Young Steve Rogers tries to sign up for the army but gets rejected because he’s too puny. His friend Bucky takes on a double date to a World’s Fair, where he tries to enlist again. A German-American scientist is impressed by his determination and reclassifies him 1A.
Why Steve might be hard to identify with: He’s a bit of a sad sack…
- …but he does still have a personality with his friend Bucky. “Don’t do anything stupid until I get back.” “How can I, you’re taking all the stupid with you.”
- He has a catchphrase, “I can do this all day,” which will be twisted ironically a few times in the next 18 movies.
- He has a philosophy. “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies, no matter where they’re from.”
- His father died of mustard gas in the 107th infantry. His mother died from being a nurse in a TB ward.
- He’s 4F due to asthma and other frailties. All he wants is to serve, but he’s not allowed.
- He gets beaten up in an alley for standing up to someone who heckles a newsreel.
- His blind date takes no interest in him.
- He can’t compete physically in boot camp, and he’s sabotaged by his fellow troops, who mock him.
- We see two papers with war headlines, one paper closes and the fit guy who was reading it says “A lot of guys being killed over there, kinda makes you think twice about enlisting, huh?” The other paper closes and a puny guy says “Nope!” That’s our hero.
- We find out he’s been lying on his enlistment forms to try to get inducted.
- He figures out how to get a flag off its flagpole when no one else can, which impresses the girl.
- The general pretends to throw a life grenade into a group of soldiers. Everybody runs for cover but Steve jumps on it to protect everyone else.
- So we’re already thoroughly invested in the guy before he actually gets superpowers.
Could you say his strength is "believes in a cause bigger than himself" and his flipside flaw is "doesn't believe in himself"? I may not be phrasing it right. But basically a lot of the middle of the movie is about how even once he's a super-soldier, he gets told the best way he can serve "the cause" is as propaganda, doing USO shows and selling war bonds and such and staying out of combat. And he goes along with it because he believes his superiors. Then he finally gets fed up with all that and becomes an unstoppable fighting machine on the front lines. Although he is still a bit of a true believer and doesn't think of himself as anything special. Only at the very end when he has to ditch the plane carrying the doomsday weapon does he believe in himself as the only one who can save the day.
I'd need to rewatch the whole movie to get a sense of his greater flaw. I haven't seen it in a while. I just rewatch the first fifteen minutes to write these, and I was surprised that he really didn't have much of a flaw yet (compared to Iron Man and Thor, who have huge flaws.)
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