Characters: Captain America Films
This page lists characters that appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
films Captain America: The First Avenger
and Captain America: The Winter Soldier
. For characters in the spinoff series Agent Carter
, see its character page HERE
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Steve Rogers' hand-picked strike-force. Despite the prejudices of the 40s, each were chosen based on their fighting ability, not their race. Together the Commandos brought down of the Red Skull
's bases, impeding his efforts for his annihilation of the world
"See? Told you, they're all idiots."
- Badass Crew: They kick much ass together. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier the Smithsonian exhibit states that Bucky was the only soldier they ever lost in the entire war.
- Badass in Distress: All of them are former Prisoners Of War held in a HYDRA camp. After Steve frees them, they proceed to kick HYDRA butt.
- Badass Normal: With the exception of Steve himself, none of them are supersoldiers, and yet they all keep up with Steve.
- Black Vikings: Justified. All of them are excellent soldiers, and Cap (never one to pick rules over the right thing) needs the best, not what his era would consider the most appropriate.
- Blood Knight: They all happily accept Rogers' offer to re-enter the field of battle. Dugan in particular qualifies.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
- The name "Howling Commandos" was used in the script, but never stated in the film. One screenwriter noted, "They are commandos, and at one point they do howl. They're called the Howling Commandos in the script, but no one says that out loud".
- The official film soundtrack has a track called Invaders Montage during the On Patrol Montage showcasing the team routing HYDRA forces. Again, they aren't called this name in the film, either.
- The Captain America: Super Soldier video game has Cap refer to them as "the Invaders" in dialogue, while the Smithsonian exhibit in TWS calls them "The Howling Commandos."
- Composite Team: In the comics, Captain America and Bucky occasionally worked alongside the Howling Commandos, but were never part of the team. They were members of a team called The Invaders, alongside Brian and Jacqueline Falsworth, children of James Montgomery Falsworth below.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Zig-zagged. The Howling Commandos are a team of seven men capable of laying waste to battalions of enemy forces and destroying a string of fortified HYDRA installations, but we aren't informed of what units the Howlers came from, though Bucky is said to belong to a standard infantry regiment (and a deleted scene shows both Dugan and Jones to come from the same unit), with the only exception of Falsworth, a British paratrooper in the appropriate uniform, though he is neither shown to be more badass than the others, nor is his elite cred mentioned.
- The Enemy Weapons Are Better: Some of them use HYDRA weapons when they can. Other, like Cap or Bucky, prefer bullets.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The fact that most of them were locked in the same cage no doubt contributed to them forging a strong bond that transcends racial, national and class differences.
- I Owe You My Life: Downplayed. Steve rescues them from being worked to death in a prison camp, and they eagerly agree to join his team.
- Jumped at the Call: All are pretty enthusiastic to follow Steve into battle.
- Legendary in the Sequel: In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the entire team is revealed to be immortalized in the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian. Over at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., having a Howling Commando as a grandfather is an extremely big deal for a SHIELD agent.
- Multinational Team: In the forties, no less! Dernier is French, Falsworth is British, and the rest are American, though they include Jones, an African-American, and Morita who is Nisei, alongside the Caucasian Steve, Bucky and Dugan.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. Half the team, that is 3.5 of them, are named James. The 0.5 is Jacques, which is the French form of James. Also played straight, as there is in fact only one Steve.
- True Companions: Off the job, they're perfectly happy to hang out at the local bar together.
- You All Meet in a Cell: They all meet in a HYDRA cell.
Captain Steven "Steve" Rogers / Captain America
Captain Steven "Steve" Rogers / Captain America
A sickly young man from Brooklyn turned into a perfect soldier by a government project. Unfortunately, the creator of the project was murdered, leaving Rogers as the only result of the project. Because of this, he was initially used as a propaganda tool to sell war bonds. He eventually earned his stripes as a soldier by rescuing an entire platoon from a HYDRA factory, where he first encountered the Red Skull.
After defeating the Red Skull, Cap crashed his Valkyrie aircraft into a glacier where he went into a hibernation state and written off as KIA for nearly 70 years before being found by S.H.I.E.L.D. in the modern day. His weapon of choice is a Vibranium shield designed by Howard Stark that can absorb all energy directed at it, making it ideal as both protection and as a projectile (as it does not lose energy when it makes contact with another surface when thrown).
- Action Hero: First he's a war hero, then he joins the Avengers and later does stuff for SHIELD.
- Adorkable: Even after receiving the Super Soldier serum, he's so adorkable, he has no idea how to spread propaganda, even for a cause he believes in.
- See also: "fonduing".
- The obvious joy he has in The Avengers when he finally gets a pop culture reference to The Wizard of Oz demonstrates this as well - he's just so honestly happy to finally get what people are talking about.
- Amazon Chaser: He first notices Peggy when she punches a recruit square in the face after he made some sexist remarks. Steve's smile says everything.
- Ambiguous Disorder: In the second film, Steve is suffering from several signs of being a Shell-Shocked Veteran. He's not sure of his place in the world, he laments that the world he once knew is gone, and he has trouble sleeping in a civilian bed. He plays this so straight that Sam Wilson, who counsels people with PTSD and other disorders, pretty much finishes his sentences for him. Some viewers have even mentioned that he shows signs of being a Death Seeker, particularly during his final battle with Bucky.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Played both in Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. It takes Steve infiltrating a HYDRA base and rescuing a battalion's worth of soldiers for others to take him seriously in the former; in the latter, it takes him a brief skirmish (and a torn arm or two) with the invading aliens for the New York authorities to listen to what he's trying to tell them. Demonstrated to hilariously awesome effect during the climactic battle when Steve earnestly rattles off a strategy to some NYPD officers on how best to evacuate some civilians and form a battle line:
Why should the hell should I take orders from you? [cue a horde of Chitauri warriors going berserker at Steve, and Steve effortlessly fending them off] [beat] Cop: [begins repeating Steve's orders verbatim into his walkie-talkie]
- Bad Liar: Because he's so honest. Lampshaded by Natasha in The Winter Soldier.
- Badass: This guy could have won World War II single-handledly if he hadn't been frozen.
- Badass Adorable: A sweet-tempered, well-mannered and kind-hearted Boy Next Door who just happens to also possess a body rebuilt to the pinnacle of human perfection.
- Badass Biker: He lacks the brooding rebel image, but Steve's ride of choice is a motorcycle - whether he's just cruising or dodging machine-gun fire.
- Bash Brothers: As a kind, noble and courageous man, Steve was already quick to earn Thor's respect: it's in the fires that raged through the battle of Manhattan that they truly become brothers.
- Also with Tony Stark after earning each other's respect through fighting side by side.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's one of the nicest, sweetest guys in the world, but may God help you if you decide to hurt innocents.
- Blessed with Suck: His metabolism is four times faster than the average human, so he Never Gets Drunk. This means he can't drown his sorrows in the bottle when Bucky dies.
- Boy Next Door: A total sweetheart to boot.
- Brooklyn Rage: While he's not bad tempered or violent, Steve still has the absolute determination and utter refusal to turn down a challenge that goes with this trope. "If you start running, they'll never let you stop."
- Bully Hunter: "I don't like bullies. I don't care where they're from."
- Butt Monkey: He was stuck doing cheesy war propaganda for a while after he became a Super Soldier. For bonus points, he even drew himself as a performing monkey.
- The Cape: Initially invoked for the USO show and after the timeskip he wonders if this sort of hero is old-fashioned. Regardless, he's a great example of the honest and noble hero fighting For Great Justice.
- The Captain: Phillips refers to him as "Captain Rogers" in his letter to the Senator, so it's safe to assume he really does hold the rank.
- Captain Geographic: Take a wild guess.note
- Captain Patriotic: At first, the USO shuffles Steve into this role as a mascot for War Bonds sales, but he soon becomes the real thing after he "borrows" some military equipment and sneaks into a HYDRA prison camp to single-handedly free Bucky and other Allied troops.
- Celibate Hero: After Natasha suggests he ask out Sharon, again, he insists that he's "too busy" for a relationship.
- The Chains of Commanding: Not only does Steve have to adapt to a world where everything he knows is 70 years gone or dead, but has to get a Norse god, an egotistical genius who's jealous of the relationship between Cap and his father, and a scientist with... anger issues to work together as something resembling a team alongside two hard-nosed assassins, while earning all of their respect and he succeeds.
- Chaste Hero: See A Man Is Not a Virgin below.
- Combat Pragmatist: While Steve's weapon of choice is his shield and fists, he has no qualms with using a gun when needed, on top of other improvised weaponry.
- The Comically Serious: He's not trying to be funny about pop cultural ignorance and that's why it's funny.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played with. During World War II, "Captain America" is just his stage persona. On-duty he's simply Capt. Steve Rogers, US Army. However after his disappearance comics using the name "Captain America" begin being published. This is the identity that gets passed down to the younger generations (like Phil Coulson) and so it sticks when he returns.
- Covert Pervert: He's grabbed into a forceful kiss by a secretary, and while initially startled by the suddenness, isn't unhappy when it actually happened. He also immediately assumes that a French word ("Fondue") he's never heard before has something to do with sex. Though do cut the kid some slack; before becoming Mr. Muscles Steve was invisible to and intimidated by women, and that kiss the secretary gave him is more than likely his first.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's one of the few cases in which said snarker can achieve the exact same results by being completely sincere about what he says. Though he's not above very, very dry irony. Such as:
"It appears to run on some kind of electricity!" [staring helplessly at a panel of circuits]
- Determinator: His signature trait — he doesn't give up. Ever.
- The lists of his various ailments combined with the fact that grew up during The Great Depression qualifies. Imagine having health conditions like stomach ulcers and irregular heartbeat when you have no guarantee of finding work to pay for treatment, and, in some cases, effective and affordable treatment hasn't been invented yet. Steve had to be a Determinator just to live long enough to be Captain America.
- Dork Knight: Both absolutely noble and heroic and a huge puppy-dog of a man. Even post-defrosting (when he's obviously had a tough time coping with the modern day and the personal tragedies he suffered getting there), he's at all times earnest, humble, kind-hearted and devoted to defending the innocent.
- Drowning My Sorrows: He tries it after Bucky is killed, but between his healing factor and accelerated metabolism, he finds he's unable to get drunk.
- Empowered Badass Normal: No actual super powers aside from his superhuman physique, and he started out as a scrawny kid before becoming a Super Soldier. His antics in his second stand-alone movie make this trope lose applicability and starts to move him into true superhuman territory, however.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Sports a more modern haircut by The Winter Soldier, showing that he is beginning to adapt to the 21st Century.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: At first, after Steve takes the serum, he's banded about as a hero on stage and in film. Then he becomes the mask.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: And very expressive eyes.
- Female Gaze: In The First Avenger, there are some very nice shots of his bare chest post-serum. In The Avengers and The Winter Soldier, there are several shots of his rear.
- Fights Like a Normal: Captain America is easily confused for a Badass Normal, but he isn't given that he has a super serum that gives him the ability to be at the peak of human condition.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With both The Avengers and his friends from the war, especially Tony Stark.
- To Tony Stark, playing the old-fashioned idealist to Tony's selfish cynic. For example, while both are shown to be dolls of the public (featured at big show events complete with dancing girls), Steve is visibly uncomfortable with the spotlight and would rather be on the front lines whereas Tony eats up the attention.
- To Natasha Romanoff. She lies for a living and he can't tell a lie to save his life, but their partnership in The Winter Soldier shows that they're still both agents with issues adjusting to their current lives.
- Folk Hero: Steve is this in the Marvel universe; he's a Living Legend with his own merchandise and even trading cards (as Coulson can attest). He seems taken aback by their existence in modern times and tours a Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian while soul searching in The Winter Soldier.
