Captain America's powers and fighting skill in MCU.

If I remember the comics, Captain America is merely the peak of human abilities, both physical and menta, rather than superhuman. Yet in the MCU it seems to be that that he often (though not always) is actually Super human, the Cap serum Blonsky got, made him so, even before the Abomination crap.

Rewatching Civil War, there is the absolute ass kicking Cap gave Tony Stark at the end, despite Tony being in his suit. Its clear he would have killed* him if he had not stopped, early on in First Avenger, OTH, Cap had to notably strain to get a guardrail to bend and in Winter Soldier the unpowered Frenchie actually gets some good hits on him.

Obviously, he is an exeprienced combat veteran, and Tony is not, but Tony’s suit has shrugged off direct hits from Tank shells, yet cannot withstand the sustained punishment. Tony is clearly affected, in Homecoming he tells Peter that Captain was playing with him and he would have killed him if he wanted to.

What do you think?

*Though must be pointed out, with the exception of his time in Europe in WW2 and againts the aliens in Avengers, every time we see Rogers fighting, he is aiming to capture or escape, not kill, and this is probably the only other time he is.

Sorry to be “that guy” but if you’re looking for consistent application of powers in the MCU (or the DCCU, for that matter), you’re going to be sadly disappointed. I mean, Ant-Man alone is a mess of inconsistencies.

Captain America is very strong, very physically skilled, able to make complex tactical decisions in the heat of battle and able to take a lot of damage, much like every other comic book hero. The degree to which those things apply is dependent entirely on plot.

Superhero powers in the MCU are exactly as strong or weak as they need to be to advance the plot and provide complications. Worrying about consistency in these films is like demanding historical accuracy in a Michael Bay movie. Ant-Man is the least of the problems; from Hulk to Iron Man to Black Widow’s unenhanced but still impossible acrobatic reflexes, the physics of the MCU is just a step above the Road Runner. No need to be overly critical; just accept it and move on, just like you allow James Bond’s ridiculous gadgets which improbably function but rarely serve to actually get him out of trouble unless absolutely required by the plot.

As for Steve Rogers powers, it is pretty clear that the Erskine formula gave him incredible strength (enough not only to fight the Iron Man suit but to hold back Thanos who has been shown handily beating the Hulk), physical resilience (has jumped and fallen from aircraft thousands of feet up into water without a parachute, run though solid wood doors, has taken direct blasts to the chest multiple times), dexterity (he jumps from motorcycle onto and off of a Quinjet, dodges an out of control helicopter), and healing factor (survived freezing, being gut-shot, falling hundreds of feet onto concrete). In every movie he gets progressively more capable so he is presumably still discovering the extent of his abilities.

Oh, and there are almost certainly little Stevies all over America. Check out the look that redhead on his right flank is giving him as he clumsily tries to hawk defense bonds; she and every other war-liberated woman is nearly crazed to bear his children. Presumably the supersoldier formula sends his endocrine glands into high gear, incidentially producing mass amounts of pheromones on top of his perfect physique and non-threatening adorkableness, making him irresistible to the women who wouldn’t give ninety pound civilian Steve Rogers the time of day. Hence, why Peggy Carter is so amazing to him; a woman who doesn’t fall over herself and have him stripped down and bedded before conversation can even be had.


There was a brief period in the early-mid 70s when Cap had actual super-strength, like when Steve Englehart was writing the title (a result of a bite from a super-villain called Viper, and not the good-looking one, though there is a connection) in issues 157-158. When Jack Kirby took over the title in #193, he discarded the super-strength on the second page of his story.

Two more recent stories–Avengers Forever and Avengers Back to Basics–used time travel to bring the most dysfunctional version of Cap, 1974’s “Cap quits and becomes Nomad,” into the plot. For all his dysfunction, this is the physically strongest version of Cap to date!

But for most of his history, yeah, he just has the powers of a normal human at the peak of physical perfection. He has fought Batman to a standstill on a few occasions. He is a superb martial artist, maybe on a par with Shang Chi and Iron Fist.

Within reason. If bullets start bouncing off Spider-Man, Captain America starts lifting tankers with one hand, Ant-Man invents a faster than light engine with parts from his garage, I suspect that’d begin to take folks out of the story. There’s still a place for a kind of consistency.

Sure, if they become so strong that there are no plot complications they can’t immediately overcome, then the stories are pointless. However, Marvel Studioes has done a good job of not only giving the characters physical limitations to their powers but also personality flaws that make for good dramatic conflict, e.g. Banner fears his lack of control over “the Other Giy”, Tony Stark is an irredeemable narcissist with PTSD and mommy issues, Steve Rogers feels like an outsider to the society he pledged to protect, Thor is kind of a clueless oaf whose entire people have been destroyed, et cetera. That they have powers is what makes them superheroes, but the abilities and tools don’t define their characters, which are very real and often deeply flawed people.


It’s also important to remember that Cap’s shield is made from plot-proof materials. It can withstand whatever it needs to and it can damage whatever it needs to.

