How strong was Captain America in the MCU compared to the comics?
Marvel has a colorful gallery of superheroes with the most varied powers. They are gods, demigods, mutants, extraterrestrials, and much more. However, one of Marvel’s most popular heroes is a military guy with superhuman strength and endurance and whose only weapon is a circular shield.
Yes, we are talking about Captain America, the quintessential super soldier from both comic books and movies.
But have you ever wondered how strong is Cap in comparison to other superheroes – or even super-villains? After all, we are talking about a guy who took part in the Avengers side by side with an emerald giant and a Norse god! Let's dig down the rabbit hole and look into the powers and achievements of Captain America.
Captain America’s Powers and Skills
In both the comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the world’s most famous super soldier, got his powers during World War II. A serum developed by scientist Abraham Erskine worked the miracle. Dr. Erskine was even prophetic in some of his last words, saying that Rogers’ enhanced condition was “second to none.”
In the comic books, Cap’s powers and skills are documented in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update (2010). In the MCU, the character kept the same enhanced strength, speed, agility, reflexes, stamina, and recovery.
How tall is Captain America?
In the comics, Steve Rogers measures 6’2” (1.88m). In the MCU, he is slightly shorter: actor Chris Evans measures 6’1” (1.85m).
How much can Captain America lift?
Rogers was kept at peak fitness by the supersoldier serum. He can lift 800-pound weights and bench press 1,100 pounds just as a warm-up. In the movies, we’ve seen Captain America rip off vehicle doors, throw a motorcycle at an enemy jeep, kick a car at enemies, and even hold a helicopter with his bare hands!
How fast can Captain America run?
Other than enhancing his physical strength, the super soldier serum also gave Steven Rogers speed greater than the best “normal” athlete. In the comics, he is capable of running 48 km/h and has completed a 40-yard dash in under 4 seconds. In the MCU, Cap can outrun speeding vehicles and move fast enough to surprise even the speeding mutant Quicksilver during Avengers: Age of Ultron.
How durable is Captain America?
While neither immortal nor invulnerable, Steve Rogers’ durability has been enhanced by the super-soldier serum. He survived different injuries, including violent blows that would split a normal human in half.
One of the most iconic moments in the hero’s long career was his fight with Thanos. This moment was shown in the comics (in 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet) and in the movies (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame).
In both versions, Captain America was able to punch the super-powered alien and still withstand a punch from a superior being who, moments before, beat Thor and Hulk.
How well trained is Captain America?
In comics and movies, Cap is an expert in combat strategy. He was trained in hand-to-hand combat, different martial arts, and the use of firearms.
Captain America is also a master at using his weapon of choice: the famous round-shaped vibranium shield. He can use the shield as a throwing weapon and defense tool (it absorbs any kind of impact).
Even a super soldier has his limitations
While Captain America has faced threats like Thanos and Ultron in the comics and movies, his powers do not guarantee immortality. He can heal faster than an average person, but a shot to the head or vital organs could still kill him. A sniper would have to be very fast and skillful to do it before Cap could react.
It hasn’t happened yet. Or rather, it happened in the comics, but with a happy ending.
The hero even died for a short period at the end of the miniseries Civil War (2006-2007). After surrendering to Iron Man, Cap was shot dead by Crossbones and a brainwashed Sharon Carter. Steve Rogers’ corpse was buried in the Arctic and Bucky Barnes used the name Captain America for some time.
But the real Cap has resurrected shortly afterward in the infamous Captain America: Reborn miniseries (2009-2010).
The whole episode showed that Captain America could succumb to gunfire even with an advanced healing factor.
In the MCU, Cap managed to survive Ultron’s blasts, Iron Man’s repulsors, and even multiple shots by the Winter Soldier. But he is not immortal and had to wait for some of those wounds to heal before continuing to fight.
And we can’t compare him to the likes of Thor, Captain Marvel, or Scarlett Witch because they are cosmic-level heroes. Even so – and even knowing that he would probably be defeated, Cap faced supervillains like the Asgardian Loki and the alien Thanos with the same determination.
Some of Captain America’s most amazing feats in the MCU
Lifting Thor’s hammer
Thor’s famous hammer, Mjolnir, can only be lifted by the Asgardian God himself or anyone deemed worthy. Steve Rogers lifted the hammer in both comics and MCU.
In the comic books, the historic moment happened in Thor #390 (1988). In the MCU, the first clue was shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Several members of the Avengers attempt to lift Thor’s hammer just for fun. Until Cap tries and manages to briefly move it, much to the surprise of Thor himself.
Later, in Avengers: Endgame, the super-soldier finally lifts and uses Mjolnir to fight against Thanos after Thor is defeated. This only happened because the heroism demonstrated by Steve Rogers proved that he was worthy to wield the magic hammer.
Defeating Iron Man
Tony Stark was one of the MCU’s mightiest heroes and a true leader for the Avengers. Even so, he was defeated by his old pal Rogers.
In Captain America: Civil War, Cap has to fight Iron Man to stop him from killing the Winter Soldier. Stark has just discovered that Bucky murdered his parents in the past. During their epic battle, Rogers not only withstands Iron Man’s punches but is even able to use his shield to destroy Tony’s armor and win.
In the comics, the fight took place during the Civil War miniseries. But Captain America received a little help from Vision: the android disables Iron Man’s armor just before the fight.
Knocked out 10 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at once
Action movies always showed a single hero facing lots of adversaries alone. Still, there’s an impressive and beautifully choreographed fight scene between Steve Rogers and ten (TEN!) agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. inside an elevator in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The feat is even more incredible when we remember that they are not “ordinary opponents.” We’re talking about highly-trained agents and one guy in a small space. You can even see Rogers’ combat tactics, using the rivals’ weaknesses against themselves.