- Genius Bruiser: Steve has intelligence to complement his physical ability, though he doesn't have an advanced education. He's an excellent tactician, learns quickly, and in one case was instantly able to determine that he was being deceived by listening to a few moments of an indistinct baseball game that he had attended. His artistic skills come into play as well, as he's able to memorize and accurately pinpoint all of HYDRA's bases on a map of Europe after seeing a brief glimpse. Later on, when he discovers the Winter Soldier's identity, he figures out how it can be to by recalling when he saw Bucky captured and possibly experimented on by Dr. Zola. His knowledge of NYC (having grown up there) also lets him use sidestreets and shortcuts to catch up with a HYDRA agent who's in a speeding vehicle - while he's on foot - and immediately come up with a plan to contain the invading Chitauri in The Avengers.
- Genre Savvy:
- Not at first, but by The Avengers it's clear he's learned from experience. He quickly figures out that Loki gave up too easy, and even if he claims that they should just follow their superiors' orders, he still goes to check and beats Tony to the punch on calling out Fury.
- Gentle Giant: Post lab procedure he's a tall, muscled, teddy bear of a man.
- The Good Captain: Gentle, heroic, and yes, he does hold the rank.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Despite being an idealist in a Grey and Gray Morality world, he's not naive. He knows when to not trust certain people, and he can spot an ambush coming a mile away.
- Good Is Not Soft: A nice and sweet boy, who over two movies, has shot, stabbed, and exploded villains, thrown bad guys out of airborne aircraft, set them on fire, and hacked opponents' arms off.
- Good Is Old-Fashioned: But not obsolete, as Coulson points out in Avengers.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The single rudest word he has ever used in both his cinematic appearances is "bastard." He's prone to using exclamations like "Son of a gun" rather than anything more explicit than that. Still, while he's not above using "damn" ("You know damn well why not!") or "hell" ("The hell I can't! I'm a Captain!") to make a point, he doesn't usually cuss at people.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Peggy is quite the crack shot while Steve prefers to use only his shield when in combat.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He fits this trope much better than 99% of all live-action blond-haired film protagonists. Steve is honestly noble, pure, selfless, and heroic; not to mention a total teddy-bear and sweetheart.
- The Heart: On the Avengers.
Captain: We have to put that behind us and get this done.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: He's branded a traitor by SHIELD in The Winter Soldier, forcing him to go on the run. Subverted in the end when he reveals that HYDRA has taken over the organization. He is instantly believed (and quickly proven right).
- Heroic BSOD: Hits one hard when he figures out that the figure he had been fighting, the Winter Soldier, was Bucky. He completely shuts down and allows himself to be caught.
- Heroic Build: Yes, Chris Evans really did achieve a real-life Heroic Build.
- Heroic Sacrifice: A Late-Arrival Spoiler if you see The Avengers but he pilots Red Skull's ailing HYDRA jet to crash somewhere in the Arctic Circle in order to avert a catastrophe on the coast of the United States.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners:
- Hidden Depths:
- It's only shown once (twice if you count deleted scenes), but Steve's also an artist, and both scenes of him drawing while brooding are post-serum— he didn't lose his taste for softer pleasures afterward.
- The fact that he can date a particular baseball game he went to after only hearing a few snippets of the play-by-play also suggests he's a huge baseball fan. His home team would have been the Brooklyn Dodgers, who have since moved to Los Angeles — just another aspect of the modern world he'd have to get used to.
- As of The Winter Soldier, he apparently speaks French. Maybe he wanted to know what "fondue" means? He can also hotwire a car (useful skill behind the lines in Nazi Germany).
- Honor Before Reason: More like he believes reason and honor are the same thing, and you can't have one without the other.
- Hope Bringer: His only and greatest superpower: the ability to inspire courage and hope through his nobility and heroism.
- Human Popsicle Tony calls him a "Capsicle."
- Humble Hero:
Schmidt: What makes you so special?
Captain Rogers: Nothing; I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.
- Hunk: Post-serum; just ask Peggy or that one secretary.
- Hurting Hero/Iron Woobie: Imagine waking up after a 70 year coma to find that almost everyone you loved and cared for has died of old age; and all that you fought for, believed in and stood for is consumed by the apathy and cynicism of a disillusioned and materialistic world. Now ask yourself, can you take it as bravely and gracefully as this boy can?
- Ideal Hero: He had the core from the start; it's why he was chosen to be Captain America.
- Ill Boy: Before the serum, he had a long list of medical problems, which would have kept him out of the army under normal circumstances.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: His shield, which is made of Vibranium. Not even Thor's hammer can put a dent in said shield.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: This is why the Super Serum was so effective; there's nothing bad in him to amplify, leaving only the good qualities.
- In Harm's Way: By the time of The Winter Soldier, Steve doesn't know what to do with himself if he's not in the field fighting bad guys. The problem is, he doesn't know who the bad guys are anymore. A flabbergasted Natasha flat out asks Steve why he looks so happy after finding out that his Heroic Sacrifice was for nothing, and that everything he believed in was crashing around him. He just says, "I guess I like to know who I'm fighting." For better or worse, fighting the good fight has become who Steve is.
- Irony: Funny, isn't that a tall-and-muscular, blonde-haired blue-eyed, ideal Aryan-Ubermensch fighting Nazis over there? It's double ironic when you consider that this "ideal Aryan Ubermensch" came from a sickly, physically unimpressive orphan — the exact type of human the Nazis would've deemed inferior. According to some interpretations, this was precisely the point.
- Jack of All Stats - Non-game example, relative to the his position and strengths/weaknesses on the Avengers:
- He's physically stronger and faster than human Bruce Banner, Tony Stark out of the suit, and other humans, but Thor, Iron Man and Hulk out-rank him in raw damage output, speed and strength.
- He is intelligent and quick-thinking, not brilliant on-par with Bruce or Tony or cunning like Black Widow, but enough to asses a situation and develop a good solution in the heat of battle. He is also more culturally-adapted than Thor.
- His shield is also a great weapon capable of offense and defense, but it isn't as strong as Thor's hammer (though it can withstand it) or Hulk's fists, and he lacks the variety of weapons Clint, Natasha, and Tony have.
- Jumped at the Call: He'll always answer the call to heroism, even if it initially means putting on a goofy outfit and doing a silly show about war bonds.
- Jumping on a Grenade: Does this when Phillips throws a dud grenade. In The Avengers, it serves as the central theme of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech as Steve asserts that Tony Stark doesn't have the sense of self sacrifice it would take to lie on top of barbed wire while others crawled over him. Tony counters by saying he would simply cut the wire.
- The Kirk: The best description of his leadership style. He'll always put lives first, but he maintains the rationale of a seasoned soldier, which enables him to make tough decisions, such as ordering Natasha to close the Tessaract portal with Tony still on the other side.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Whedon considers "the greatest jaw in [The Avengers]" the main reason why Chris Evans can play a superhero and he can't.
- The Leader: Overlaps all Types. He's level-headed but also inspiring and capable of pushing a plan through opposition.
- He was one to the Howling Commandos back in WWII.
- In the modern era as New York City is invaded by the Chitauri, he gives orders to the other Avengers on how to contain the attack and to the NYPD on how to protect the civilians.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Serum made him much faster, much stronger and much tougher.
- Living Legend: By the 21st century he has trading cards. Tony Stark even refers to him as "a Living Legend that kind of lives up to the legend."
- It also serves as a parallel to the Winter Soldier's own Shrouded in Myth reputation. Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists, but the ones who do are terrified of him and his reputation as an near-supernaturally skilled, covert and ruthless assassin established over five decades, contributing to modern-day paranoia. Compare that to Steve, who is known everywhere and helped inspire old-fashioned idealism due to his own heroic actions during World War II.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: A symbolic weapon for him, since he's more about defending the innocent than punishing the guilty. He often uses it for a Shield Bash and a throw against his foes.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted. Pre-transformation Steve Rogers is terribly intimidated by women (owing to his small stature), even afraid to ask girls to dance with him. His apprehension remains after receiving the Super Soldier serum, even when women throw themselves at him. His brief macking with the secretary may very well be his first kiss.
- In Winter Soldier, after a Fake-Out Make-Out, Natasha teases Steve over being a bad kisser, implying that he's still not very experienced. Steve tries to deny that it was his first kiss since the 40's, claiming that he's "95 years old, not dead".
- Martyr Without a Cause: Steve has the tendency (left over from his skinny and sickly days) to consider his own life the least valuable asset in a given situation and jump immediately to throwing it away without considering another solution first. Best emphasized in The Avengers.
Steve: You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.
Tony: I think I would just cut the wire.
- Messianic Archetype: Born of humble origins, sacrificed himself for the good of the world, and returned in our Darkest Hour.
- Military Superhero: Well, he is Captain America.
- Mr. Fanservice: Fun fact: the pre-super-serum Steve Rogers was the CGI one. Chris Evans earned those abs.
- While it isn't quite a case of the Hello, Nurse! trope, women in-universe definitely notice Steve/Cap.
- Muscle Angst: Until he becomes a Super Soldier, he's insecure about his scrawniness, unable to believe he has anything to offer the world.
- Nerves of Steel: No one is braver than Captain America, not a man in Powered Armor, nor a green humanoid beast who can punch through mountains, or even a thunder god, and hence it is he, a mere mortal in comparison, who leads The Avengers. Best of all? He was already this brave when he was still a ninety pound asthmatic weakling.
- Nice Guy: He's not just 'nice', he's the paragon of traditional American virtue.
- No One Gets Left Behind: When he rescues the men from HYDRA.
- Now Let Me Carry You: Pre-serum, Bucky always protected Steve from bullies. Post-serum, Steve protected Bucky by getting him out of the HYDRA facility where he'd been captured.
- Odd Friendship: With Natasha Romanoff by The Winter Soldier. He's a straightforward soldier and she's a chameleon-like spy.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Atypically, not upperclass, but a common man of the people. He is, however, certainly a gentleman and most assuredly an officer.
- One-Man Army: Col. Phillips didn't believe one man could turn the tide of war. He was proven wrong.
- Best shown in The Winter Soldier. After getting trapped in an elevator filled with HYDRA soldiers (one of whom later gives fellow soldier Sam a hard time), Steve defeats them all without too much difficulty.
- The Paragon: Steve is such an ideal of heroism and justice that when he outs HYDRA's presence within SHIELD, everyone who isn't a HYDRA agent immediately takes action against the villains. No one doubts Steve's word for a second.
- Parental Abandonment: His father died of mustard gas in the first World War, while Rogers would've still been a baby. His mother was a nurse for patients with tuberculosis, caught it herself, and died when her son was a young adult.
- Parental Favoritism: He's not Howard Stark's biological son or even related to him, but Steve meant a great deal to the man who would father Tony Stark. Tony in turn would eventually come to resent Steve; according to Robert Downey, Jr., Steve is "the brother Tony could never live up to." To make things worse, Steve is ostensibly oblivious to this dynamic.
- Patriotic Fervor/My Country, Right or Wrong: It's shown to be more nuanced if subdued. While Steve does love the American Way and is willing to protect his fellow Americans, he's not the jingoistic type who's in it to kill Nazis or force his patriotism down everyone's throat. To expand on the original quote; "My Country, Right or Wrong. If Right, to be kept Right, if Wrong, to be set Right." This is best demonstrated in the second film, where Steve is happy to fight for virtues like freedom and human life, but is not so keen about over-policing and Real-politik.
- Personality Powers: The Super Soldier Serum "...amplifies everything inside. Good becomes great. Bad becomes worse." Thus, a good-natured and doggedly determined ninety-pound asthmatic from Brooklyn turns into the man all women want and all men want to be (or, you know, whatever).
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: A side effect from being frozen in the Arctic for nearly seventy years. Except when talking about flying monkeys, he has no idea what anyone's talking about.
