Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America, Wakanda
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An open letter to Avengers: Infinity War: Please don't kill Captain America. Not now.

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Apr 23, 2018, 6:02 PM EDT

Hey Avengers: Infinity War,

I know you've got a massive task before you weaving together the mythos of 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and a small army of characters, complete with quirks, arcs, and the need for solo-standout moments of spectacle. So maybe it's not fair to put this on you, but I have one request: please don't kill Captain America.

Your contents are a mystery, but online speculation has run wild and already proclaimed Cap is doomed. The trailer where he's facing off with Thanos mano-a-Infinity-Gauntlet gives that theory a lot of credence. And hey, I know we've been lucky to have him as long as we have, considering he nearly bit it at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, and risked death in two sequels and two Avengers movies. I get that Chris Evans is ready to hang up his shield, and his contract is drawing to a close. I understand dramatically that there are few low points lower or more dramatic than killing off the heart of the team, and that means Cap.

But, can I just ask, not yet?

I'll confess I never thought much about Captain America before the MCU. But now the red-white-and-blue champion for justice who'd long fascinated comic fans has won my heart. And it happened before he took the super-soldier serum. It was when scrawny Steve Rogers threw himself on that grenade, believing it to be live, and thinking only of saving the lives around him. While other soldiers scattered in fear for themselves, Steve wrapped his tiny, frail body around that bomb, and closed his eyes against the inevitable, totally prepared to sacrifice himself. Steve Rogers didn't need that serum to be a hero.  

Once he became a superhero, he didn't let it go to his head like some Avengers (looking at you, Tony). Steve saw being Captain America as a duty and a privilege, not a party. If anything, the fame was a distraction to his purpose, which was to do all he could for what is right. At first, he thought that meant following orders, playing the visually pleasing mascot for war bonds and dancing at USO shows. But then Cap decided he wouldn't wait for anyone's permission to be the hero the world needed. The moment he accepted his place in the armed forces, Steve surrendered the idea that his life was his own. We saw that as he risked himself again and again for country and kin.

In the first Captain America, he rushed across battle lines to save captured Allied soldiers and rescued his best friend Bucky Barnes. From there on, he never looked back. Be it plunging himself into the deadly embrace of a freezing ocean, fighting hordes of alien warriors in the streets of New York, or taking on the world and his fellow Avengers to save the life and soul of his childhood friend, Cap never faltered when it came to following his heart.

Chris Evans has played Cap with a clear-eyed optimism, but a steely determination that never allows the character to feel naïve. For Cap, hope is a choice, not a crutch. And, one adventure after the next, Cap gives us hope. He isn't cocky or particularly cool. Iron Man derides him as "the old man." Black Widow teases him about his chaste private life. But Cap never cared much what people thought. He is never blinded by rage or ego. He never feels that the world owes him a thing. Courageous and kind, Cap represents an old-fashioned idea of heroism. His suit comes with no powers. His weapon is a simple (though mighty) shield. He fights for truth, justice, and an American way that defends the little guy against those who'd bully or oppress him.

When our nation is so divided, seemingly on the brink of tearing itself asunder, it feels cruel to take Captain America away from us. As Agent Coulson tells Cap in Avengers, "Everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people just might need a little old fashion."

We still need him to stand up to Nazis with power-hungry plans, the pompous politicians self-serving agendas, and the forces that would drive us apart when we should be fighting together for a better tomorrow. He may not be the hero we deserve, but he's the one that we need — not just to save us, but as a role model. Cap's story reminds us that you don't need to be super to be a hero. And you don't need to wait for permission to fight for what's right.

Please don't take him away. Not now. Not yet.

We need a world with more Captain America — not less.   

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