"Captain Cold... Captain Boomerang... they probably would have gone for it if I was a captain."There is a definite prejudice in Superhero comics towards using force rather than reason to sort things out. As a result, a fighting man with a military-sounding background gets more respect than a thinking man with a doctorate or a medical qualification. This is probably an inheritance from the early days of comics, where the patriotic World War II setting made military good guys obvious. The rank of "Captain" probably became common as, in the Army, it is low-ranking enough to be approachable and avoid the inevitable moral ambiguity of the most senior ranks, but high enough to deserve some respect. The upshot of this is that characters whose names begin with "Captain" are almost always good, unless explicitly subverting this or a Nazi. (In the case of a Nazi, or in the case of German officers from many other periods, the correct title Hauptmann could occur.note If the Nazi Captain is referred to as Kapitän we might have a research mistake, since Kapitän exclusively refers to the navy (Kriegsmarine) and merchant marine. Another trap for the unwary is referring to an SS officer of this rank as Hauptmann when he would in fact be a Hauptsturmführer.) "Commander" carries similar connotations to "Captain." As a naval rank, it's a likely designation for commanding officers in Space Navies. Not necessarily The Captain; in fact, The Good Captain is rarely seen leading anyone, despite his rank.
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Anime & Manga
- Busou Renkin: Captain Bravo— Good.
- The Captain from Hellsing: Evil because he's a Nazi, but shows occasional helpfulness to the goodies.
- On the other hand, Captain Pip Bernadotte stays on the good side to the end... and even after that.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Captain Viral — Became captain of the Chouginga Dai Gurren after his Heel–Face Turn.
- Captain Nanoha Takamachi - Good. Likes to befriend people.
- In Gundam, Captain Bright Noah of the White Base, Argama, Nahel Argama, and Ra Calium: Good, Team Dad, nicknamed "The Eternal Captain" (obviously for a good reason).
- Also from the Universal Century: Captain Eiphar Synapse, good. Captain Norris Packard, good for a Zeke. Captain Ethan Ryer, General Ripper of a Feddie.
- Zeta Gundam's Henken Bekkener of the Argama and the Radish. Good. Team Dad and Only Sane Man.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED's Captain Murrue Ramius of the Archangel: Good, Team Mom
- Captain Natarle Badgiruel of the Dominion: A Sergeant Rock, but still Good
- Captain Andrew Waltfeld of the Lesseps and Eternal: Anti-Villain, Heel–Face Turn to the heroes' side.
- Captain William Sutherland of the Earth Forces General Staff and later, the Doolittle: General Ripper, fantastic racist, Obstructive Bureaucrat, and The Dragon to Muruta Azrael. Bad. Very bad, and The Strategist to boot.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny's Captain Talia Gladys of the Minerva: Good, but loyal to a Well-Intentioned Extremist leader.
- Captain Justi Ueki Tylor: Good for the most part. Now, whether this is through sheer dumb luck or the most brilliant tactical mind or some combination of the two is up to debate.
- Attack on Titan gives us Captain Levi, though while he's undeniably on the 'good' side, Levi is a surefire case of Good Is Not Nice and Good Is Not Soft - and though he has plenty of brawn he also seems to have shades of The Strategist to back it up.
- Captain America: Good. Was briefly "Nomad" and later "The Captain" before Nextwave's version, but went back to America. Still good. Was actually a Captain in the US Army before getting frozen and being listed as MIA.
- Captain Atom: Good, but occasionally falls into Knight Templar; led to the accidental destruction of Kansas in Kingdom Come. Note that he originally actually had the rank of Captain in the Air Force, but was later promoted to Major.
- Captain Britain: Good.
- Captain Canuck: Satirical but good.
- Captain Cold: Enemy of The Flash, Evil.
- Captain Comet: Good.
- Captain Dynamo: Good.
- Kapitan Krieg (Jack Staff): A Third Reich Super Soldier, but more of a German patriot than a Nazi and hence a Noble Demon / Worthy Opponent.
- Captain Liberty (New England Comics): Employed as a hero by the US government. Purposely given a name that would make people assume she's a man.
- Captain Marvel (The DCU. Currently known as Shazam): Good.
- Captain Marvel (Marvel Universe. Multiple Incarnations): Good, although the Genis-Vell incarnation was a Knight Templar and completely off his rocker.
- Currently Carol Danvers: Good. Was actually a Major in the US Air Force, meaning she outranks Captain America.
- Captain Metropolis (Watchmen): Good... but bigoted.
- Captain Nazi: A hero of his nation, but as his nation was Nazi Germany, evil.
- The Captain of Nextwave: Grand mockery of this trope.