- He's taking strides to avert this in The Winter Soldier. He has a bucket list that he apparently takes everywhere and updates as needed, and when Natasha makes a WarGames joke, he cuts off her explanation with, "I've seen it."
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: Due to his advanced skill and split second timing, Steve can always bounce his shield so it comes back to him.
- Preemptive "Shut Up": He does this to a SHIELD agent who tries to keep him, Hawkeye, and Black Widow from stealing a jet to pilot to New York. If he'll turn out to be anything like his comic counterpart, he'll become a lot better at employing this tactic.
Steve: Son, just don't.
- Primary-Color Champion: Invoked by the guys designing his costume. He's a PR guy selling war bonds so the colors are important to connect with the in-universe audience.
- Rated M for Manly: Action Hero soldier fighting in wars and doing missions for the MIB.
- Really 700 Years Old: Thanks to his 70-year slumber, Cap is technically the oldest of the Avengers (not counting Thor, who's an immortal god), but he's physically the youngest.
- Real Men Love Jesus
- Required Secondary Powers: Steve would not be able to use his shield effectively if not for his super-strength. As seen when Bucky tries to use it against a HYDRA trooper, the shield may be able to absorb the blast, but the recoil still sends him flying. Additionally, Steve is either really lucky, or is a math whiz with an understanding of practical physics to be able to make the throws he does.
- Returning War Vet: Leading Commando units in WWII preps you for leading superheroes against invading alien hordes.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: When the situation calls for it he will ignore orders to do what he thinks is the best course of action.
- Inverted when he returns from single-handedly rescuing the PO Ws; the very first thing he does is submit himself for disciplinary action.
- Secret Keeper: By the end of The Winter Soldier, he is one of the few who know that Nick Fury is still alive.
- Seen It All:
- Sherlock Scan: By The Winter Soldier he's shown to easily survey his surroundings for any tactical threats, even in a seemingly safe environment, such as a SHIELD HQ elevator.
- Significant Birth Date: According to his army enlistment form, his birthday is July 4, 1918.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: A key character point about Captain America is his firm idealism - he not only has ideals, he represents them. However, they are a product of a war that threw them away even before it was over and a time that was much less informed and cynical about the realities of warfare. He often wonders if the ideals he grew up with mean anything in today's world, or if they ever actually meant anything even in the old days.
- Small Steps Hero:
- Attempts to rescue a boy held at gunpoint by a Nazi spy and is willing to let the spy shoot him. (The spy was out of bullets.) Then he tries to rescue the drowning boy at the risk of letting a Nazi escape with the Super Serum. (Luckily, the boy can swim.)
- Saves 400 POWs, risking the life of the USA's only Super Soldier and the USO's Fake Ultimate Hero.
- In The Avengers, he rescues a bank full of innocent civilians while the rest of the team battles the Chitauri and Loki.
- In The Winter Soldier, he demands the complete dismantling of SHIELD, which both Nick Fury and the later Senate subcommittee protest to as it was America's best intelligence network. Cap isn't concerned with how anyone deals with this loss, because keeping it around is too dangerous.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: Even after he gets serum'ed, he has no idea what "fondue" is and thinks it's a sex metaphor. It gets even worse when he wakes up in the present and can't understand most pop culture references.
- Spy Catsuit: His stealth suit in The Winter Soldier is quite tight and darker than his other uniforms. His Captain America suit in The Avengers is noticeably skintight as well. It's even lampshaded by Loki, of all people.
Loki: The costume is a bit much, so tight...
- Static Character: In both films, Steve remains roughly the same person he started as. This is the whole point. Steve is a good, moral person who doesn't alter his morals when they're inconvenient, abandon them if it means dying for them, or compromising them because the world is gray. In fact, in The Winter Soldier, Steve is the character that causes everyone else's Character Development, because he doesn't accept the lies they're telling themselves and others.
- The Stoic: Cap is mostly understated in speech (though not opposed to smiling). The only time Chris Evans really hams it up is playing "Loki disguised as Cap" in Thor: The Dark World. He even commented that he always tried to avoid being that over-the-top.
- The Strategist: Able to instantaneously formulate ironclad attack patterns, formations and strategies based on split second assessment of the situation compared to the abilities of the warriors under his command. Had he not been present, the Chitauri would have ripped every innocent civilian in Manhattan to pieces, the Avengers too scattered and disorganized to protect them.
- Stunned Silence: He can only look on in disbelief when he sees that the Winter Soldier is his long-thought dead best friend, Bucky Barnes.
- Super Soldier: The serum made him taller, tougher, and stronger than other humans. Tony Stark is not impressed because he sees it as just Playing with Syringes, apparently unaware that the serum only worked because of Steve's genuinely kind personality.
- Super Speed: Downplayed, like most of his superpowers. He's not the Flash, but he does have a steady run speed of twenty-six miles per hour. For reference, Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, only managed 27.79 mph in a hundred-metre sprint, and thirteen miles per hour is considered extremely fast for a several-mile run.
- Super Strength: He can hit far harder than a normal human being, and can barge through thin concrete without slowing down.
- Super Toughness: He can take punches from Loki and keep going, and getting shot with a Chitauri weapon is only a non-fatal wound. The armor that his fanboy designed for him makes him even more durable.
- Superhero Packing Heat: He is shown using firearms in Captain America: The First Avenger. In The Avengers, however, aside from a brief scene where he steals a machine gun from one of Loki's Mooks, he sticks to his shield and fisticuffs.
- Technical Pacifist: As the embodiment of freedom and justice, Captain America tries to let his enemies live when possible. However, unlike most superheroes, he is a soldier and kills when necessary. He's also more than happy to allow his more morally ambiguous teammates do the dirty work for him.
Sitwell: Are you trying to imply that you'll throw me off this roof? That's really not your style, Rogers.
Cap: You're right, it's not. It's hers.
[Black Widow kicks Sitwell off the roof]
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He doesn't like Tony at all. The fires of battle help them forge their friendship.
- Throwing Your Shield Always Works: If he can't reach you with his arm, expect his shield to pay you a visit in the near future.
- Took a Level in Badass: This was essentially what his entire film was about — going from a scrawny Brooklyn boy to the ultimate soldier and still a Nice Guy by the end of it, which was why he was chosen.
- He takes another one in The Winter Soldier, where his combat skills have been refined. If they hadn't, even with the serum, he wouldn't have stood a chance against the titular villain.
- Transhuman: Strong enough to fight Loki one-on-one, fast enough to run thirteen miles in half an hour (and that's his morning jog, after which he's barely winded).
- Undying Loyalty: To his best friend Bucky, a sentiment that is clearly returned. When Sam tells him that regardless of whoever Bucky used to be, Steve may have to stop him, not save him, Steve recognizes that, but he also recognizes that he ultimately won't be able to do it if it came to that point. Exemplified at the end of the movie, where after stopping Project Insight, he drops his iconic shield into the Potomac below and resolutely tells Bucky he won't fight him, even after Bucky starts beating the crap at of him. The end of movie even has him and Sam go searching for Bucky instead of helping Fury in taking down the rest of the remnants of HYDRA.
- Unobtanium: His shield is composed of the only samples of Vibranium ever found by/given to Howard Stark.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Bucky. They trade insults as farewells.
- Warrior Poet: The most thoughtful and introspective of The Avengers, and quite a talented artist before his induction into superheroism.
- Weapon of Choice: His famous vibranium shield and a Colt M1911A1.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: This is why he finds Tony's materialistic-cynicism twice as grating as most people would.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: He's a bit younger than he looks, but his experience as a soldier allows him to see the best way to handle just about any battlefield situation, and in trying times makes him the greatest and most competent field leader to serve under, age be damned.
- Young and in Charge:
- The (physically) youngest member on The Team. His strength of character and his battlefield experience, however, make him the best fit for command.
- The best example is the first time the Avengers assemble as a team in the middle of a Chitauri-overrun New York; there is no prior discussion among the Avengers who takes the lead, but Steve starts issuing orders right away. What's most impressive is that he makes the Hulk — who, not too long ago, was trying to splatter Black Widow and Thor on the helicarrier — follow him with a few words:
And Hulk? [Hulk immediately looks at him] Cap: Smash
. [Hulk smirks with pleasure, and proceeds to do just that]
Sergeant James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes
Rogers' best and oldest friend, and later one of his assault commandos
. Before the experiment, Bucky was the one who always stuck up for Rogers and got the girl, and now that it's the other way around, he still takes it all in stride.
- Age Lift: Around the same age as Steve instead of starting out as his Kid Sidekick like in the comics. The Smithsonian exhibit gives his year of birth as either 1916 or 1917, making him older than Steve (b. July 4, 1918).
- Adaptation Distillation: In the comics, Bucky and Steve don't meet until after Steve is given the serum. They're still best friends, but there's a clear older brother/younger brother dynamic, with Steve as both a role model and mentor and Bucky the sidekick. In the original 1940s comics, their dynamic was very similar to the father/son-but-not-quite relationship between the contemporary Batman and Robin, but modern comics (read: Ed Brubaker) shortened their age gap to four years— giving Bucky the Age Lift that made him more of a partner than a sidekick, but still preserving the power dynamics. In the movies, they're closer in age and childhood friends, eliminating the Kid Sidekick trope and saving the writers from having to cram in a subplot about how they met, but this change also has the added benefit of giving skinny Steve someone who has always believed in and stuck by him. "Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky" was not something Steve could have said in the comics, no matter how much he values his friend.
- Alliterative Name: First and last name starts with a B.
- Badass Normal: He's a mundane, albeit very skilled soldier.
- Zola reveals that something was done to him before his disappearance that ultimately allowed him to survive his Disney Death, meaning that he was an Empowered Badass Normal to a degree.
- Badass in Distress: Gets captured by HYDRA along with several hundred other allied soldiers, prompting a rescue by Steve and catapulting the latter from chorus girl to Living Legend.
- Chick Magnet: He used to be this before Rogers got the Super Soldier serum. Then the chicks all got distracted by Steve. Bucky is not entirely graceful about the switch.
- Composite Character: Of Steve's same-aged childhood friend Arnold "Arnie" Roth and war-time Kid Sidekick James "Bucky" Barnes.
- Determinator: Steve finds him strapped to a table after torture and experimentation in a Hydra camp, but he won't escape without Steve, and when the 107th comes walking back into the American camp, he's not riding any of the vehicles they stole, he's up and walking right next to Steve at the front. Also a Determinator as the Winter Soldier.
- Friendly Sniper: He's the heroic long shot for the Howling Commandos.
- He's Just Hiding: In-Universe. When Steve is reading files after being thawed in the 21st century, Bucky's fate is listed as MIA, meaning S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks he might still be alive. They Never Found the Body. The sequel reveals his true fate.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Steve.
- Sacrificial Lion: Falls to his apparent death right before the final assault on the Red Skull in First Avenger.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: He's strapped to a table in Zola's research lab when Steve finds him.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Until Steve goes in and saves him.
- Undying Loyalty: To Steve. He'd follow his best friend into hell without any hesitation. Translates into the future, where seeing Steve is enough to cause his memories to start returning.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
Corporal Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader "Dum Dum" Dugan
Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader "Dum Dum" Dugan
A prisoner Rogers rescued from a HYDRA factory, and a hand-picked member of his commandos.
James Montgomery Falsworth
James Montgomery Falsworth
A Second Lieutenant in the British Paras and POW who joins Captain America's elite squad
- Badass Mustache: Not as pronounced as Dugan's, but he still has quite an impressive one, as the pictures show.
- Character Death: In a deleted scene in The Avengers, his file has him listed as "Deceased". How and when this happened are unknown.
- Composite Character: Of Union Jack I/James Montgomery Falsworth (name), Union Jack II/Brian Falsworth (camaraderie with Captain America & Bucky) and Percival Pinkerton (physical appearance, camaraderie with the Howlers).
