the Russo brothers decided they wanted to leave us with a tiny bit of our souls after this film and let Cap make it out alive.
“Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.” That was the promise Rogers made to Dr. Erskine, and damn did he keep it. Steve embodies what it means to be selfless, kind, and sincere. We’re going to miss Steve with all our hearts and then some, but we know Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is going to do his best to uphold the standards and morals Steve laid in place. You can see Falcon donning the vibranium shield and Steve’s best friend, Bucky Barnes, in fall of 2020 in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, exclusively on Disney+.
Relive all of Steve’s greatest moments in his seven MCU appearances listed above. (He also has a few cameos in Thor: The Dark World (Loki as Steve Rogers), Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Captain Marvel‘s end credits.)
“What would Captain America do?”
In times of crisis, let those words guide you to follow your heart and do what’s right. Trust us, it works.