I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in Chris Evans’ appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon May 1. Chris was there to promote The Avengers, but instead he revealed that he does not understand his own character, Captain America at all. As fantastic as Chris was in Captain America: The First Avenger, it appears that he did it without grasping the magnitude of his character, and instead thinks of him as a punch line.
Granted, Chris was goofing with Jimmy, but in the course of their bantering about the superteam starring in this Friday’s guaranteed blockbuster, Chris questioned why Cap belongs on the same team as Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Black Widow.
“This guy has no business in this crew,” Chris opined. “You have the Hulk ripping jets in half, and Thor is calling down thunder, and Iron Man is shooting missiles. And I’m, like, ‘I’ll [Cap] take the stairs!’ ”
Going further, Chris suggested that Cap is “a really good guy” because “he’ll help you move on a Sunday. He’ll pick you up from the airport, watch your dog when you’re out of town.”
Well, Chris, while Steve Rogers/Captain America certainly would do the favors you suggested, you could not be more wrong about Cap as a superhero. He has every right to be on that team. Captain America is a member of the Avengers because he is the consummate leader. In addition to being a soldier who fought the good fight against Hitler, Cap is an inspiration just by existing. He’s a brilliant tactician who can spot weaknesses in his foes and their techniques. He leads by example, and the example he sets is, he never gives up. Ever. He always keeps fighting, and always figures out how to triumph. When I was growing up, the motto for the Sentinel of Liberty was “Captain America always finds a way!” He finds a way to win, no matter what the odds. That’s leadership.
Besides, Chris was just plain wrong on the facts, too. Steve Rogers does have powers: He was injected with the supersoldier serum, which gave him enhanced (but still human) physical abilities and reflexes and boosted his healing factor. And then there’s that indestructible shield he wields, which is both a defensive and offensive weapon — when it needs to be.
Nevertheless, Steve Rogers doesn’t need any of that stuff to be Captain America. All he needs is to be himself. To be an inspiration. To be a symbol. Captain America is the personification of leadership and doing the right thing. And the Avengers are never better than when Cap is on the roster.
But maybe Chris really does get it, and was playing with us. As a throwaway line when the laughter was dying down at the end of the segment, Chris may have realized he was biting the hand that feeds him and noted, “He’s a good man. I think his relevance comes in with what’s within.”
You were right about that, Chris. It’s what’s inside Cap that qualifies him to lead a group that includes Hulk, Thor and Iron Man. Not to mention Hawkeye, a guy with really good aim, and Black Widow, a martial artist and spy. Cap is the class of the outfit.
At least the next segment on Late Night seemed to be more up Chris’ alley: He and Jimmy played beer pong.