- Elites Are More Glamorous: He is a member of the British Paras, but this isn't mentioned.
- Jumped at the Call: His response to going back to the death camp he just barely escaped? "Sounds rather... fun, actually".
- Mythology Gag:
- In the comics, he's the British equivalent of Captain America named "Union Jack". The film references this by having his uniform resemble the British flag◊.
- The Super Soldier video game goes as far as having Zola planning on turning Falsworth into Union Jack, but brainwashed and secretly working for Hydra. The actual moniker is never said.
- Nice Hat: A red beret, indicative of his being a paratrooper.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Honorable British Lord and member of the army.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Is a British Lord, though this isn't unusual - British officers were once drawn from the aristocracy.
- To Absent Friends:
Falsworth: [leading a toast with the other Howling Commandos]
To the Captain
"I will fight until the last one of these bastards will be dead, in chains, or crying like a little baby!"
A French resistance operative. He was rescued from HYDRA's prison camp by Steve, and joined his handpicked elite unit as the resident explosives expert.
Private Jim Morita
(American-Born Japanese) soldier from Fresno, California rescued by Steve. Jim endured the predictable prejudice towards his people after Pearl Harbor in spite of his patriotism. However, he soon proved himself a fierce and loyal battle-brother serving as the Communications Officer of Captain America's Howling Commandos.
- Badass Bookworm: Communications officer and a commando to boot.
- Character Death: In a deleted scene in The Avengers, his file has him listed as "Deceased". How and when this happened are unknown.
- Communications Officer: He handles the team's communiques, and also taps into the enemy's radios.
- Deadpan Snarker: The 'Fresno' comment is dripping bitter sarcasm.
- Token Enemy Minority: Subverted. He's a Nisei, meaning he has Japanese descent, but is American-born. He had to point this out when Dum-Dum thought he was this trope.
- Yellow Peril: Averted and Defied; It is to the film's credit that it shatters the despicable stereotypes of the 1940s to show that not every Japanese soldier was an enemy to America.
Gabriel "Gabe" Jones
Gabriel "Gabe" Jones
Prior to being rescued by Captain Rogers, Gabe was a Linguistics-Major graduate of Howard University who hoped to steal the hearts of European women with his winning smile, charming personality and fluency of multiple languages. Now his linguistic mastery has become an invaluable asset amongst the Howling Commandos.
Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR)
The Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R.) was the top secret Allied war agency during World War II. It was later absorbed after the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agent Margaret "Peggy" Carter
Agent Margaret "Peggy" Carter
"All we can do is our best. And sometimes, the best we can do is to start over."
A British Army Major and Operations Supervisor for the SSR. During then she oversaw the training of the recruits for the supersoldier program Project Rebirth, and took notice of the feeble yet determined candidate Steve Rogers. After Rebirth was cut short with only one successful result, Carter was the only SSR head who pushed for Rogers to remain involved in the war front, even personally aiding him in getting behind enemy lines when his superiors refused to let him get involved. Her efforts paid off, as Steve rescued hundreds of captured soldiers and became the war hero Captain America.
In between battle Rogers and Carter started to fall in love, but his final WWII mission resulted in Steve pulling a Heroic Sacrifice
against HYDRA's plan. He was presumed dead for rest of the century, and Peggy was reassigned to a desk job preventing full use of her talent. After she disobeyed orders and completed a mission meant for five agents instead, Peggy was contacted by Howard Stark with a new job offer: co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.
More than 70 years after World War II, Steve and Peggy reunited after his body was unthawed from the Arctic. Carter was now much older than him and bedridden, but the two expressed contentment that she had lived a full life, despite being unable to continue their romance.
Colonel Chester Phillips
Colonel Chester Phillips
The US Army Colonel in charge of the Super Soldier
project alongside Erskine. Upon first seeing Rogers (before the serum), he "wanted to cry" and had absolutely no faith in the young asthmatic. Even after the project worked, Phillips still considered it a failure because Rogers was its only product instead of the supersoldier army he hoped for. While Phillips went off to the battlefield, he intended for Rogers to be locked up in a lab - didn't work out quite so well as the Captain became America's greatest propaganda icon. After the Cap saved 400 prisoners from HYDRA, the two reconciled and worked together to bring down Schmidt.
- Badass Grandpa: Clearly an older man, but no less of a badass for it.
- Badass Normal: No superpowers here, just vast combat experience and a shotgun.
- Colonel Badass: When he goes into combat, he shows that he's very much a badass: He joins the fray in the final fight and coins the response to HYDRA agents' "cut off one head, two more will take its place" evil creed.
- Commander Contrarian: An approach that leaves him with egg on his face no less than twice.
- Cool Car: Procures Schmidt's monstrosity to help Cap stop him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Seeing as it's Tommy Lee Jones, it's hard to expect anything less.
- Good Is Not Nice:
- He may be on the heroically portrayed side in his film, but his words show he's not all that nice.
When you brought a ninety-pound asthmatic
army base, I let it slide. I thought, what the hell? Maybe he'll be useful to you, like a gerbil. I never thought you'd pick
him. [sees Pre-Serum Steve doing some very awkward jumping jacks]
Look at him. He's making me cry.
- Steve shows him that the two can go hand in hand and he noticeably becomes more respectful, leading to the below trope.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He has a good reason for not staging a mission to rescue the 107th: they are located 30 miles behind enemy lines in a heavily fortified area. They'd lose more men than they'd save.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dislikes Steve greatly early on, but warms up to him as he proves himself.
- The Neidermeyer: Averted. He turns out to be pretty awesome.
- Pet the Dog: Near the end of the film, he silently gives Peggy a file on Steve Rogers, to help her cope with the loss of the love of her life.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Not at first but Character Development turns him into one, starting from the moment Steve surrenders himself to disciplinary action and up to his final scene when he gives Peggy Steve's folder with a heartfelt look of sympathy.
- Sour Supporter: His reaction to Steve Rogers Jumping on a Grenade (dud) instead of his favored subject?
- Veteran Instructor: WW2 isn't his first rodeo.
Dr. Abraham Erskine
Dr. Abraham Erskine
"This is why you were chosen. Because a strong man, who has known power all his life, will lose respect for that power. But a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows compassion."
A German scientist and inventor of a Super Soldier
formula. He picks Rogers as the candidate out of an entire muscled platoon, believing that a weak man knew the value of strength, and knew that Rogers was a truly good man.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Defies and averts this trope. As Erskine notes; "many people forget" the first country the Nazis invaded was, in fact, Germany.
- Ambiguously Jewish: His name "Abraham", his resemblance to Albert Einstein, and his wife having been confirmed as Jewish in the tie-in comic all suggest this.
- The Atoner: Helped create the Red Skull.
- Character Death: The most clear in the film.
- The Chooser of The One: He chooses Steve Rogers to be Captain America.
- Cool Old Guy: For Example, in his conversation with Steve the night before the procedure about drinking.
- Death by Origin Story: He dies in the same scene as the birth of Captain America.
- Famous Last Words: Subverted, instead he gently smiles and points to Steve's heart as he dies, reminding him to never forget his promise to stay a good man.
- For Science!: Averted. He doesn't want to create a super soldier for its own sake; he wants to so this super soldier can do good in the world.
- Go Out with a Smile: Since he knows that if one person had to be picked to be the only one to get the full serum, it should have been Steve.
- Herr Doktor: Steve is initially surprised to see him because of this reason; His accent is German.
- Misery Builds Character: See his quote above; the reason he picked Steve is because Steve knows what it's like to be weak, and can empathize with those who can't defend themselves.
- My Greatest Failure: Allowing Schmidt to take the Super Soldier serum.
- Nice Guy: Insists on noble qualities for his super soldier because he wants it to be used to end the war. He clearly isn't lacking in noble qualities himself.
- Non-Action Guy: Not a fighter obviously.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: He intentionally kept all the notes to his super-serum in his head, as he didn't want anyone to replicate it and then misuse it.
- The Obi-Wan: To Steve; mentoring, empowering, dying; the whole nine yards.
- Parental Substitute: In their friendship Abraham was a gentle figure of wisdom and the man who allowed Steve Rogers to be reborn as a new man, effectively becoming his second father in every sense of the word.
- Token Enemy Minority: A German-born scientist working for the Allies in WWII.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Adamant in his belief that it takes a kind heart to create the ultimate warrior, not just loyalty or willingness to fight; hence his choice of Steve as his candidate for the Super Soldier Serum test.
"The moment you think you know what's goin' on in a woman's head is the moment your goose is well and truly cooked."
The founder and CEO of Stark Industries, and Tony Stark's father. During World War II, he was America's biggest military contractor, and one of the leading scientists behind the Super Soldier
project. He occasionally assisted Rogers in several missions during his tenure before returning to Stark Industries.
- Ace Pilot: The best civilian pilot in the USA.
- Bigger Stick: Working on a Super Soldier project either led to this kind of thinking or is his reason for being there in the first place. In any case, he's the page quote.
- Brainy Brunette: He built Stark Industries on technology and arranging military contracts.
- Break the Cutie:
- Strongly implied - in CA, Howard's cheerful, optimistic, and outgoing, as opposed to the bitter, emotionally-distant drunk he's shown to be in other films. Steve's "death" was likely a Cynicism Catalyst - Tony claims Howard couldn't stop talking about him decades later.
- The reveal in Winter Soldier that SHIELD had been taken over from within by HYDRA, and Howard knew about it, may have also had a lot do with his emotional turn later in life.
- Butt Monkey: To some degree, inventions wise. His hover car appears to work until it falls down to the ground, and when he's studying the Cube, he's Blown Across the Room.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Subverted. He plays one on stage to maintain the image, but he's actually strictly professional.
- Deadpan Snarker: To a lesser degree than his son.
- Of Howard Hughes, specifically Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator, especially apparent in the Agent Carter short.
- Of his son, Tony (he has a mustache but no beard, like how Tony was drawn for many years until the Heroes Reborn introduced the bearded look)... and Walt Disney. Check out the plan for his expo!
- For Science!: His main reason for creating his inventions. He's not pleased when his partner Anton Vanko is Only in It for the Money.
- Insufferable Genius: Like father, like son. Though with a strange sense of modesty.
Howard: Speaking modestly, I'm the best mechanical engineer in this country, but I do not know what's inside this [HYDRA submarine] or how it works.
- It Runs in the Family/Like Father, Like Son: Technological genius with a streak of showmanship who dresses very well and becomes involved with superheros.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tony may not know about this until after he's dead, but he's very loyal and benevolent to Steve; not that it helps Tony's case.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Hinted at in Winter Soldier. When Natasha questions why SHIELD never caught on to HYDRA's infiltration, Zola smugly remarks "Accidents will happen." News clippings of the Starks' deaths then appear onscreen.
- Mad Scientist: He's got the tendencies, even if he doesn't have the attitude.
Howard: Seems harmless enough. Hard to see what all the fuss is about.
[touches energy bit, massive explosion blows him back]
Howard: (Dazed, yet unconcerned) Write that down.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: In The Winter Soldier, it's revealed that the car accident that killed him and his wife was in fact an assassination arranged by HYDRA.
- Mr. Alt Disney: The people that wrote his expo jingle are the same people that worked for Walt himself.
- Non-Action Guy: He's no fighter.
- Parental Favoritism: The fact that Howard, always a distant and hard-to-please dad, "never shut up" about Steve Rogers is a thorny point with Tony by the time The Avengers rolls around, fueling his initial dislike of Steve.
- Parental Neglect: Howard was proud of Tony and left him the map to creating a new element, but it sounds like he was as bad at communicating his feelings as Tony.
Tony: He was cold, calculating, never told me he loved me, didn't even tell me that he liked me, so it's a bit hard for me to digest that he said the whole "future is riding on me" thing. You're talking about a man whose happiest day of his life was shipping me off to boarding school.