Head to head with some other superheroes in Marvel and DC Comics
Okay, we’ve already seen that Captain America is powerful. But how does he compare to other superheroes? Here are some unforgettable fights that have happened in movies and comics:
Captain America vs Spider-Man
Having inherited the powers of a radioactive spider, Peter Parker is stronger and can lift much more weight than Steve Rogers. He even lifted a 3-ton wrecking ball once in the comics and helped to land a jet!
The two heroes briefly fight during the Civil War, both in comic books and films. In the comics, Spider-Man was wearing the “Iron-Spider” armor given to him by Tony Stark. Cap throws a few punches and hits the enemy with his shield. Spider-Man then uses one of his new metallic appendages to cut Captain America’s face. The fight ends without a winner, but Parker begins to question whether he is on the right side of the conflict. So Cap at least got a moral victory!
In the MCU, the fight between both heroes is longer in Captain America: Civil War. As Spider-Man was new to the cinematic Avenger, Rogers is first hit a few times by young Parker’s spider webs. But later, the super-soldier begins using the webs against the teenage superhero. After a few hits, Cap leaves Spider-Man immobilized, holding a heavy jet bridge.
Captain America vs Winter Soldier
Both in the comics and MCU, Cap faced his former ally, Bucky Barnes, as the Winter Soldier. The fight is very similar in both mediums. But let’s not forget that in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier the mind-controlled Barnes has super-soldier powers similar to Rogers. Because of this, it’s difficult to determine which of the two is stronger.
They clash twice in the film. The first time is in the middle of a highway. The Winter Soldier uses every weapon within his reach (pistols, knives, his bionic arm) but can’t get past Cap’s shield. Rogers manages to damage the enemy’s prosthetic arm, gaining a slight advantage. But he loses focus when discovers that the enemy is his old war buddy, missing and considered dead since the previous film.
Later, they face each other in an even more violent fight aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Cap is shot several times by the Winter Soldier – including a bullet in the abdomen. Steve refuses to keep fighting his friend, and Bucky starts beating Cap with his bionic arm. Just before he loses consciousness, Captain America manages to make Bucky remember his true identity and the fight ends.
In the comics, both had a similar fight in the story arc written by Ed Brubaker in 2006. Captain America dodged the Winter Soldier’s gunshots and stabs with his shield, but was unable to make Bucky remember who he was (as in the film). In the end, Cap uses the infamous Cosmic Cube to make the “enemy” remember.
Captain America vs Black Panther
Black Panther is not a super-soldier, but he and Captain America have similar powers and abilities. And they are the great symbol of their nations – the USA and Wakanda.
In the MCU, they were rivals in Captain America: Civil War, but they didn’t fight. In a quick scene, Cap just stops Black Panther from killing Bucky. In the comics, however, the two heroes faced off a few times. The most iconic moment was shown in the miniseries Black Panther/Captain America: Flags of Our Fathers (2010).
The story takes place during WWII, in 1944. The super-soldier goes to Wakanda after some Nazi spies and meets one of the former Black Panthers: Azzuri, grandfather of T’Challa. Rogers was still at the beginning of his career and without the iconic vibranium shield. So he’s defeated by the Wakadian hero, but both soon became allies.
Chronologically, Rogers later faced T’Challa in the forgotten miniseries Contest of Champions II (1999), in which aliens manipulate Marvel superheroes into fighting each other. This time Cap won, but only because Black Panther started to come to his senses and didn’t want to face a friend.
Captain America vs Batman
Captain America and Batman live in different universes (and different publishing houses) but have very similar abilities that maximise human potential .
Ok, Bruce Wayne is not a super-soldier. But he has enough hand-to-hand combat knowledge, agility, and intelligence to fight Rogers in equal conditions. And a plus: gadgets against a guy who only carries a single shield!
It seems a hypothetical conflict, but the two faced each other in the absurd miniseries Marvel Versus DC (1996). It wasn’t an entirely fair fight because the outcome was decided not by skill or strength, but by a vote among readers (done by mail, before the popularization of the Internet!). Thus, the hero with the most fans won the match: Batman! The heroes fight toe to toe for a long time, but Cap is eventually hit by a Batarang and defeated.
You can’t keep a good super soldier down
Despite having similar strengths and weaknesses in the comics and movies, both versions of Captain America also have different trajectories.
The comic book version had a much longer trajectory. He has to faced decades of bizarre adversaries, a lot of changes in uniform, weapons, and even ideals, some good and some terrible adventures.
The MCU incarnation, in turn, had a more concise trajectory, although it’s also shorter. He appears in three films of his own plus four adventures with the Avengers and a couple of cameos here and there. At least in terms of quality, the MCU Cap wins for his body of work.
Both have superpowers received thanks to the super-soldier serum. However, their greatest powers are quite human: leadership, integrity, a sense of justice, and courage to fight against evil. Even if the fight is unfair and can represent certain death, for example against Thanos.
In a competition of strength, the MCU Cap may be the winner. There are small differences between movies and comic books that show his advantage.
For example, his victory over Iron Man in Civil War. In the comic books, it only happened because Vision deactivated Tony Stark’s armor; Cap fights Iron Man at full power in the movie.
In the Infinity Saga against Thanos, the MCU Captain America also seems a little stronger than his comic book counterpart. He even manages to hold Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet for a while. In the Marvel comics version, Cap is quickly knocked out and the villain rips his shield to pieces!
Regardless of which is the strongest, both Captain Americas exist to prove that bravery is probably the greatest of superpowers.