Have you ever watched Captain America on screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and wondered exactly what it is that makes him so awesome? He’s no Iron Man or Hulk, in that he’s not indestructible or filled with high tech weapons. He doesn’t have the godlike powers of Thor or the (soon-to-be-introduced) superpowers of Spider-Man. He’s really just a good fighter with a cool shield, isn’t he?
Well, not really, because in all the stories created starring Captain America since his introduction to the world in March, 1941, Cap’s actually accumulated a pretty cool arsenal of superpowers himself. There’s a ton of stuff that the famous red white and blue boy scout can do that we just haven’t seen in the MCU yet, and it’s exciting to think about just how much power is actually lurking behind Steve Rogers’ vibranium shield.
In preparation for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, let’s take a look at the 12 Powers You Didn’t Know Captain America Has.
When Steve Rogers got injected with the Super Soldier Serum and became Captain America, we all know that he became bigger, stronger, and tougher. It turned a sickly Steve into the perfect human specimen, just like that. But a cool side-effect of the Serum isn’t just that it made Rogers big and strong, but that it helps keep his superhuman body from getting tired and worn out; because even the most “perfect” human specimen gets tired every once in a while. And that’s why Captain America is different.
The Serum helps Captain America’s body destroy fatigue-inducing toxins that are prevalent in all humans, and as a result, Cap can keep going and going while his enemies eventually tire out. Without fatigue, Captain America cannot only use his physical dominance over everyone as an advantage, but he can do it for hours at a time, absolutely pummeling anyone who dares to face him. What’s more, without the need for rest or proper conditioning, Captain America only needs an hour or two of sleep a week to recharge, leaving him more time for things like training, which explains his skill at this next point…
So we know Captain America is super strong and durable thanks to the Serum coursing through his veins, but it’s not like he just stands around taking punches from his enemies until they get tired. He actually puts up a good fight and avoids getting hit, and that’s all because he’s one of the most skilled fighters in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. You don’t become Captain America without any training.
Skilled in acrobatics, martial arts, marine combat, boxing, judo, jiujitsu, muay thai, and just about everything else, Captain America has spent countless hours mastering the art of combat and perfecting it to an art. Despite the fact that he doesn’t need to rigorously train or exercise, he does all of these things strictly because of his dedication to the cause and his eager-to-please personality. And it’s all paid off by the fact that he’s so good at fighting that it’s been made clear over the course of Marvel history that even without his super-strength or Super Soldier Serum-based powers, he can still defeat any enemy he chooses; but the next point certainly doesn’t hurt his chances…
If you’re worried for Captain America every time he runs around in an Avengers film while bullets are flying and explosions are going off all around him, worry less, because he’s got it covered; literally. Cap’s uniform is fire-resistant and bulletproof, covering him in a lightweight protective shell that most of his enemies don’t even know about.
As it turns out, being a super soldier – no matter how much energy you have or how good at fighting you are – still doesn’t mean you can avoid bullets or fire, which is why S.H.I.E.L.D. had to design Captain America’s suit with his protection in mind. And while it definitely helps Cap do his job not having to worry so much about a bullet to the chest or an explosion burning him to a crisp, it does kind of raise the question of what were to happen if he fought without his armor, or if something happened to him where his armor isn’t protecting, say, his face. Which is where his next power comes in…
When you think of Marvel character with super healing factors, the first heroes that pop into your head are probably Wolverine or Deadpool. But Captain America isn’t exactly a slouch when it comes to taking one for the team and getting right back on his feet; in fact, he has an ability to bounce back from serious wounds unlike any other.
Able to heal broken bones in merely a day and mend bullet or knife wounds in just hours, Captain America has had his fair share of bad injuries erased almost immediately. Once coming back from a broken neck after just a week, nothing keeps Cap down for long, including deadly poisons. After receiving the Super Soldier Serum Captain America realized that he developed an immunity to all Earthly diseases, as he never gets sick and cannot be killed with toxins or poisonous gasses. He is also completely immune to smallpox, anthrax, and HIV, which would make a pretty cool party trick if only there were a way for him to properly show that off. Or if he ever went to parties, which he probably doesn’t, because…
If you’re Captain America then you’re a pretty lucky guy, because your sped-up metabolism constantly keeps you in shape and your body constantly regenerates the Super Soldier Serum that keeps you a badass superhero. It also makes you boring at a party, because Captain America has a total immunity to alcohol; but that may work in his favor.
Although this power has largely been treated as a party trick in the comics, Captain America’s resistance to intoxication makes him a tough guy to coerce or trick into getting drunk. Ever the boy scout among the Marvel Superheroes, Steve Rogers’ levelheadedness – while perhaps his metabolism’s fault – is one of his strongest traits, and it would be strange to see a drunk Captain America; much stranger than a drunk Tony Stark, who is almost constantly drunk. Maybe it’s all this clean living that leads to Cap’s next power…
Maybe it’s all that moral superiority that led Captain America to be worthy enough to lift Thor’s hammer, but no matter how you look at it it’s still an impressive feat considering the lack of characters across the Marvel – or DC – Universe that have been completely unable to wield Mjolnir. And to make it more impressive, Captain America has done it on two separate occasions.