- Possibly Fridge Brilliance: He knew he was in danger, and Tony being far away from him and safe may have been why he was happy about it.
- Posthumous Character: Averted in The First Avenger, Agent Carter, and the one-shot he appears in, due to their taking place in the 1940's, but in the modern-day setting of most of the films, Howard is long dead.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Howard Stark had access to the Tesseract but was unable to do anything with it beyond building the Arc Reactor, which was "never cost-effective." It is implied that this was due to the fact that Stark was limited by the technology of his time (he knew how to make it work but he didn't have the technology to implement those ideas). It is also possible that the Tesseract wasn't putting forth the same power that it was before. note He also developed an antigravity car in 1942, but was never able to "iron out the kinks" by the modern day, apparently for the same reasons.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! And Money: Howard develops weapons for the military, which is why he wasn't punished for helping Steve with his Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right.
- The Smart Guy: In-charge of improving Cap's shield and costume.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: After CA apparently, as he didn't exhibit any real Jerkass tendencies during WW2; only a very mild dig at Rogers not noticing the radioactivity of a cube fragment.
Samuel Thomas "Sam" Wilson / The Falcon
Samuel Thomas "Sam" Wilson / The Falcon
A counselor at the Washington D.C. V.A. hospital who was formerly with the USAF Pararescue unit. He uses a winged flight suit in combat.
- Animal Motifs: Falcons, obviously. Probably not as much as his comic book counterpart who has an actual falcon as his crime-fighting sidekick companion, but the winged flight suit means the imagery is still there.
- Badass: A highly competent hand-to-hand fighter, as well as very handy in the air.
- Badass Beard/Badass Mustache: Check the picture.
- Badass Normal: Just a normal man with special training, and he managed to outfly SHIELD fighters, and take down a Helicarrier almost entirely by himself.
- Birds of a Feather: Puns aside, this is why he and Steve click so well: they're both relentlessly good guys, veterans, dedicated to helping others, and even had similar experiences in war, having to watch as a close friend fell to his death during what should have been a routine op.
- Black Best Friend: Downplayed. His character and parts of his background are established before he goes saving the day with Steve.
- Clothes Make the Superman: His comic book counterpart's psychic connection to birds is not mentioned; his combat prowess is due to the retractable wings on his suit.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. Maria Hill calls him "Falcon" during the Winter Soldier climax.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Is a veteran of the 58th Pararescue Squadron, a USAF unit of Special Forces-level combat medics dedicated to gunship rescues of downed pilots Trapped Behind Enemy Lines.
- A Friend in Need: Does not hesitate to open his door to the fugitive Steve and Natasha.
- Home Guard: A member of the Air National Guard, which is to the USAF what the National Guard is to the US Army.
- The Lancer: He winds up becoming this to Steve. As a heroic war veteran, he strikes a contrast with Steven because he has a different sort of unique ability. This is especially at the end of The Winter Soldier where they tag team Project Insight.
- Jet Pack: His flight suit is basically a jetpack with wings, although it doesn't work when the wings are torn off during the final battle — Sam has to deploy a parachute to land safely.
- Jumped at the Call: Needs all of zero convincing to jump in and help Steve and Natasha. He's also on board with Steve in tracking down the recovering amnesiac Bucky in the post-climax.
Sam Wilson: Dude, Captain America needs my help. There's no better reason to get back in.
- Military Superhero: Like Steve, Sam's a war veteran.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Wears a black suit, like the Ultimate Marvel Falcon but not the one from the regular comics (to the chagrin of Mackie, who wanted the red and yellow costume).
- My Greatest Failure: Haunted by the loss of a close friend in his unit. However, he's learned to deal with the trauma from it by the time of the film, and keeps an upbeat attitude.
Sam: Some stuff you leave there, other stuff you bring back. It's our job to figure out how to carry. Is it going to be in a big suitcase, or a little man-purse? It's up to you.
- Nice Guy: And he's on the same level as Steve, a reassurance that the morally gray modern days still have people as decent as him.
- The Not-Love Interest: Sam is the one who is most emotionally supportive of Steve, tries to get him to talk about his feelings, and establishes an instant rapport with him. The way he's introduced before the plot is and immediately clicks with Steve, combined with the aforementioned emotional support, means he fills a lot of the functions of a typical superhero movie girlfriend.
- Not So Different: Acknowledged In-Universe, but he and Steve are quite similar as both are war vets who return home unable to truly adjust to the world they left behind. Both lost their best friend and are genuinely nice people to boot.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Downplayed. Though he's still a Badass Normal, he has some trouble holding his own without his flight suit and is trounced by superhumans like the Winter Soldier. One example is his fight with Rumlow; Sam, a military veteran who's been out of the field for a while, is pushed down but refuses to give up, while Rumlow, a seasoned STRIKE agent who's still in action, overcomes him repeatedly and may have won if not for an entire Helicarrier crashing on him.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Provides one of the best examples in the MCU to date when Brock Rumlow starts monologuing about the hopelessness of the good guys and how they should all bow to HYDRA:
Sam: Man, just shut the hell up.
- Superhero Packing Heat/Guns Akimbo: Wields a pair of guns in his flight suit, which flip out from the backpack to be put in his hands.
- Ship Tease: According to Mackie, Sam has a crush on Black Widow. However, she doesn't know about it and Sam's only hints of it are when he gives her a friendly greeting upon first seeing Natasha and later insisting they get medical help for her after she's shot in the shoulder.
- Two First Names: Just like his actor.
- Undying Loyalty: It's subtle, but it's clear that Sam has pledged his to Steve. He decides to go with Steve on his search for Bucky, even though earlier in the movie he tried to convince Steve that it was very likely that Bucky couldn't be saved.
The following list is for SHIELD agents who appear prominently in Captain America
films. For other SHIELD agents, see here
Secretary of Defense Alexander Pierce
Secretary of Defense Alexander Pierce
"To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down. And that makes enemies."
A member of the World Security Council and old comrade of Nick Fury. He is one of the primary heads of Project INSIGHT, and leads an investigation on all suspects of the assassination attempt on Nick Fury... including Captain America.Warning: Major unmarked spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier below.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, Pierce is a standard, good guy agent. In the movie, he's not only the Big Bad of the second film, but also a part of HYDRA.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Comic Pierce has black hair, the movie version has Redford's natural red.
- Age Lift: Pierce is a young man in the comics, somewhere in his thirties, and not even half of Redford's age.
- Badass Boast: His retort to Nick Fury's line in Broken Pedestal below.
Alexander Pierce: You already did. You will again, when it's useful.
- Big Bad: Of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Bigger Bad: Of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., while the first season's Big Bad is a mysterious Diabolical Mastermind who calls themself the Clairvoyant who is actually a HYDRA mole within S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Big Bad Friend: To Nick Fury, who he tries to have killed rather quickly.
- Broken Pedestal: He was the man who appointed Nick Fury as Director of SHIELD and was The Mentor to him. The revelation that he was Evil All Along greatly upsets Nick.
Fury: You know, there was a time when I would have taken a bullet for you.
- Composite Character: Of Alexander Goodwin Pierce, as far as the name goes, Robert 'Rebel' Ralston, in being an old friend of Fury's who was in an oversight position over SHIELD, not to mention being drawn to look like Redford for a time, and Aleksander Lukin, the Winter Soldier's master. His motives and high position evoke shades of Number One of the Secret Empire arc.
- Cool Old Guy: The fact that he's Robert Redford is reason enough, but he also argues defiantly with the World Security Council and has a good sense of humour.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: When it comes down to it, this is all he is, but the corruption is in a different way than most. Think of a kill list. People who, it's been decided, threaten the world's order enough that they must be killed to uphold it. From that, he's extrapolated the concept of figuring out what makes a person threaten world order, then removing the people who fit that profile in their dozens, or hundreds, or millions before they become threats. Never mind "innocent until proven guilty". Never mind those on kill lists have usually actively resisted less lethal alternatives. It's just another step...
- Deadpan Snarker: His remark about pointing out Algiers on a map qualifies. This is apparently a habit of his; at one point, one of the World Security Council asks Pierce to get any "snappy remarks" out of the way early.
- Detective Mole: He puts himself in charge of investigating Fury's "murder."
- Dying Alone: After being shot by Fury, he's left to die in his office, surrounded by the chaos he created, all the while still believing in HYDRA's goals.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- His daughter, whose near death at the hands of terrorists was what motivated his Start of Darkness. When he saw how his inaction would've cost her her life and how Fury's unauthorized heroics saved her, Pierce decided he'd rather have the power to stop threats before they occur, whatever the cost.
- He also expresses regret about the death of his maid, even though he personally killed her after she stumbled on his meeting with Winter Soldier.
- Evil Old Folks: One of the oldest people in The Winter Soldier (Redford was 76 at the time of filming.)
- Evil Redhead: Pierce has Redford's red hair, and is the current leader of HYDRA. Better than having a red face like the previous leader.
- Famous Last Words: "Hail HYDRA."
- Faux Affably Evil: At first, Pierce seems like another Nick Fury. He rails against the World Security Council much like Fury, has a friendship with Fury and is a fan of the Avengers. The reality is, he's a manipulative Jerkass who is a member of a dictatorial regime that was spawned in Nazi Germany and he himself is responsible for God-knows how many deaths over the years.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: A bespectacled remorseless mass murderer and HYDRA leader.
- Hannibal Lecture: After Natasha takes over his meeting, puts him at gunpoint and Nick Fury walks in, he gives one of these "at the end of the movie, telling Fury that seeing his aggressive stance on terrorism earlier in their lives is what inspired Pierce to actively stamp out any and all threats to peace. Giving that meant joining HYDRA, Fury is noticeably upset at the notion.
- Karmic Death: Shot twice by Nick Fury, the man he tried to kill and whose "death" set the motion of the events in the film.
- Kick the Dog:
- When his housekeeper unexpectedly returns and stumbles onto his meeting with the Winter Soldier, he shoots her twice with only the most minor of regrets.
- While trying to get a mission report from the Winter Soldier, Pierce slaps him in the face when he proves unresponsive, then has him subjected to a painful memory wipe, ignoring the Soldier's screams of agony as he walked away.
- Knight Templar: Seems to genuinely believe that HYDRA's work is for the good of mankind.
- The Man Behind the Man: The one who's pulling the strings of the Winter Soldier. He is also HYDRA's modern day leader.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's successfully manipulated SHIELD for years, and does a good job for manipulating the World Security Council, Captain America and even seasoned chessmaster Nick Fury.
- Mole in Charge: He is a HYDRA plant within SHIELD and he's basically Fury's boss. After Fury's death, his control of SHIELD is essentially rock-solid.
- The Needs of the Many: He justifies his plot to murder twenty million people by saying their deaths will save billions.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Unusually for a superhero movie, Pierce does not appear to have any physical combat capabilities. note However, he knows how to use guns and hidden kill-gadgets, and given that he is in command of virtually all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resources (including legions of SWAT teams, multiple helicarriers, and The Winter Soldier), he is still extremely dangerous.
- Obviously Evil: He frequently discusses his desire to create a new world, and the trailers prominently featured his line "Sometimes, creating a new world means having to tear the old one down. And that makes enemies". Does that sound like something a hero would say?
- Oh Crap: Multiple ones, during the Finale.
- First when Black Widow reveals that she infiltrated the Council and takes out his guards. Pierce can only watch in surprise.
- Then, when Nick Fury reveals he survived the assassination attempt. Pierce respond with a grimace but tries to save face with a quip.
Pierce: Did you get my flowers?
- Last when, Black Widow shocks herself to disable Pierce's kill-device on her. This time his shock of trying to figure out what just happened buys time for Fury to grab a gun and shoot him.