I think that, added to this, the MCU doesn’t want any second-string heroes especially among the guys leading the movies. In “reality”, Capt America as “a guy at peak condition” would be matching Black Widow or Hawkeye (maybe Black Panther? I never saw it so don’t know his story besides “Strong guy with claw-gloves”) and get immediately pasted by Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, etc. But MCU wants them all at comparatively even footing rather than people seeing “New Captain America Movie!” and thinking “But that guy sucks”.

Black Panther is basically Cap and Iron Man together with some extra bonuses. His physical attributes are increased from consuming the heart shaped plant that grows in Wakanda and he has a suit made by someone just as or smarter than Tony Stark with the added benefit of being from a highly technologically advanced society with access to the strongest metal known. Also, I am fairly sure Spider-Man is bullet proof, while Cap is not.

Really? I don’t recall Spider-Man ever getting shot.

Me neither but he was punched across the airport by giant Ant Man without it causing any damage, and in Infinity War he stopped the big ugly guys hammer with no effort before it crushed Iron Man in the New York fight scene. I figured both of those are enough to infer he could take a bullet.

Mmm. I’d argue that Steve Rogers is NOT a peak human but rather he is an enhancile. He starts as a - subpar - normal human and by external means is biologically altered to be beyond that level at which a non-enhanced human could achieve.

In the old Marvel Superheroes tabletop RPG, he lists as

Fighting: Amazing
Agility: Incredible
Strength: Remarkable
Endurance: Remarkable

In addition, his psyche and reasoning ability are enhanced.

It also goes on to specify that it would take a red level feat for him to lift more than 2,000 pounds. That’s simply not anything a normal human could accomplish.

Other sources contradict this, of course, which is why we get the ‘plot-driven’ argument. Entirely justified. But I’ll argue that the feats we see him doing in the MCU are simply not things that can be done by any normal human. Holding a helicopter down when it’s at full lift? No. Holding back Thanos? No. Jumping into water from a thousand feat? No. Any of those would kill even a peak human.

True. But, in universe MCU, Civil War suggests that he has been holding back since.
Compared to what he did to Stark, the French guy in Winter Soldier should have been coverted to a red paste on the deck of that ship, by one punch.
Frankly, those were just love taps.

Abraham Erskine: Do you want to kill Nazis?
Steve Rogers: Is this a test?
Abraham Erskine: Yes.
Steve Rogers: I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies; I don’t care where they’re from.*I mean, Cap has actually killed a lot of people, but in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “They were all bad,” and most were faceless stormtroopers, aliens, or robots, so they don’t really count.


We talking movies or comics? Movies I couldn’t say - in the comics Spider-man absolutely is not bulletproof. I remember him once intentionally taking a bullet he could have easily dodged to make an impression on Black Cat.

In comics continuity at least the combination of short-range precognition( “spidey sense” )and super-agility allows him to simply dodge most gunfire.

In the comic book continuity, he’s supposed to be at peak human potential; as the old Handbook of the Marvel Universe put it, he has (I’m paraphrasing from memory) the maximum strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in intensive regular exercise.

However, the MCU draws heavily from the Ultimate line of Marvel Comics, which had rebooted versions of various Marvel characters in a parallel universe. The Ultimate version of Captain America pretty clearly had super-human strength, as does the MCU version. In addition to the examples cited so far, in one movie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier?), he holds down a helicopter and prevents it from taking off through sheer brute strength.

The physics of that are, of course, ridiculous - what keeps him stuck to the helipad? Willpower? He does at least get dragged across the helipad, and grabs onto a railing with one hand and a landing skid with the other, which is at least vaguely plausible physics. Either way, he’s stronger than the lift generated by a helicopter - so clearly superhuman strength, albeit not at the level of the Hulk or Thor.

From Civil War, when Spiderman sees Captain America’s Shield in action:

“That thing does not obey the laws of physics at all!”

Just to clarify this a bit further…

In Captain America #1 (1941), “Professor Reinstein” declares that Steve Rogers was refused Army service for his “unfit condition.” After being “inoculated with the strange seething liquid,” Rogers’ body and brain undergo changes: “the serum coursing through his blood is rapidly building his body and brain tissues until his stature and intelligence increase to an amazing degree.” He is clearly more than human at this point.
When the character was revived in 1960s and his origin retold (Captain America #109), “vita-rays” replaced the serum, giving him “new power, new vigor and new vitality.” His body was similarly transformed, but there was no mention of any impact on his brain tissues.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Rogers gets injections and the vita-ray treatment. His body is transformed, but I do not recall any mention of their impact on his brain tissues. It’s been awhile since I saw it, so I might have forgotten.

In these iterations, Captain America is not “merely the peak of human abilities, both physical and menta(l),” but is in fact enhanced to “an amazing degree” (at the very least, physically), as Jonathan Chance essentially pointed out in post #12.

If I recall correctly, when Cap is in the Hydra headquarters, he looks at some maps, and is later able to reproduce them accurately, which suggests that his brain power has improved a bit.

He’s on a treadmill that can go as fast as… :smiley:

And it was in CA:CW. :wink: