Why Captain America Didn’t Save Himself In The First Avenger

Captain America

On paper, you could make the argument that Captain America is the least interesting of the Avengers based on his clear moral compass and lack of any shades of grey. However, Chris Evans’ decade-long run as the character transformed him into one of the franchise’s most popular heroes, and he became the beating heart of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The World War II veteran is still a black and white good guy that always tries to do the right thing, but Evans brought plenty of warmth and personality to the role, and fans were wiping away tears of happiness when Steve Rogers finally got to live the life with Peggy Carter that he’d always wanted after Avengers: Endgame faded to black.

Cap has always been the most selfless of the MCU’s marquee names, too, as evidenced in his first solo movie when he crashed a plane directly into freezing waters in order to save the world. As a super soldier that we’ve since seen jump out of a plane without a parachute, he could have easily bailed and saved himself from spending nearly 70 years frozen in a block of ice. However, the star-spangled superhero doesn’t leave a job half done, and any good captain always goes down with their ship.

As ScreenRant explains:

The plane’s control stick actually responds when Steve tries to pilot it, but as soon as he releases it, the plane corrects its trajectory toward New York. None of the switches on the board work either, and he has no time for complex strategies. Hydra locked the plane on autopilot so it couldn’t be hijacked. Of course, Steve could try to wedge the control stick and jump out of the plane, but there’s always the slight chance that the wedge would fall at any time.

This is the kind of solution that a character like Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) would at least attempt, but it’s also the kind of solution that has made the billionaire fail miserably multiple times, constantly making him suffer even worse consequences because of it (Ultron is created as a tool for peace, after all). In keeping with Steve’s perpetually selfless personality, crashing the plane leaves no room for error, even if that means sacrificing his life and his promised dance with Peggy.

So, as well as being a convenient plot device to bring him back in the modern day, it simply isn’t in Steve’s nature to leave anything to chance when he could solve the problem by himself, regardless of the personal cost. Disregarding his own safety and life, Captain America opts to pilot the plane directly into the water to guarantee the safety of the planet, when he could have easily survived by escaping and hoping for the best.