- Remember the New Guy: Introduced as friend and superior of Nick Fury's, a member of the World Security Council, despite not appearing among them in The Avengers. Almost all the WSC members seen here are new, though, so it's possible The Avengers either didn't show all the members or there was a change in staff in the time since.
- Running Both Sides: For most of The Winter Soldier, he's in charge of both SHIELD and HYDRA.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Wears a gray three-piece suit.
- Smug Smiler: When Fury turns up alive, he can only smirk. Alan Dale's World Security Councillor even calls him a "smug son of a bitch" which is a very accurate description.
- Two First Names: Alexander and Pierce.
- The Unfettered: The ends justify the means for Pierce, so he doesn't bother limiting his means; early in The Winter Soldier, he tries to have his old friend Nick Fury assassinated. Then there's Project Insight.
- Villain with Good Publicity:
- He refused a Nobel Peace Prize Award because he supposedly felt that peace wasn't something you achieve and then get a prize for; it's something you must forever strive to attain and defend.
- He remained a very high-ranking SHIELD agent until Captain America revealed that he was also the leader of HYDRA.
- Walking Spoiler: Being an essential character in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie, a great deal of his role consists of spoilers.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Pierce believes himself to be one of these, but it falls short when one considers that the intended targets of Project Insight were all people who stood to threaten HYDRA, rather than the world as a whole.
Agent Brock Rumlow
Agent Brock Rumlow
A SHIELD operative working with Captain America and leader of SHIELD's STRIKE team.
Agent Sharon Carter / Agent 13
Agent Sharon Carter / Agent 13
A S.H.I.E.L.D. operative in the modern day, and Peggy Carter's niece.
- Action Girl: Downplayed, but she's a SHIELD agent and a highly proficient shooter. Though she doesn't do very well against Rumlow as she was standing far too close.
- Adaptational Wimp: Somewhat. In the comics, Sharon is a top agent of SHIELD since her first appearances, a Badass Normal who can hold her own against a few supervillains and has no trouble keeping up with Black Widow in the field. In the movie, she is easily dispatched by Rumlow, and Word of God is that she is a rookie.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: In her appearances at the Triskelion.
- Badass Normal: A SHIELD agent with no superpowers.
- Body Guarding A Badass: Chosen by Nick Fury to protect Steve, called history's greatest soldier by Fury himself.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Inverted, she's referred to as Agent 13 most of the time. We don't even learn her first name until the final scene, and even then her last name and thus relation to Peggy isn't mentioned.
- Demoted to Extra: She's a main character in the comics, but she has only appeared in one movie with a tertiary role.
- Family Business: Follows in her relative Peggy Carter's footsteps as a secret agent.
- Flat Character: Outside of being a rookie and a tease to state that she is indeed Peggy's niece, there isn't much else is shown about her to give her character.
- Even that is only gleaned from cast and crew interviews. What you get from the movie is that she's a SHIELD agent and wants nothing to do with HYDRA.
- Generation Xerox: Downplayed; she physically resembles Peggy but has blond hair instead of brown. It's more noticeable in terms of personality and abilities: she's an excellent markswoman and very serious at her job as an agent, just like her aunt.
- Girl Next Door: She initially poses as Kate, a nurse who lives next door to Steve.
- Good-Looking Privates: She's the only SHIELD agent shown with her collar and top buttons unbuttoned. And absolutely gorgeous.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blonde, and a loyal agent of SHIELD.
- Secret Identity: Kate, a nurse and Steve Rogers' neighbour, is actually SHIELD agent Sharon Carter, with the mission of keeping an eye on him and protect him if needed.
- You Are Number Six: Referred to in press material as Agent 13.
The Red Skull's private army, which was originally the Nazi science division but then developed Tesseract powered weaponry and broke away to become their own faction. Facism and conquest of freedom is still their core philosophy, and world domination their goal.
"Cut off one head, two more shall take its place! Hail HYDRA!"
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: They got three of them, the Insight Heli-carriers, armed with some really powerful and accurate long-range gun batteries.
- As Long As There Is One Man: A villainous version. "Cut off one head, two more shall take its place." As shown in The Winter Soldier this is a true statement. As the last remainder of HYDRA, Zola managed to reconstruct the organization from within SHIELD in a far more subversive manner than the overt methods of Red Skull.
- Back from the Brink: After the SSR and the Howling Commandos all but destroyed HYDRA in the 1940s, Zola did this to the organization, rebuilding it within the nascent SHIELD.
- Badass Creed: See the quote above.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Zola's algorithm combined with Shield surveillance technology and infrastructure. Stilwell spells it out for Cap and Widow.
- Cool Plane: Two: The Valkyrie bomber, a flying wing aircraft based off the Horten H.XVIII prototype, and the Red Skull's personal helicopter, based off of the Triebflügeljäger.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Their plan for The Winter Soldier- simply disappear and integrate into the present, stirring up enough trouble so as to scare the peoples of the world into giving them dominance. They were literally less than a second away from succeeding in this.
- Determinators: Like the mythological Hydra, the Red Skull's troopers will only keep coming after every seemingly fatal blow, more dangerous than before.
- Elite Mooks: The massive HYDRA troopers who wield dual cannons and flamethrowers.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Averted in WWII, where the members appear to be primarily German just like the Nazis, though they never actually claim to be racial supremacists. The current version has multiple offshoots worldwide, and includes dedicated members of different races and genders determined to bring a New World Order.
- The Evils of Free Will: Their core philosophy and why they justify a fascist form of government. However, they sorely pay for it during World War II, and thus decide to become subtle about it and trick citizens in voting away their own freedom for security.
: HYDRA was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. What we did not realize
was that if you try to take that freedom, they resist. The war taught us much. Humanity needed to surrender its freedom willingly.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Standard issue blaster.
- Gas Mask Mooks: It's unknown why they dress like this.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy:
- Knight Templar: Post-Red Skull their new leadership seems to sincerely believe they are bringing law and order to a chaotic world. For all their talk of peace and saving lives, their list of targets include Tony Stark and President Ellis. It's not so much "people who are threats to the world" as "people who will challenge HYDRA's status quo".
- A Million Is a Statistic: They view 20 million people targeted by Zola's algorithm as a small price to pay to unite the world under their banner.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Villains, but still it's different from their green outfit from the comics.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: HYDRA is a weapon R&D place in a frigid mountain area that wants to take over the world.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Becomes this by the time of the modern day. They don't employ the Sorting Algorithm of Evil and send everything they've got at you from the very beginning. They aren't keen on Evil Gloating unless they're stalling for time. They also don't explain what their exact plans are, only general goals and beliefs (which just might convert you to their side). This is Lampshaded by Zola, who says that World War II taught them how to be Dangerously Genre Savvy.
- Not So Different: From S.H.I.E.L.D., with Pierce even pointing out that their enemies are HYDRA's enemies.
- Putting on the Reich: Inverted, instead they take off the Reich and become their fascistic faction, though retaining some Nazi traits. Later they lose the "racial supremacist" bit when Armin Zola reforms them. They're plain neo-fascists now.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: From the Nazis.
- State Sec: Started off as this, growing from a research division to a high-tech army. Then the Red Skull goes rogue, and becomes a splinter faction. It gets zig-zagged when they infiltrate SHIELD.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler powered by Ghostapo: They were originally formed as the Nazi science division, and were led by a man with a fascination with mythological artifacts. That man eventually discovered the Tesseract, and with it created the most technologically advanced army on Earth yet.
- Take Over the World: Their mission statement. Past and present incarnations both.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When they go after Fury their foot-soldiers don't skimp on the dakka.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Used to be, but they broke away.
- Took a Level in Badass: When HYDRA reformed under Zola, they got smart.
- Villainous Virtues: If nothing else, HYDRA members are immensely loyal and show bravery and self-sacrifice even in the face of death. The only two who subvert this are Zola and Sitwell and the former still upheld HYDRA's goals until his death, and even sacrificed his now-immortal computer life to try and kill HYDRA's sole remaining threat. Even the higher-ups, like Red Skull and Pierce, have Pet the Dog moments to their subordinates.
- We Are Everywhere: They have completely taken over SHIELD, to the point that there's no way of knowing who's loyal and who isn't until guns start shooting.
- We Have Reserves: Lampshaded by their very motto.
Johann Schmidt / Red Skull
"You are deluded, Captain. You pretend to be a simple soldier, but in reality you are just afraid to admit that we have left humanity behind! Unlike you, I embrace it proudly! Without fear!"
A brilliant yet completely insane German scientist during World War II. He's the head of the Nazi party's deep science division HYDRA. His pursuit of power from Norse Mythology
turned him into a greater threat than Adolf Hitler
himself. Being a Super Soldier prototype
doesn't hurt either.
- Affably Evil: Towards Zola, anyway. He even gives him his Cool Car so that he can find a way out of the exploding base.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Initially, then he becomes even worse.
- Ambition Is Evil: When your ambition is to rule the world because you believe yourself to be a higher form of life, it can be fairly called 'evil'.
- Ax-Crazy: Everyone recognizes him as insane and his methods of employee discipline are horrific.
- Badass: Dented Steve's first shield with a single punch, which is why he needed the one made of Vibranium.
- Badass Baritone: As expected from Hugo Weaving.
- Badass Longcoat: As fits any Nazi officer, Schmidt is often seen in a black leather trenchcoat.
- Bad Boss: See You Have Failed Me.
- Bald of Evil: Post-procedure, though his false face still has hair.
- Big Bad: He forms HYDRA, seeks out the Tesseract and plots to take over the world. Including Germany.
- Body Horror: To paraphrase Mr. Plinkett, "Oh my God, what's wrong with the Red Skull's face?!"
- Brutal Honesty: When the Nazis visiting his base to see what the hell he's up to figure out he's a traitor, he admits it straight away.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Unlike the subtler modern-times villains faced in Winter Soldier or by the likes of Tony Stark, Red Skull isn't trying to fool anybody. He's a murderous megalomaniac with a skull for a face, and proud of it. Zola even points out how much of a failure Red Skull's blatantly evil approach to world domination was, and how the new HYDRA has found vastly greater success with Alexander Pierce's subtler velvet glove approach.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Due to the Super Soldier serum.
- Clarke's Third Law: He came up with it before Clarke himself.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played with. Schmidt is only called "Red Skull" once in The First Avenger, and he doesn't seem to care for the name. Averted in The Winter Soldier, where he is exclusively referred to as the Red Skull.
- Composite Character: Of the Skull, Baron Strucker, and the first Baron Zemo.
- Cool Car: Quite proud of it!
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: After seeing Cap take down soldier after soldier when invading his base, Schmidt decides to simply activate the Self-Destruct Mechanism rather than try to fight this guy. Prison break? No problem. Rampaging Super Soldier? No thanks. Same for when he has Cap at his mercy - no complex torture or death trap, just a Tesseract-pistol shot to the head. His only problem was the Just Between You and Me speech; it was a few seconds too long.
- Deadpan Snarker: When a soldier says his unit 'fought to the last man' he replies 'Evidentially not,' and kills him.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Until he and HYDRA broke off on their own and renounced the Nazis entirely, fulfilling said agenda.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Same as Steve.
- Evil Counterpart: Much like Cap, he had been injected with the serum. Unlike Cap, he betrays his own country, has nothing but contempt for those lesser than him, and is hell-bent on world domination.
- Eviler than Thou: To the Nazis.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: It does when an imperfect Super Soldier Serum encounters pre-existing evil.
- Evil Plan: Use the Tesseract to create super weapons and take over the world.
- Evil Sounds Deep: A Eviler than Thou Nazi psychopath with a deep voice.
- Exact Words: He states that HYDRA was formed to eliminate his enemies. This does not go unnoticed by his Nazi auditors.