Coming through when The Avengers looked to be done for, Captain America had lifted the infamous hammer to everyone’s surprise, once to hand it back to Thor, and once to fight with the hammer and his own shield in order to take down the Serpent. Though Captain America could only budge the hammer during a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron – although Thor did look pretty worried about it at the time – perhaps as the MCU progresses we will get to see Captain America’s morals tested and his worthiness deemed acceptable to lift Mjolnir.
Captain America is often referred to as a man out of time, but it’s not just that Captain America was a human cap-sicle when he was frozen after WWII and thawed out in the present that made him this way. In fact, if you think no one could survive being frozen for 70 years, you’d be right, but Captain America isn’t “no one,” and there’s a perfectly good reason he survived.
As it turned out, the Super Soldier Serum was so strong that Rogers’ aging was nearly halted after his injection. Because of this, Cap ages much slower than a normal human, and as a result he’s going to be a man out of time in all sorts of times as he watches those around him grow old and die while he slowly matures; and this is exactly what kept him alive after all those years he spent frozen. With constant regeneration of healthy cells, Captain America’s body doesn’t get old like everyone else’s, instead it stays in peak condition, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Maybe that’s depressing, but even if Cap tried to forget about it, he couldn’t because of his next power…
Hypnosis was a big thing at one point in comics history, because there was a time when a simple hypnosis scene would be all it took for a villain to get what they wanted from the hero. Luckily for Captain America, he is resistant to hypnosis, another strange side-effect from the Super Soldier Serum that no one could have planned for; and one that doesn’t come in handy all that often.
This obscure resistance comes from his astounding ability to never lose focus, which is also why no gasses or other chemicals can shake him. Perhaps convenient among villains that can use brainwashing to get what they want – Captain America never would’ve had the same fate as Hawkeye at the hands of Loki during The Avengers – Cap’s power to focus is just one of the many little things that gives him an intellectual advantage to go along with all of his physical ones. And speaking of intellectual advantages…
Steve Rogers’ body wasn’t the only thing that was enhanced when he became a Super Soldier; every part of his brain was also upscaled when he became Captain America. Able to complete lighting fast calculations and make life-saving decisions in a fraction of a second, Captain America’s intelligence is perhaps his most underrated superpower. If he wasn’t super strong and tough and good-looking, most people would be talking about his ability to analyze threats and quickly change courses when dealing with a threat in real time.
On top of all this, Captain America also has a perfect memory, which is great for military tactics such as speaking multiple languages, espionage skills, and enhanced reasoning. He can really do it all, which is why he’s considered one of the greatest battle tacticians on the planet. There may be other superheroes in the Marvel Universe who can beat him in a fight, but when it comes to planning and adapting, Captain America can work faster than a computer to change an outcome immediately and end up with the upper hand. Basically, he can see ten steps ahead of you, both metaphorically and literally; mostly because of his next power…
While all of Steve Rogers’ senses were boosted when he became Captain America, the most underrepresented and most useful sense-augmentation has to be sight. Although hearing and feeling things more than any other human certainly would have its advantages on the battlefield, Captain America’s sight gives him a huge leg up on approaching enemies.
Once claiming that he can “see faster,” Captain America’s sight doesn’t only work in terms of distance, but he also has the unique ability to process incoming visual stimuli faster than any other human. This allows him to pick out information that may be useful – especially things that would be impossible for a regular human to decipher – and figure out what it is that he’s looking at and how to deal with it. It’s essentially like having Iron Man’s tech-augmented vision – no, not that Vision – and the computing power to deal with it; except Captain America’s version can’t run out of power.
Officially called “Captain America’s Van,” this weird bit of Captain America history comes from the 80s, when every superhero needed a weird car; and this is no different. A custom-built Chevrolet, Captain America’s Van is apparently built to look non-descript from the outside so as not to arise suspicion when it is being driven around in public.
Designed by Wakandans – the same people who made the Avengers kickass quinjets and cars – Captain America apparently drew the short straw when he got what is essentially the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. Though the fan does have some features like a launchable mount for his famous motorcycle and, um, a cot for sleeping, the van can also change colors for disguise purposes; or maybe just if Captain America gets embarrassed while he’s driving around in it.
Maybe it’s not a power in the traditional sense, but one of the most overlooked aspects of Steve Rogers is that he is an incredibly talented artist, and had he not become Captain America he would’ve gone on to art school. Starting out as a comic book writer and artist before taking the Super Soldier Serum, Captain America is one of the few people in the Marvel Universe that had a cool talent before becoming a superhero.
In fact – in one of the more impressive trivia facts in Marvel history – Captain America even created the Captain America comic book that is published within his own Captain America stories. With a major in fine arts and a specialty in comic book illustration, perhaps Steve Rogers was created to reflect those that made him; maybe he was meant to be the personification of all the little guys that dreamed of big power but just couldn’t get any. That is, until they created one of society’s longest-lasting heroes, an icon for generations that just keeps inspiring and getting more popular every year. Captain America would be proud.
Which of these powers were you most surprised to learn about? Are there any we missed? Sound off in the comments!