- HIS NAME IS THE CAPTAIN!!!
- Captain Rectitude was not actually a made-up example. Bad. Also badly dressed.
- Capitan Rivet: Good, and one of the few Superhomies who at least tries to avoid openly laughing at Empowered.
- Hauptmann Deutschland, Marvel Comics' German equivalent to Captain America. Good. Despite this name directly translating to "Captain Germany," when issues featuring him were licensed and translated in Germany, they changed his name to Freiheitskämpfer ("freedom fighter") to avoid any implications of Nazism. Later on he was renamed Vormund ("legal guardian") in America.
- Captain Haddock from Tintin: Good.
- Captain Jan Haring from Jommeke: Good.
- Captain Oliepul from Nero: Good.
- Captain Wal Rus from Tom Poes: Good, but grouchy.
- Captain Skæg from Rasmus Klump: Kindhearted.
- Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! — Captain Carrot: Also good.
Films — Animation
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Commander Lyle Rourke is a subversion of this, and a good one too. There are a couple hints in his dialogue that he's not what he seems, but overall he does a good job faking the audience out and setting up the reveal.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Captain Phoebus — the one from the Disney adaptation. The original was kind of a jerk.
Films — Live-Action
- The Cannonball Run:
- Mystery Men's Captain Amazing: Strictly commercial. Vanquishes baddies, but also occasionally gets them released from prison for selfish, publicity-seeking reasons.
- Pirates of the Caribbean:
- Captain Zoom: Initially reluctant, but heroic in the end.
- In Godzilla Final Wars, Captain Gordon: Good, and a incredibly huge badass. The man defeated Godzilla by burying him in ice, successfully lead a resistance against the massively powerful alien force with just his crew and Godzilla and killed aliens with a katana and his bare hands, and even at the end of the movie when Godzilla brought down he still is prepared to fight him with just a sword.
- Star Wars's Captain Han Solo: Good.
- In M*A*S*H, Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, "Duke" Forrest, and "Trapper" John McIntyre are all Captains. They're not quite as good as their television counterparts, but they're much better than their counterparts in the novel.
- The Return of Captain Invincible Captain Invincible: Disillusioned, out of practice, alcoholic...unambiguously good once he gets out of his funk.
- Hornets' Nest: Has the morally gray, mustached American Army Captain Turner, and the refined, no-nonsense but not entirely unreasonable Captain Friedrich von Hecht, as well as Captain Kreuger.
- CK Dezerterzy: Captain Wagner, A Father to His Men. His book counterpart, Captain Zivancic, is also stated to be a Professional Slacker with pretty much no interest in the war.
- A Brother's Price: Captain Raven Tern. Good.
- Discworld's Captain Carrot: Good.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea's Captain Nemo: It varies, depending on the interpretation used in the film/story in question.
- Treasure Island's Captain Smollett: Somewhat reprehensible (except when played by Kermit the Frog), but basically good. Captain Silver: Ostensibly the villain, but far more affable.
- Aubrey-Maturin: Captain Jack Aubrey - Good Dude, Badass.
- Captain Horatio Hornblower - Good. Hornblower's sidekick eventually becomes Captain William Bush - also good. In fact even the 'evil' Captain Sawyer was really a figure of pity due to his increasing insanity, and had been good until he cracked from the stress of war.
- Moby-Dick's Captain Ahab - Antihero or Villain.
- Captain Underpants: Good, but dumb.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events's Captain Widdershins: good.
- Island in the Sea of Time's Captain Marian Alston: Badass lesbian samurai. Obviously good.
- Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future — Captain Power: Good.
- Doctor Who and Torchwood:
- Firefly's Captain Malcolm Reynolds: Tries to be a Jerkass. But underneath it all....
- Star Trek: The Original Series's Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Good.
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-D and E. Good.
- Captain Johnathan Archer of the Enterprise. Good.
- Commander Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine. Good.
- Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine and the USS Defiant. Better.
- Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager. Good. Noticing a pattern yet?
- The Klingons are the only other power in the galaxy that actually use the rank Captain, and they're also much more frequently allies to the heroes than the Romulans, Cardassians, Dominion, etc.
- Babylon 5:
- Captain Sheridan — Good, though with a wicked destiny complex.
- In Season 5, Captain Lochley — Good, but much more ambiguous due to her being an unknown to the rest of the crew and obviously keeping secrets about her past. It is revealed that she is Captain Sheridan's ex-wife.
- Crusade Captain Gideon — Good, but definitely keeping secrets from his crew.
- Captain Kangaroo: Good.
- Lost's Captain Gault: Good, after some uncertainty. He opposes Keamy's plans and helps Sayid.