- Facial Horror: His entire head is a deformed, red skull shape, albeit with eyes, due to taking the unfinished Super Soldier serum.
- Faux Affably Evil: The first thing he says to Captain America is "I am a great fan of your films!".
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Initially just a Nazi scientist, the serum turned him into a real asshole.
- Genius Bruiser: A brilliant scientist and military tactician and also strong enough to put a dent in Steve's metal shield.
- A God Am I: Has one hell of a god complex and gets deflated whenever Cap calls him out on it or acts humble despite his own commensurate super power.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: A great deal of his wardrobe is leather, especially his longcoats.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He apparently looked better before taking the serum.
- Lack of Empathy: It's because he views other humans as ants. Why should a superior being care about something so insignificant?
- Large Ham: Notably when he losing control. Of his temper or the situation or both.
- Latex Perfection: His normal human face was evidently an example of this but it's actually averted at a few points: the neck sometimes has problems fastening so that the red flesh can be seen underneath.
- Narcissist: Has one of his minions paint a portrait of him with entrails.
"This want not meant for eyes of ordinary men."
- Never Found the Body: It's unclear as to exactly what happened to Schmidt after he grabbed the Tesseract. In-universe, however, he's presumed to be dead.
- The Noseless: Justified; he's a skull and the nose is made of cartilage rather than bone.
- Obviously Evil: Come on, he's a genocidal Nazi control freak with no empathy, a giant trenchcoat and a freaking skull for a head. Everyone, even Zola, can tell from the start that he's bad news.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His plan for bombing his enemies includes Berlin. No place is safe from him.
- Personality Powers: The Super Soldier Serum "...amplifies everything inside. Good becomes great. Bad becomes worse." Thus, a psychopathic Nazi who gave Adolf Hitler the creeps essentially becomes an Omnicidal Maniac and even crazier than ever, with power to match his madness.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Schmidt could have easily left Zola to die, but instead gives him the keys to his Cool Car...Because someone has to drive it out of the exploding base.
- Psycho Prototype: His serum was flawed (and he's evil) so it made him more psycho then he already was.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After Schmidt's transformation, Hitler "gives" him a secret base in the Alps. The Red Skull knows that he's really being exiled. However, it gives Schmidt enough privacy to turn HYDRA into his personal army.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Black trenchcoat with a red HYDRA symbol on it. And that's not even mentioning his head.
- Red Right Hand: He has a fleshy mask to cover it.
- Sanity Slippage: Towards the end his craziness goes Up to Eleven.
- Skull for a Head: It's in the name.
- The Social Darwinist: Expresses the view that the strong should rule and the weak are expendable in the tie-in comic. However, his social Darwinism isn't tied to Nazi racist ideology, and he in fact indicates he's not a racist... mostly because he doesn't care about humanity at all anymore, so the distinction of race is meaningless to him.
- The Sociopath: Feels free to ignore morality and empathy because he was serumed - he is above humanity now. Why should he care for human morality?
- The Starscream: He has his minions chanting "Hail HYDRA". Eventually he's revealed to have Berlin as one of his targets for annihilation, and kills the Nazi officers who come to look through his projects.
- Super Soldier: Same as Steve. The serum helps magnifies everything about the subject, including their personalities and inner qualities (good becomes great, bad becomes worse). Schmidt, being decidedly insane and hungry for power, had all of his physical qualities enhanced but gained his grotesque appearance as a result of his psychotic personality. Steve, by contrast, basically became the paragon of humanity both physically and personality-wise, in part due to his genuine kindness and humility. That was why Erskine chose him for the project in the first place.
- Tear Off Your Face: Inverted. To show what he really looks like, he tears off his own face (or at least the false one) to show to Cap.
- Übermensch: Schmidt proclaims himself (and Captain America) to have left humanity behind, rejects outside ideologies in favour of one of his own design, and believes himself to be superior to lesser men.
- The Unfettered: A given for a sociopathic Übermensch; Schmidt was willing to wipe out millions of innocent people to prove his delusions of godhood.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He's a scientist first, and when he tangles with Cap it's clear his hand-to-hand combat training isn't at the level of guys like Winter Soldier or even Batroc the Leaper. He can still trade punches with Cap on an even basis since they're both products of the same super serum.
- Villainous Breakdown: "YOU ARE FAILING!"
- Villainous Legacy: He indirectly sets up the events of The Avengers via his discovery of the Tesseract; after his defeat S.H.I.E.L.D. claims it and Loki finds it through Eric Selvig. And then in The Winter Soldier we find out HYDRA outlived him and has continued on under new leadership.
- Villains Out Shopping: He recognizes Captain America on security monitors and calls to him by name, saying he's a fan of his films. These observations beg the question of what he does in his spare time. Considering that the people said films likely pit the Captain against are the Nazis that Schmidt has broken away from, that statement may not even be sarcasm.
- Visionary Villain: He has a vision of a world united under a single banner: his own.
Schmidt: I have seen the future, Captain! There are no flags!
- Wicked Cultured: Shows an appreciation for folklore (for business purposes) and has his picture painted the old fashioned way.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Though he manages it well and in fact it's all but stated by Zola, who notes that the sanity (or lack thereof) of his plans are irrelevant, because he can carry them out anyway.
- Worthy Opponent: He tries to regard Captain America as this, but not only does Steve care for it, but when Steve states that there's nothing special about him (in contrast to Skull's "ubermensch" speeches), the Red Skull has finally had enough.
- You Have Failed Me
HYDRA grunt: We fought to the last man!
Schmidt: Evidently not. [shoots the lone survivor]
Dr. Arnim Zola
Dr. Arnim Zola
Weapons designer for HYDRA, and right hand man to Schmidt.
The Red Skull's top assassin. Following Rogers' experiment, he kills Dr. Erskine and steals a vial of the Super Soldier
serum. He is caught by Rogers, and commits suicide.
The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier
"Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists. The ones that do call him "The Winter Soldier". He's credited with over two dozen assassinations over the past
— Black Widow
A mysterious assassin with strength and cunning to match Steve Rogers's own. They come to blows during Roger's new career in the modern day. Steve then finds out that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky, brainwashed by HYDRA and having no memories of his past life.
- Antagonist Title: The previous film's subtitle referred to Steve. This time, Winter Soldier takes the honor.
- Artificial Limbs/Red Right Hand: His left arm is a cybernetic replacement, with the Red Star engraved onto it.
- Ax-Crazy: A high-functioning example. He is a highly efficient, focused killing machine with all personality brainwashed away. If he stays out of cryofreeze too long ( or encounters an old friend), he starts remembering fragments of who he was and acting erratically.
- Badass: Enough to take Captain America in a fight, and easily deal with Black Widow and the Falcon. No one in the movie gives even as close as good of a fight to Steve as he does, and they were mostly dead even.
- Badass in Distress: Although he himself doesn't know it, he's actually been HYDRA's prisoner for the last 70 years. Any time he starts to become even remotely aware of this fact, they wipe his mind.
- Been There, Shaped History: Literally. HYDRA used him to shape the current era of paranoia that the world of espionage is today in order to achieve their own objective in convincing the world to reject The Evils of Free Will.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: His memories are constantly wiped to make sure he stays an emotionless killer.
- Character Tics: He has a habit of swinging his cybernetic arm around after it's been locked into place or otherwise, just to get it back into gear.
- Cold Sniper: Pulled off dozens of assassinations that shaped the course of history.
- Combat Pragmatist: The Winter Soldier will take the easy option in a fight if he gets it, no exceptions.
- Co-Dragons: With Brock Rumlow, to Alexander Pierce. Of the two, the Winter Soldier is much more dangerous, but tends to be held back unless he is needed.
- Cool Mask/Malevolent Masked Man: He wears a black cloth mask over his nose and mouth, and combines it with Sinister Shades.
- Darth Vader Clone: Masked? Check. Black clothes? Check. Cybernetic limb? Check. Long and messy hair? Check. Badass? Check. Former best friend turned evil? Check. Fallen Hero who has a personal connection to the protagonist and possibly switched sides at the end because of that connection? Check.
- Determinator: It makes him a counterpart to Steve in that he will go to any length to take targets down.
- Disney Death: As Bucky Barnes, he appears to fall to his death, out of a train, and straight down into an icy chasm below it, but he returns as the eponymous assassin in The Winter Soldier.
- Domino Mask: Doesn't wear one, but the black makeup around his eyes is painted in a style that resembles the domino mask of his comic book incarnation.
- The Dragon: He served as one to HYDRA as a whole over the past 60-odd years. In the movie itself, he acts as one to Alexander Pierce.
- The Dreaded: Even Black Widow, who has dealt with some of the toughest people imaginable, is apprehensive of him. Considering that the only person in the entire movie who was able to match him in a fight was Captain America, Living Legend and the guy that Nick Fury literally called the greatest soldier in history, it's not hard to see why.
- Judging by his reputation and Natasha's reaction to him, along with his superhuman status, it's entirely possible that he may be the greatest assassin in the world. Considered The Spook over the course of several decades, linked to over two dozen assassinations, and yet, in an age of paranoia wherein most of the world is in a surveillance-heavy state, the majority of the intelligence community doesn't believe he even exists. That alone makes a convincing argument, bolstering his status as the Dreaded.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: He's quite pale, contrasting with his dark hair and black outfit.
- Empowered Badass Normal: What's been done to him has made him powerful enough to hold his own against Captain America, casually dodge a speeding exploding car, and even catch Captain America's thrown shield from behind. However, his enhancements are secondary to his ruthlessness, marksmanship, and CQC skills.
- Evil Counterpart:
- For Captain America, as a seemingly immortal World War II soldier who ended up a villain instead of a hero. The fact that they were best friends deepens the parallel.
- For Black Widow, as an ex-Russian assassin who, unlike Natasha, never tried to atone for his past. Unlike her though, he was never capable of not following orders.
- Evil Wears Black: His outfit is completely black.
- Fake Russian: In-universe. He has a Soviet branding on his arm, uses old Russian slugs, and speaks Russian to his mooks at one point, but this is merely smoke and mirrors surrounding who he really is. He's an unwitting American turned into an assassin for HYDRA.
- False Flag Operation: Related to the Been There, Shaped History example above, it is implied that his cover identity was established by HYDRA to increase the tension that his assassinations brought out between America and Russia during the Cold War.
- Genius Bruiser: While not heavily involved in logistics per se, he's a very competent tracker and strategist.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Is slapped by Pierce when flashing back to his former life. Also a Kick the Dog moment, as this is one of the few times he's vulnerable.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: He has one that conveniently tucks away into his cybernetic arm. He uses it to tear one of the wings off The Falcon's suit.
- Gun Fu: Very skilled in this form of combat.
- Handicapped Badass: Lost an arm years ago, either from his fall in The First Avenger, or subsequent frostbite. It was simply replaced with a metallic one.
- The Heavy: He's not the primary villain of the show. That would be Alexander Pierce. Despite that, he's still the villain with the most emotional impact on the plot.
- Heel-Face Turn: When he starts showing cracks in his Brainwashed and Crazy absence of personality, his memories are immediately erased before he can act outside his mission. The next time the programming fritzes out, it's just in time to prevent him from beating Steve to death so he can then save Steve's life and walk away to find his past.
- Hero Killer: His apparent murder of Nick Fury gives off his vibe, and manages to give Cap a Heroic BSOD once he learns the masked man's idenity.
- Human Popsicle: His superiors kept him on ice unless he was needed.
- Implacable Man: There is no stopping him once he's let loose. Steve is literally the only person in the entire movie that was able to slow him down, and even then they were dead even when it came to pure combative skill. Only his resurfacing memories were capable of hindering him in his mission, and he only stops trying to kill Steve when the man absolutely refuses to fight him due to their past relationship, which only confused him due to his mental state at the time.
- Knife Nut: The film shows him using some pretty intricate knife-handling skills.
