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Captain America’s 8 best Marvel Cinematic Universe moments, ranked

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Oct 1, 2018, 5:03 PM EDT (Updated)

Tony Stark once described Steve Rogers as "a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend,” and no one has managed to top that description since. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is the perfect soldier, the perfect hero, the perfect friend… There's a lot to be said about the First Avenger, including that he's perfect.

Separating the man from the myth is a hard thing to do, mainly because Steve Rogers so perfectly embodies the virtues of Captain America. While it's been theorized that someone else will take up the mantle — be it comics-accurate options Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) or Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) or someone else entirely — something essential will be lost when Chris Evans leaves the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind.

Considering that Steve is one of the few remaining heroes post-Avengers: Infinity War snap, we thought it would be nice to look back on his past to celebrate all the things we love about him (before we potentially lose him).

The Avengers: Captain America loses bet to Nick Fury

Steve loses a bet, The Avengers (2012)

“At this point, I doubt anything would surprise me.”

“10 bucks says you’re wrong.” 

Sure, Steve is wearing horrible dad pants and hasn’t learned to style his hair like a person living in the 21st century at this point, but he’s a man of his word — even if he didn’t necessarily agree to Fury’s bet in the first place. The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, understandably, very much surprises Steve. But Steve pulling out his wallet to hand Fury a $10 bill was a quiet, fun moment that a lot of fans missed until a second viewing, which makes it all the more special. Now we just need to know what Fury bought with that $10.

Captain America Rescue Bucky | Captain America The First Avenger (2011) Movie Clip

“I joined the army,” Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

The entire rescue mission to save his best friend and the 107th is pure Steve Rogers. In this moment, Captain America becomes Captain America. But he probably would have never done so if not for his love of Bucky.

The pair’s back-and-forth as Steve drags Bucky from an operating table is perfectly indicative of their relationship and why Steve risked everything to save him.

“What happened to you?”

“I joined the army!”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

“All My Friends Are Dead,” the Steve Rogers story, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Technically, the line is, “Well, all the guys in my Barbershop quartet are dead,” but “All my friends are dead” is essentially the same thing.

The Winter Soldier’s ongoing joke involves Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) trying to get Steve a date. He’s got a busy schedule and it’s hard to find someone with shared life experience — meaning having been born in 1918, experimented on, turned into a super soldier, and then becoming an elite warrior that fights across centuries. Then Steve discovers a very much alive Bucky Barnes in Winter Soldier. Talk about shared life experience!

In all seriousness, Winter Soldier finally gives us back the Steve we first met in The First Avenger. After adjusting to the 21st Century post-The Avengers, Steve finally gets his sense of humor back. Steve isn’t some boy scout — he’s the best kind of lil' sh*t, and Winter Soldier lets us know early on that’s what we’d be getting this time 'round.

Lifting Thor's Hammer | Avengers Age of Ultron (2015) Movie Clip

If he be worthy, Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The mess that is Age of Ultron starts out with a pretty solid party scene. The Avengers do what drunk friends do best: Egg on one another to do dumb stuff. The Avengers just so happen to have some pretty intense stuff to mess around with. Namely, Mjolnir.

Steve is the last of the Avengers to try his hand at lifting Thor’s hammer. While Mjolnir doesn’t so much as budge for anyone else, Thor’s expression drops when he sees Steve move the hammer a fraction of the way. Steve shrugs and moves on with a smile, but Thor sweats just a little bit.

Steve, on some level, is worthy of the power of Thor. That’s pretty big.

Captain America's speech (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Cap’s speech, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The only thing Steve Rogers cares more about than Bucky Barnes is speeches about individual freedoms. Steve gives what is arguably the best speech of his MCU career near the end of The Winter Soldier when he’s asking loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to stand up against the organization’s HYDRA operatives.

Winter Soldier is a kind of pre-Civil War warning: Steve Rogers will always, always stand up for what he believes in and will never back down from a fight. He believes in the power of doing the right thing and serves as a point of inspiration for anyone who believes the same but might be scared to stand up.

“The price of freedom is high. It always has been… It’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it. But I’m willing to bet I’m not.”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Let's See (2014)

“On va voir,” Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Every detail of this multifaceted look into the new 21st-century Steve Rogers is truly amazing.

Winter Soldier introduces MCU fans to the new Steve Rogers; he’s gone full MMA by the time he’s leading S.H.I.E.L.D. missions and taking down bad guys on the regular in the 21st Century. Pitting Steve against a bad guy played by real-life MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre only solidifies his legend as the greatest soldier of all time. That Steve eggs on his opponent in French — “On va voir,” which translates to “Let’s see” — is all the better.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Steve Rogers knows French. Considering he was on the front lines of World War II, he would have been interacting with French soldiers and citizens on the regular. And let’s not forget that one of the Howling Commandos was literally named “Frenchy.” This scene combines the old and the new Steve, making it almost the perfect Steve Rogers scene.

I can do this all day, Captain America MCU

“I can do this all day,” Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Steve always stood up for the little guy, even when he was a little guy himself. His can-do attitude isn’t so much fueled by positivity as it is sheer bullheadedness.

A couple of things to point out here: bullies and Bucky Barnes.

In The First Avenger, Steve passes Erskine’s “test” by saying that he doesn’t care about killing Germans, he just doesn’t like bullies. As we’ve mentioned, Steve is driven by his desire to do the right thing; standing up to bullies, no matter who they are or where they’re from, is what Steve does. So, whether the bully is a big dude at a movie theater who won’t shut up or an enraged Tony Stark, Steve won’t back down.

Then there’s Bucky. In First Avenger, Bucky saves Steve after Steve promises he “can do this all day.” In Civil War, Steve saves Bucky after uttering these same words. That’s the beauty of their relationship — they’ll always protect each other.

Captain America (2011) - Grenade

The grenade, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

The perfect Captain America scene comes well before Steve looked the part.

Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) was “looking for qualities beyond the physical,” and that’s exactly what he got with Steve Rogers. Scrawny, scrappy, and jaw clenched in righteous anger, Steve worked his way into the super soldier games and outdid every other candidate.

His greatest moment, though, the one that proved his worth, came when Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) throws a dummy grenade into a crowd. Everyone else scrambles out of the way. Steve Rogers jumps on the grenade, not hesitating to sacrifice himself in order to save others. Dr. Erskine’s smile says it all: This is the man we’ve been looking for. Steve Rogers is Captain America.