Feb 2, 2021
Top 4 reasons Captain America should be gay
So by now, most of you have had a chance to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a great movie, as everyone can agree. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Iron Man 3, due mostly to the script not being nearly as clever (for one thing, it’s a mystery story where the mystery is painfully easy to solve), it definitely continues Marvel’s streak of every post-Avengers movie being a fearless game changer that one-ups its predecessor. Chris Evans continues to be the best casting decision the studio has made, the action is energetic and fun, and the story keeps to the simplistically cheesy but sincere spirit of the character. It’s just a damn fine popcorn flick. It is also, as I noticed on a second viewing, super-gay.
Not in the pejorative sense of the word, but a literal one. The film hits Fast and Furious levels of gay. It hits 300 levels of gay. It’s so gay, it makes Elsa from Frozen look straight.
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The gay subtext of the film is so blatant, I’m rather surprised I didn’t notice it sooner. Our hero is consistently chaste and seemingly uninterested in both of the women throwing themselves at him, yet instantly forms a connection with Falcon, with whom he has far more chemistry. Both men have just lost their “partners”, and Falcon spends almost every scene practically making bedroom eyes at Cap. And the movie ends with Falcon (and only Falcon) at Cap’s hospital bedside playing their song (a Marvin Gaye song, no less). This is easily the most homoerotic superhero film since Batman & Robin.
And you know what? I’m glad. All joking aside, this film brings to mind what a shame it is that there aren’t any major gay superheroes (I mean, Marvel isn’t likely to greenlight a Northstar movie anytime soon). Cap and Falcon make a genuinely cute couple (a lot more so than Steve and Sharon, though in all fairness, she had only one scene with him), and I’m honestly a little sad that there’s no way future Captain America movies will ever fully explore the possibilities here. Even Marvel isn’t that bold.
Or maybe they are. After all, various superheroes have been known to change their race, gender, or sexual orientation in the last decade or so. It’s a natural consequence of almost every well-known superhero being a white, straight male. We’re in an age where fans are demanding diversity, and it’s a lot more effective to simply modify existing superheroes than to make new ones and hope they become popular. So just for the sake of argument, here are the top four reasons why Marvel should make Captain America a gay man:
4. No one cares about Cap’s love life.
One of the first complaints usually brought up whenever it’s suggested a formerly straight character might be rewritten as gay is “What about [insert love interest here]?” Just take the rest of the Avengers: If you turn Hulk gay, you lose Betty Ross, who’s not wildly popular, but an established part of the mythos that everyone knows. Turn Thor gay, and bye-bye Jane Foster, a formerly forgotten character who’s been made very likable by the movies. Iron Man? Being really into women is kind of one of his primary attributes. Hawkeye’s attraction to Black Widow, while not yet a factor in the movies, is a central part of his origin story in the comics.
But Cap? Has anyone ever given much of a shit who Cap is banging? I admit, I rather liked his relationship with Peggy Carter in the first movie, but she’s out of the picture now, and given the age they lived in, the idea that Cap could’ve been in the closet back then is completely plausible.
And Sharon? Is anyone really dying to see Cap hook up with the boring blonde who had two minutes of screen time in Winter Soldier? Even in the comics, I found Sharon uninteresting, as she’s just some random chick with no defining characteristics beyond being Cap’s girlfriend. Last I checked, she wasn’t any kind of fan-favorite, and the rest of Cap’s love life is filled with similarly forgettable women. The point is, nothing would be lost if Cap decided he just wasn’t into chicks.
3. It would make him a lot less creepy.
You may have noticed that the movie failed to give the aforementioned Sharon a last name. That’s because in the comics, her last name is Carter. Yes, as in Peggy Carter. Sharon is her niece. Cap in the comics hooked up with the niece of his ex-girlfriend. Eww.
We have yet to see how the movies plan to approach this without making it seem as creepy as it is. My solution? Don’t. It now feels really out of character for a boy scout like Cap to hook up with the younger relative of his (still-living) ex. If Cap is gay, you can sidestep the issue entirely. And it’s not like you even need to get rid of her. Keep Sharon around, but write her as more of a surrogate younger sister to Cap instead of a girlfriend. She could be the Shadowcat to Cap’s Wolverine. That’s a much nicer idea than Cap being a perv who chases after the hot young niece of his ex just because she got old.
2. It makes his origin a lot more dramatic.
There’s so much storytelling potential in the whole idea of Captain America, a man from 1945 suddenly finding himself in the 21st Century, that the comics themselves haven’t even had time to deal with. Imagine if you added Steve being gay to that. Think of what that implies. Whether or not he had confronted and was comfortable with his sexuality before he was frozen, just picture a gay WWII soldier waking up now and being told (on top of everything else), “BTW, homosexuality isn’t considered a mental illness anymore. Oh, and we repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. Oh, and 17 states have legalized gay marriage.” Think of the dramatic possibilities that would offer. Imagine Steve as a man who had to hide who he was just to serve his country, suddenly being flung into a world where he doesn’t have to pretend anymore. You could tell poignant, touching stories about the tribulations of gay men in the military, stories about how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. Any writer worth his salt could do something great with the concept.
1. He and Falcon are just adorable.
Seriously, the interaction between these two is the heart and soul of Winter Soldier. Falcon is a lot more than just a replacement for Bucky: he’s the inspiration for a lot of Cap’s decision making. Meeting Falcon, a fellow vet who’s still optimistic in a far more cynical world where warfare is much grayer, is what helps Cap hold onto his sense of purpose and righteousness even as things go to hell around him.
The movie is essentially The Last Temptation of Captain America, as circumstances try to force Cap to compromise his principles and he refuses to budge. Falcon takes the role of the little angel on Cap’s shoulder, with Black Widow and Nick Fury standing on the opposite shoulder as little devils. You can choose to interpret the admiration and affection on Falcon’s face in every scene as platonic if you want, but for me, I can’t help but imagine how awesome their wedding would be: Both of them in their dress blues, dancing to “Trouble Man”. You know that would be adorable.