Falcon and Winter Soldier forces us to think if Captain America, and the symbol that he is, would be so without the super-soldier serum.
The 4th episode of Falcon and Winter Soldier shows us John Walker as MCU’s new Captain America. While one may not accept him as Captain America due to his nature. But there is a counter for this. Would Steve Rogers be able to do all that he did had he not received the super-soldier serum? Here’s more on it.
Watch: (Marvel) Steve Rogers | A Good Man
There Can Only Be One Cap- Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers signed up for the army because of his family history. His father was in the 107th infantry and his mother was a nurse in the TB ward. “Men are laying down their lives. I have no right to do any less than them”, he tells Bucky towards the very beginning of Captain America: The First Avenger. And this is just one example of the countless times he has proven that he is a man of morals. “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”
Steve Rogers may not be a perfect soldier. But he is a good man. And this is exactly what we need to keep in mind assessing the character-arc of John Walker.
Steve Rogers achieved enormous strength as a result of the serum. And many will argue that that was all he needed as Captain America and without it all he couldn’t have fought all the battles. However, the one thing that we are missing here is that he trained. This we see first towards the beginning of The Avengers. Strength is useless unless there are skill and continuous training to sharpen it. Steve did that and it is visible in all his fights, especially in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War.
So we cannot totally hold the serum responsible for what it made Steve Rogers. And thus we can say that a considerable part of Captain America lies outside the works of the serum: The part that is good and the part that is skilled, both physically and mentally. And not to forget, Steve Rogers yielded the Mjolnir. There’s a reason he could do that Steve’s ‘selflessness. This itself makes him better than anyone.
The Super-Soldier Serum
Dr. Erskine, in Captain America: The First Avenger, said that the serum amplifies everything that’s inside the body. It is not just the strength that the body gains. Good qualities become great. Bad qualities become worse.
The fact of the matter is that other than Rogers, we do not come across a single person in the MCU who, has taken the serum, and is a “good person.” Rather, until Bucky came along, Steve was the only one with the serum. And with Winter Soldier’s introduction, the serum also came through as a cause of concern starting with the events of Captain America: Civil War. And we can clearly see the irony when the new Captain America had to steal the serum in order to prove himself worthy.
John Walker Isn’t Worthy
The moment John Walker “stole” the last tube of the serum in episode 4 of Falcon and Winter Soldier, he went against everything the shield stood for in the MCU. Although he is every bit a soldier who seems to be worthy of the title, we as an audience cannot accept him. And that is not because he isn’t worthy but because Steve passed on the shield to Sam and not him.
“Power just makes a person more of themselves…,” says Lemar Hoskins. This resonates with the very words of Dr. Erskine that we mentioned earlier about the serum makes good better and bad worse.
Next is when John Walker kills a man and that too with the shield. This act of his turned whatever Steve said, about not wanting to kill anyone, on its head. If we consider the serum’s quality to amplify, it means that Walker had it inside him to kill. And as much as he may be worthy of being Captain America, Steve Rogers never killed anyone. Blood on the shield further makes it no longer of Captain America’s but John Walker’s.
Captain America’s legacy is more than the serum. However, we cannot ignore that the serum gave Steve super-strength: strength without which he couldn’t have survived all that he did. But despite that, just the serum cannot make anyone Captain America. There is a lot more that is needed to be worthy of the title. For fans, John Walker isn’t MCU’s Captain America. And this is where Steve Rogers’ legacy resides.