Welcome to the newest of our Preview Blogs from the Prop Store 2018 Entertainment Live Auction. During August and September, we will give you a weekly advance preview of some of the amazing and iconic lots that we have in store for you in this years auction… this week we’re looking at Why Captain America Is The Most Interesting Marvel Hero!
Just as one should never judge a book by its cover (comic-book or otherwise), you should never judge a superhero by their name. Take Captain America, whose unbreakable, vibranium shield and army rescue costume are excitingly included in this year’s Live Entertainment Memorabilia Auction. His superheroic moniker is both militaristic and patriotic, an image only bolstered by the presence of a star and stripes on his red, white and blue costume. It suggests a character who’s stiff, dogmatic, narrow minded and, above all, as dull as a lecture about the evaporation of paint solvent.
Not like that Asgardian braggart Thor, or that flippant billionaire rogue Iron Man, or the cool as ice assassin-turned-superspy Black Widow. It’s not even like “Cap”, aka Steve Rogers (again, don’t judge by the name), has a particularly spectacular power-set. Spider-Man can climb walls, Ant-Man can shrink or turn giant, Doctor Strange is a time-warping sorcerer. Steve can run pretty fast, punch pretty hard and throw a shield. Though, to be fair, he does throw it far beyond the reach of the laws of physics (as Spidey neatly points out in Captain America: Civil War).
And yet, by the time he appears in his sixth movie (not counting cameos), Infinity War, he earns every whoop of the resounding audience cheer you probably heard when he stepped out of the shadows to face Thanos’ demonic goons.
This is because, far from being the dullest hero, he is in fact the most interesting. The point of Cap is that he’s a man out of time whose moral compass was honed by a very different geopolitical situation than we have today, i.e. World War Two. It’s not so much that he sees everything in moralistic black-and-white, rather he’s freshly witnessed humanity at its worst (through Nazism) and at its best (via the heroism of the Allies), giving him a far keener sense of right and wrong. And when that’s brought forward into our modern world it doesn’t make him a bland flag-waver but quite the opposite: an uncompromising icon of resistance.
Over decades of comic-book writing, Captain America gradually evolved from propagandist tool to outright questioner of authority. In the Marvel movies it was a quicker shift, reaching its climax in the brilliant Civil War (easily the best film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, until Infinity War came along), when Steve refused to be answerable to a United Nations committee. There is a delicious irony in the fact that a guy wearing the U.S. flag went on the run from the powers that be.
He is interesting in other ways, too. There’s a lot of humour in Cap’s ’40s fish out of water interactions: his list of modern-day pop-culture to check out in The Winter Soldier, for example, or the way he chides Tony Stark for swearing during an engagement with HYDRA at the start of Age Of Ultron. There’s the tragedy of his relationship with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), who of course aged while Steve himself didn’t. And there’s his complex bromance with Bucky (Sebastian Stan), aka brainwashed HYDRA Agent The Winter Soldier — a childhood friend and former foe who Cap just can’t hold accountable for his crimes (which include the murder of Tony’s parents). Sure, there’s some healthy homoeroticism between Steve and Bucky, but surely their bond really boils down to the fact that Bucky is the only other person on Earth who’s been alive as long Steve himself has.
Although, as good as he looks with that long, dark mane and shiny, banded robot arm, he’ll never be as cool as the Captain himself. Even with that hokey, wince-inducing name.
Don’t forget to keep watching these weekly ‘sneak peek’ blogs, showcasing some fantastic props from this year’s Entertainment Live Auction 2018. Follow us on Twitter & Facebook to be the first to know about all current & upcoming Prop Store Auctions and more!
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