- Knight of Cerebus: While other villains in the MCU have their humorous moments, the Winter Soldier has none. His powers aren't particularly outlandish either, but whenever he shows up, expect a tide of death and destruction to follow his wake.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's extremely fast and agile and is shown outrunning Steve.
- Looks Like Cesare: His dark hair and the circles under his eyes give off this impression.
- Loss of Identity: Literally. He has absolutely no idea who he really is or that at his (true) age, he should either be dead or in a nursing home. All that really mattered to him was the mission until Steve came along. Justified is that HYDRA kept wiping his memory clean after all of his missions were finished.
- Meaningful Name: The Winter Soldier was dragged from ice, gets frozen between missions, and has the demeanor of a heavily-armed glacier. The phrase "winter soldier" references an investigation into war crimes committed by American soldiers in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, organised by Vietnam veterans - it was called The Winter Soldier Investigation. That, in turn, referenced a quotation from Thomas Paine, who described a "summer soldier" as someone who only serves their country when convenient. Thus the name connotes both cold and wartime atrocities.
- It also references Russian military history, to match his red star emblem, Soviet bullets, and use of Russian language. You do not fight a war with Russia during the winter time. You will lose. Just ask Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: While he's not technically a mercenary, and to anyone who's read the comics he's not especially mysterious, he otherwise fits this trope to a T.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: He comes out of freaking nowhere to attack, to the point where the first inkling anyone has he's there is his bullet going through his target. He has perhaps a total of eight lines, most of them delivered either flatly or in a state of complete and blinding rage.
- Not So Stoic: After Steve calls him by his nickname, and his memories get triggered as a result. Before that, The Winter Soldier was silent in battle. During the climax, as Steve tries to get through to him, he screams at Steve to shut up.
- Obviously Evil: Black leather fatigues, hides his lower face in a mask, either Scary Shiny Glasses or dark eye shadow, a metal arm with an engraved Soviet star, always armed with a BFG...
- One-Hit Polykill: In a tale told by Natasha, the Winter Soldier had targeted a nuclear engineer she was trying to get to safety. When she threw herself into the line of fire to shield the target, the Soldier simply fired through Natasha. She survived. The target didn't. Judging by her scar, Natasha only failed in literally fulfilling the trope through pure luck and speedy medical attention.
- Older Than They Look: He's as old as Steve, making him in his nineties, but has the appearance and body of a man a third that age. This is attributed to most of his time being spent in Suspended Animation. The villains revive him whenever they need someone eliminated then immediately freeze him again once it's done.
- One-Man Army: Showcases this best when singlehandedly taking out an entire squadron of SHIELD gunships, their crews, and any agents unlucky enough to get in his way.
- Professional Killer: One of the most infamous assassins in the MCU and unstoppable in combat.
- Quest for Identity: He begins with the Captain America Smithsonian exhibit seen earlier in the film.
- The Quiet One: You would be forgiven for not realizing he can speak. He talks during, at most, three scenes during the entire movie, the last of which he's screaming.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: At one point, Nick Fury barely manages to escape from an assault he leads, escaping to Steve Rogers' apartment. Within moments of Steve returning, the Winter Soldier has tracked down and severely wounded his target.
- Secondary Character Title: Despite being in the title and central to the plot, he mostly stays Out of Focus and really doesn't become active until the latter half of the movie, when he attacks Cap, Black Widow, and Falcon and Steve realizes his true identity. From there, he ultimately serves as Steve's final opponent and the main focus. Though the movie does a nice job setting up possible appearances for future installments.
- Shrouded in Myth: S.H.I.E.L.D. knows nothing about his origins and, until his attack on Nick Fury, have little proof that he exists. It nicely parallels Steve's own Living Legend status to hammer in the Evil Counterpart undertones of their relationship.
- Silent Antagonist: He almost never speaks, especially in action. Possibly because having him speak would have spoiled The Reveal.
- The Spook: Natasha explicitly described the Winter Soldier as "a ghost". Until Steve sees his real face, nobody really knows who he is or where he comes from.
- Spoiler Title: To the point that we have to hide his actor and none of the trailers have a particularly clear shot of his face - then again, for comic readers, it's a Foregone Conclusion.
- The Stoic: Until the climax, the Winter Soldier is nothing but cold, calm, and professional, to a point that it becomes machine-like.
- Submissive Badass: Despite arguably being one of the most dangerous men alive, the Winter Soldier is completely subservient to HYDRA, barring the occasional freak-out. The fact that his brain is all but fried probably has something to do with it.
- Super Reflexes: They let him pull off the shield catch mentioned. It may be thanks to his robot arm, as that's the one he uses to catch Steve's shield.
- In the movie proper, the only person fast enough match those reflexes is Steve, which makes sense seeing as Steve is the only other superhuman in the entire movie.
- Super Senses: He manages to hear Black Widow (or rather, a cellphone she put on playback to bait him) amidst a chaotic street.
- Super Strength: His metal arm is strong enough to easily overpower Captain America, tear off armored car-doors and fire high-recoil weapons with perfect accuracy. During his fight scenes, there's a distinct difference between the attacks he makes with his flesh-and-blood arm and the cybernetic arm - the former is for precision, the latter simple straight-up power.
- Some points in the film such as the part wherein he kicks a SHIELD pilot into a jet engine show that his flesh-and-blood body parts have somehow been enhanced as well likely due to his exposure to a Super Serum procedure similar to Cap's in the previous film.
- Tragic Villain: The Winter Soldier doesn't do what he does necessarily because he wants to. Decades of brainwashing and torture has fried his brain so much that despite being one of (if not THE) most dangerous men on the planet, he is a complete and utter Submissive Badass who is subservient to HYDRA and Alexander Pierce in particular. He doesn't know how to be anything but a weapon, meant to complete the missions assigned to him by any means necessary. Since he has no memories of his previous life, he doesn't bother to resist. Steve indicating that he was more than a weapon nearly spiraled him into a mental breakdown.
- Tranquil Fury: During the attack on the highway, Winter Soldier is outsmarted by Black Widow and shot in the eye. His bulletproof goggles save him, but the Soldier actually pauses for a while seemingly in alarm at how close to death he just came. He quietly takes off his cracked goggles... then unloads a full clip of gunfire right in Black Widow's direction.
- Unstoppable Rage: Inversely, he loses it and goes into a full roaring rampage when Steve refuses to fight him and keeps telling him he's really Bucky Barnes.
- There Was a Door: The Winter Soldier is not one for casual entrances. Many times he'll much rather rip a door right off the hinges when entering someplace.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: A sweet kid named Bucky.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the climax, he loses it when Steve keeps calling him "Bucky". When you consider how fried his brain his, this a completely logical reaction. He's only ever had a mission to worry about, and Steve has shattered his entire world, just by saying that he is more than the weapon HYDRA made him into, and he can't handle it. The only thing he can do is try to complete the final mission HYDRA gave him, and that's kill Steve. When Steve refuses to fight him and drops his shield into the Potomac below, all on the basis of a friendship that he [the Winter Soldier] doesn't even remember, it confuses the Winter Soldier so much that it pushes him to the verge of a complete and utter mental breakdown until he realizes that Steve is truly sincere.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: In quite the contrast to Batroc, who was unarmed and rather showy, the Winter Soldier does everything as efficiently as possible. Case in point, he uses grenade launchers, then he goes with an assault rifle and a sub-machine gun, then once those run out, he uses a sidearm, then he uses two knives, and he only uses his hands when he's out of other options. Aside from that, he also carries explosives on him.
- Walking Armory: Has three sidearms, a submachine gun and at least two combat knives for backup, with him alternating for a primary between an assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher, two separate grenade launchers and a Soviet sniper rifle that (while not seen) is his trademark weapon in the intelligence community.
- Walking Spoiler: With traces of Late-Arrival Spoiler; while comics fans weren't surprised, simply mentioning the Winter Soldier's real name spoils a fairly major revelation.
- Walking the Earth: At the end of the movie, trying to regain his damaged memories.
- Weapon of Choice: He switches between an M4 Carbine with a M203 Grenade Launcher, a Sig Sauer P226 and a Skorpion. He is also shown to have used a Soviet sniper rifle several times.
- Weapon Twirling: He twirls his knives as he draws them, showing almost inhuman dexterity in a bit of showmanship that is incongruous with his tendency towards brutal efficiency.
- Wham Line: "Who the hell is Bucky?"
- The Worf Effect: Everyone who goes against him who isn't named Steve is easily dealt with. Even Natasha, who put up the best fight after Steve, is quickly overwhelmed by the Winter Soldier's combat ability, while the Falcon, in his wing suit no less, suffered a very quick Curb-Stomp Battle. This is to build the drama and suspense of the film as while Steve is the only person who can (physically) beat him, he's also the person least capable with (emotionally) dealing with him because of the Winter Soldier's true identity as Bucky Barnes, his long thought-dead best friend.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
"It's not a world of spies anymore, not even a world of heroes. This is the age of miracles, doctor. And there is nothing more horrifying than a miracle."
The apparent leader of HYDRA after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier
and the death of Alexander Pierce.
An Algerian pirate who was a former French Intelligence agent before going rogue. His crew hijacks a S.H.I.E.L.D ship, the Lemurian Star
, and thus become targets of STRIKE and Captain America.
- Adaptational Badass: Batroc's considered something of a joke in the comics, although occasionally he proves to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain. Here he's able to put up a fair fight against a superhuman.
- Adaptational Villainy: Batroc in the comics is essentially a thief at best, and he has a strong code of honor that includes not harming innocent people. Here, he's a pirate leader fully willing to kill hostages and raid boats.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He practices savate, a kick-based martial arts with lots of flips. In the comics this is where he gets his full name "Batroc the Leaper". In the film, however, his style resembles more capoeira.
- Badass Beard/Beard of Evil: Batroc sports a goatee and mustache, though it's nowhere near as pronounced as his comic book Dastardly Whiplash mustache.
- Badass Normal: Able to hold his own against Captain America in hand-to-hand combat, and later manages to make an escape from Cap and Natasha make his way off the Lemurian Star despite being in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
- Blood Knight: After he lost his ship and his crew, he actually went back just to fight Captain America.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Referred to by his real name rather than his alias from the comic "Batroc the Leaper".
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Every fight with the guards on the ship was a Curb-Stomp Battle by Cap. Only when he gets to the last guy, their leader Batroc, does he find himself a challenge.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Batroc was ex-DGSE, with over 36 kill missions, before his commanding officers axed his career. He's also been issued a Red Notice by Interpol. note
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Unlike his comic book counterpart, he doesn't wear a helmet and even goads Steve Rogers into removing his own.
- Lightning Bruiser: Fast and strong enough to pose a challenge to Captain America.
- Mistaken Nationality: Some characters assume he's French, but he's actually Algerian.
- Misplaced Accent/Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite being Algerian, he sports Georges St-Pierre's native Quebecois accent.
- Nationality Lift: Is just plain French in the comics, and Algerian in the movie. He's still said to be a veteran of French Intelligence, and portrayed by an actor who doesn't look remotely North African.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: Batroc is more interested in getting his ransom from S.H.I.E.L.D., but his crew is openly vicious and ready to kill any hostages.
- Starter Villain: Serves as the main antagonist during the opening mission, before the film's main crisis begins.
- Tempting Fate: He demands that Captain America put his shield away so that the fight is fairer. Cap does... and then starts fighting even better than beforehand.
- Unsafe Haven: He escapes from the Lemurian Star but is eventually caught hiding in a safehouse in Algiers.
- Unwitting Pawn: He was hired by Fury himself in a move to get the USB MacGuffin off the boat under cover of rescuing the team.
- Worthy Opponent: Captain America sees him as one, even going so far as to not use his shield while fighting him to make it a fairer fight.