Comics on Film: A Heartfelt Goodbye to Chris Evans as Captain America

Comics on Film: A Heartfelt Goodbye to Chris Evans as Captain America

Oct 05, 2018

Captain America

One of the hardest realizations that people have to face is that all good things come to an end.

This is a universal constant regardless of what aspect of life you're talking about. From something as profound as childhood to something as debilitating as the loss of a beloved friend or family member – human or pet – the things that people are blessed with always have a beginning, a middle, and an end. That old adage remains true for popular culture, too, because when you deal with a set of stories or characters developed and embodied by people, something will always come along to take those people somewhere else.

This is no truer represented than in this week's major Marvel Studios news: actor Chris Evans tweeted out his gratitude to storytellers, fans, cast and crew after wrapping his time on next year's Avengers 4, and, apparently with it, his time as Marvel’s Sentinel of Liberty: Captain America.

There's a host of people who deserve credit for making Cap work as well as he does in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from The First Avenger director Joe Johnston and costume designer Anna Shephard to perennial MCU screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, down through Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War and Avengers 4 directors the Russo Brothers, Avengers and Age of Ultron writer-director Joss Whedon, and Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige. Even so, the caliber of the performances we’ve observed from Chris Evans over the past seven years is the most visible conduit for the efforts of all these people in illustrating exactly why Captain America is a character who his fellow heroes and his adoring audiences alike would follow to the gates of hell and back.

Throughout his tenure as Steve Rogers, Evans has made clear that not only is Cap a character he himself admires, but the spirit of the man is also something that he tries to observe in his own life.

The Avengers

Speaking personally, Captain America had occupied the position of my favorite character in the wide pantheon of Marvel Comics icons long before Chris Evans was tapped to embody him, and like a lot of ignorant fans in early 2010, I was skeptical of his casting: 'Johnny Storm is going to play CAPTAIN AMERICA now?!' Of course, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) was a revelation when it was first released, largely because it illustrated what makes Cap so special: at his core and in his heart, he is 'a good man.' When you give as good a man as Steve Rogers the physical might to match what dominates his heart, the results can be extraordinary.

That's why the idea of losing Evans is such a tough one to think about. In addition to losing him, does that mean that the MCU will lose Steve Rogers? It'll never lose a Captain America, I'm sure, but that specific man behind the mask serves as a dominant inspiration for anyone who would follow for many very good reasons, as proven in the comics stories that saw the likes of Bucky Barnes or Sam Wilson pick up the shield.

Regardless of how things end up shaking out for the future of the First Avenger within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and looking beyond my own sadness at the idea of an MCU without Chris Evans, all that's left in this fan's heart is gratitude. Mr. Evans, thank you for embodying Marvel's greatest hero so spectacularly for the majority of the past decade. Thank you for recognizing the very real, symbolic power that shield can have in the world we all live in.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Thank you for demonstrating to the world something that Cap's biggest fans have always known about him, that classic ethical consciousness in the mold of the Greatest Generation can never go out of style, and that moral certitude that is rooted in American ideals of freedom and equality are only 'dated' when people stop applying them to the modern world. Chris Evans as Captain America during his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe helped prove that heroes don't need to be dark or cruel in order to be complex and thoughtful.

Sometimes all it takes is someone with enough courage to ask the right questions and fight for the right answers.

It'll be tough to say goodbye to you, sir. We can't beg to keep you around, I'm sure you arrived at your conclusion because you're ready to move on to other things. Just know that for this generation and the ones still to come, you are one of the best. Your name stands alongside the best live-action embodiments of these timeless icons: whether talking about the likes of Christopher Reeve, Hugh Jackman, Robert Downey, Jr., Christian Bale, and a whole host of other timeless performances giving life to our four-color heroes, you stand with them by every conceivable metric.

Thank you, Mr. Evans. Thank you, Cap. The honor was ours.


Chris Clow is a comics expert/former retailer, and pop culture critic/commentator. He hosts two podcasts: Discovery Debrief: A Star Trek Podcast and Comics on Consoles. Find his column "Comics on Film" weekly at Movies.com, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

Categories: Features, Geek
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