- Lampshaded in Top Gear by James "Captain Slow" May (Good, compared to his cohorts).
- Chuck's "Captain Awesome" Devon Woodcomb - Awesome.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger's Captain Marvelous - Good by means of being Goukai Red.
- Classic Battlestar Galactica's Captain Apollo
- Discussed in the Big Bang Theory. Sheldon assigns the rank to himself when taking Paintball too seriously as it's a high a rank as one could have but still be in the field rather than doing paperwork back at base. Of course he doesn't match the approachablity part of the trope.
- Sesame Street's Captain Vegetable — Good for you.
- Captain Commando: Good. Equal opportunity employer, as evidenced by partners being ninja, mummy and infant.
- F-Zero's Captain Falcon: Good. Will Knee you in the face if you say anything about his outfit.
- Disgaea's Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!: Good, but kinda dumb...and hammy.
- Advance Wars's Captain Brenner/O'Brian: An All-Loving Hero. In an After the End setting. Good.
- Pikmin's Captain Olimar: Good, teamed up with Captain Falcon in the Subspace Emissary.
- Captain Novolin — Real, Good, but bad concept...
- Valkyria Chronicles's Captain Eleanor Varrot — Good. Boss of the young leader of The Squad.
- City of Villains's Cap'n Mako — Ax-Crazy.
- Call of Duty:
- Captain Price: Good, if a bit too eager to resort to brutality in his CoD4 incarnation.
- SAS. They are brutal. But patriotic and rather too good at lateral thinking for regular squaddies.
- Captain "Soap" MacTavish: Good, and he's taken more than a few levels in badass since the last time we saw him.
- Dawn of War: Captains Gabriel Angelos, Davian Thule and Inrick Boreale - Good, for Imperium commanders, although the last one is an exemplar of The Peter Principle.
- Ratchet & Clank's Captain Qwark - Initially a Villain with Good Publicity and Fake Ultimate Hero, though eventually becomes more a Lovable Coward and Anti-Hero with a small bit of The Atoner.
- Mass Effect's Captain David Anderson: Good. Mentor to Cmdr. Shepard, who is varying degrees of good.
- ''Captain Comic: Good.
- Viewtiful Joe's Captain Blue! Henshin a go-go, baby! Evil, until his Heel–Face Turn at the end of the first game. note
- Comic Jumper's Captain Smiley: Self-absorbed idiotic Jerkass.
- Ace Combat 5's Captain Bartlett, "The Captain", Captain Nagase, Captain Davenport (post-humously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel), Captain Grimm, and Captain Snow. All good.
- Girly's Captain Fist: Dumb as a box of hammers, but he means well.
- Breakfast of the Gods's Cap'n Crunch: Good-licious!
- Captain Tagon from Schlock Mercenary. In his own words, "[Yes, we kill people], but they're almost always bad guys, and we only do it for the money."
- Captain SNES: The Game Masta: Good, a Jerk Ass.
- Captain Heroic in Evil, Inc.: Usually good.
- TV Tropes — Captain Obvious: Self Explanatory. Also explains the perfectly obvious a lot.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog's Captain Hammer: Subverts and Lampshades this trope. Despite being a superhero and beloved by the whole city, he's also a tremendous jerk and far less sympathetic than villainous Dr. Horrible.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Capitao Batalha ("Captain Battle") is the premiere hero of Brazil. There's also Captain Australia, Captain Speedy, Captain California, and Captain Hammer. In the 50s and 60s, there was Captain Amazing, but he's dead now.
- Whateley Universe's The other Captain Bravo: good. Well, he thinks he's good, but he's a pinhead. And he's not allowed to use the "captain" part of his codename until he graduates from Whateley Academy and earns the title in the military. Titles from the military, nobility are academic titles must be earned the hard way before they can be used in a codename.
- Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels's Captain CAVEMAAAAAAAN! — good. In the Laff-A-Lympics comic book story "The Search for the Purple Pig," Snooper uses the term "The good Captain" after the Yogis and Scoobys discover the Purple Pig figurine in Cavey's club.
- Drawn Together:
- Captain N: The Game Master. Also Good.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
- Captain Planet]]: Good.
- Captain Pollution: Evil.
- WordGirl's Captain Huggy Face: The Non-Human Sidekick , because Everything's Better with Monkeys.
- South Park's Captain Hindsight: Good, but doesn't do anything other than point out what could have been done.
- The Octonauts: Captain Barnacles Bear - Good.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars's Captain Rex: Good... Which very likely changes with Order 66. Preserved, actually. As of Rebels, it is confirmed that Rex had nothing to do with Order 66, as he'd had his inhibitor chip removed beforehand. He's now working with the Rebellion.