The First Avenger: Let's Talk About Captain America
As a forewarning for anyone who has not yet seen 'Avengers: Endgame', this discussion will contain spoilers for said movie. If you have not seen that film yet, go watch it and come back. For those of us that have seen 'Endgame', let's talk about Captain America.
What I want to talk about is Captain America's decision at the end of 'Endgame'. After defeating Thanos, Captain America goes back in time to returns the stones to their specific homes. After he returns the stones, Cap stays in the past to live out the rest of his life with Peggy Carter. He grows old and happy with her and returns to the present day as an old man, retiring his shield to Falcon. I have ready many articles that have given an argument that Captain America's decision to grow old is not in his character to do so. I honestly do not understand why this is being said, maybe someone is trying to find huge flaws anywhere they can to bring this movie down. I personally was hoping this would happen in the film. I was praying that somehow Captain America could be with Peggy. So why is not in his character to go back and live a happy life?
The article argued that Captain America would never abandon a mission and leave his fellow "soldiers" behind. I can see how they would give this argument as he is a head strong soldier. However, we have seen his pain of being frozen in the ice ever since his first outing in 'The First Avenger'. He is always putting his life on the line to save the day. In 'Infinity War', Captain America sees his team and close friends wipe out by the snap. In 'Endgame, Cap is almost killed defeating Thanos. He looks death in the eye, more times than once in the MCU. After having a brush with death multiple times, Captain America nevers knows when his time will be. He could die in any battle he puts himself in. Wouldn't he find a chance to go back to live this life before he IS killed in battle? Captain America is always searching for truth and justice. He is always fighting to save the lives of others because it is the right thing to do. We watched Cap say goodbye to his "favorite girl" in 'Winter Soldier' and saw how hard it hit him. He has always struggled with the "what if" feeling of the life he never had because of the sacrifice he made to dive into the ice. I do not see Cap going back and living his life with Peggy as abandoning his team or mission. He accomplished the mission. He helped stop Thanos and returned the stones. His story is over. So why not go and be happy when the opportunity presents itself? This is exactly what Captain America would do. He would go back and do the right thing for himself this time. His character is developed around the fact that there is a part of him regrets diving into the ice. He missed out on this life he could have lived as a normal person.
Another point made in the argument was that it goes against the rules of time travel set by the Russo brothers. The rules, as far as I grasped, was that anything changed in the past would set a new timeline. It wouldn't change the future, rather set an alternate timeline that changed. So, Captain America created an alternate timeline in which he lived out his days. Now, how did he come back to the present with his shield and the team we grew to know if he is in an alternate reality? I have no idea. Even the Russo brothers have stated in an EW interview that there could be many possibilities for this. He could have found time travel in his alternate timeline that he used to get to his team in order to pass on the shield. I think it is very interesting that it is left open and we can speculate on how he pulled this off. It creates some interesting discussions.
In the end, I loved this wrap of Captain America's story. I think it was well earned for Captain America to go back and live a life with his love. I also think that people try too hard to find problems with great movies that have heartfelt movie moments. This is more something to sit back and enjoy the accumulation of the last 11 years of our hero's story coming to an end. The Russo brothers created an amazing ending for my favorite MCU character. Just because it did not live up to others expectations does not mean it is a dumb ending. For me, the ending gave a much deeper character development for Captain America.