Captain America may not have gotten the most dramatic finish in Avengers: Endgame. If anything, his ending was rather quiet and subdued. However, that made for one of the most poignant moments in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Although the character of Steve Rogers didn’t change much over his 11 appearances, the actor Chris Evans certainly did – and we’re not only talking about all that old age makeup he wore.
Chris Evans before ‘Civil War’
Most people know that Chris Evans was famous for playing a different Marvel character in another studio’s Marvel movies. He played the Human Torch in the two Fantastic Four movies Fox made in 2005 and 2007. Before that he had roles in Not Another Teen Movie, with future Supergirl star Chyler Leigh and The Perfect core, with fellow future co-star Scarlett Johansson.
After he broke out with Fantastic Four, Evans appeared in two other comics adaptations that flew under the radar: The Losers about a team of special forces operatives which co-starred Zoe Saldana, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, in which he played one of the seven evil exes of female protagonist Ramona Flowers. One of his co-stars was Brie Larson, the future Captain Marvel. Those superhero actors are a tight bunch.
Evans joined the MCU with Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011. It was a relatively inauspicious debut, grossing $176 million here, which would be loose change by today’s Marvel standards. This was when Marvel was still finding its feet before Disney bought the company. First Avenger was the last MCU film to be distributed by Paramount.
After The Avengers turned Marvel into the juggernaut that is today, Captain America gained more respect with The Winter Soldier, which many viewers regarded as significantly better than First Avenger. From there it was all uphill for Captain America.
How did Marvel change Chris Evans?
One of the qualities that makes Captain America endearing is that he’s relatively consistent from film to film. Even after being frozen in ice for decades, his essence largely remained unchanged. He stayed the same while the world around him didn’t. Evans himself changed a lot.
“When you’re playing a character for a long time, you start to see the parallels between what the character’s going through and what you’re going through. You start to look at your own conflicts and circumstances through the eyes of someone who might handle it better than you would,” Movieweb quoted Evans as saying.
Joe Russo, the co-director of Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame, said that Evans had the hardest job of all the actors, similar to the way that playing Superman is harder than it looks.
“(Captain America is) one of the most difficult roles you could possibly ask an actor to play. He’s playing integrity and moral fortitude, and making it complex and interesting at the same time. It can be very difficult.”
That’s what made Evan’s performance richer than it seemed – Evans was making it look easy.
How Evans said goodbye to the MCU
Captain America did not die in Endgame, although he finally made a significant change. After completing his mission to return the Infinity Stones, he settled down with his beloved Peggy Carter. A movie, indeed a whole series of movies full of bombast, ended on a graceful shot of Evans and Hayley Atwell dancing.
“It felt like graduating high school or college, you know … For the last month of filming I was letting myself go to work every day and be a little overwhelmed and a little nostalgic and grateful. By the last day, I was bawling. I cry pretty easy, but I was definitely bawling,” he said.
He wasn’t the only one.
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