And not always intentionally. At the outset, I'd like to say that apart from the Hulk and the Iron Man, I didn't know much about the rest of the heroes. I had vaguely heard about Captain America and Thor but never really watched their individual movies. I hadn't even seen the trailer. Having seen the buzz created on Twitter, I walked into the theatre with a friend. As far as the movie is concerned, it's good entertainment with tight scenes, splendid visual effects and smart, funny dialogues. But when we got out of the theatre, it struck our minds that Captain America was probably the worst superhero of all time.
Let us look at some examples from the film. (SPOILER ALERT)
There's a scene where Loki has been captured and is being taken back to S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters in a plane when Thor makes a thunderous entrance (pun intended). He takes Loki and flies right out of the plane. Tony Stark jumps out of the plane in pursuit. Now, Captain America can't fly. So he jumps out with a parachute. How is that going to help? He's just going to a fleeting spectator to the fight. One moment he's at the same altitude and eye to eye with the duo and the next moment, he finds himself looking up and examining the soles of their feet, having dropped several feet in altitude. Someone needs to explain to him that the concept of flying involves horizontal motion also. And not following the trajectory of a bird dropping.
In another scene, after Hawkeye blows up an engine of the S.H.I.E.L.D plane, Tony Stark is fixing the problem by moving the blades himself. What does Captain America do? He has to pull a lever. How depressing is that? You spend decades frozen in a block of ice and finally come back to life to pull one lame lever. Even that he couldn't do without almost killing Stark. And it's not his fault alone. The guys who brought him back didn't give him a fair chance. Everyone else has laser guns, missiles and superpowers. This guy is given just a shield. He's a national hero who's looking to adjust in the modern world. Let him be on an equal footing. At least provide a laser gun in his suit for God's sake.
Even Black Widow and Hawkeye know he sucks. When the aliens attack Manhattan, Stark is fighting the huge flying fish monster thing. Hulk is lying naked somewhere. Thor is fighting some other aliens. On the ground are Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America. A group of aliens attack them and before Captain can do anything, Widow says, "We've got this one." She knows this guy can't save his own life, leave alone others. As my friend said, all he can do is use his shield as a table tennis racket to deflect bullets.
During another attack, someone asks, "What do we do?" Captain replies,"We work as a team." Any other superhero with a certain level of self-esteem would have said, "Leave it to me" or "I'll take care of it". Not Captain. It seems there's a senior citizen quota on the Avengers Mission and Captain America is just there to fill in the perfunctory slot. Even if there was, at least take Wolverine.
Captain America is the Sourav Ganguly of the Avengers. The younger lot are in awe of him. None of them remember or know why. He reminds many of the good old days. He's back from the dead, in the midst of all the action and in spite of being the weakest link, he insists on being in command.
PS: Props to the writers and director for making the Hulk funny. But Captain America is funny.