Top 10 Captain America Powers Explained

Captain America superpowers
The First Avenger

Ah, Captain America. The First Avenger. The one who really started this whole mess of better-than-the-best superheroes fighting off the worst-of-the-worst supervillains. There is a little bit of controversy surrounding Steve Rogers and his “superpowers,”  namely whether they are superpowers at all.

If you cut into him, he is fully human. His skin is just as soft as yours or mine, his blood is just as red, and even his DNA is plainly… human. Other heroes that started out as humans, such as Bruce Banner and the Hulk, if you were to look at their DNA, it is completely different to the rest of ours.

Despite the debate, today we are going to treat Cap as if he is indeed a superhero. To do that, we are going to look at his powers, such as they are. Before we do, let's rehash how he became so super.

Way back in 1941, he was just a regular guy. In fact, probably *too* regular. He was too scrawny to join the army, but he had the heart of a hero. German-American scientists saw his bravado and decided he was the perfect specimen to inject with the Super Soldier Serum. Thus began his journey.

10. Replenishing Serum

The Super Soldier Serum not only brought out the best parts of humanity within Steve Rogers, but it created a bit of a fail-safe. Normally any drug or serum that enters the human body is fairly quickly expelled from the body.

The Serum, on the other hand, continually replenishes itself within his body. There is no specific time this comes in handy. It’s an underlying power that courses through everything he ever does, making Captain America able to continue being the super soldier indefinitely.

9. The Armor

The Captain America uniform has come a long way from his “stage uniform.” Back when he was more of a mascot than a fighter, and his uniform was a brightly colored flag meant to empower the rest of the soldiers. More recently, Tony Stark is in charge of the avenger’s uniforms. The newer versions are full-on body armor, able to withstand a blast from a Chitauri weapon in the first Avengers movie without so much as a dent.

As Tony’s engineering know-how increases and Steve’s patriotism changes, the suit only gets stronger and slightly more subdued in color as time wears on.

8. The Shield

When he started being allowed on the front lines, Tony’s dad, Howard Stark, managed to collect some precious vibranium, a rare mineral that isn’t technically from earth. He fashioned this metal into a circular shield, which Cap has continued to use for the rest of his avenging career.

This is for a good reason: the shield is almost indestructible, perfectly aerodynamic for his throwing needs, and the red, white, and blue theme makes it a perfectly fashionable accessory.

Through a marvelous accident, Captain America and Thor discover that the shield and Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir, when struck together, make a powerful shockwave that can disable most humans. Later in Sokovia (Age of Ultron), they use this phenomenon to their advantage when the team is trying to infiltrate the Russian base.

7. Ageless

We all know Captain America is a “man out of time,” since his stint as an ice cube that brought him from World War II into the modern era. What is slightly less well known is that the Serum gave him an extra long life without the need for cold weather.

While he isn’t immortal, and he does age, he does so at such a slow rate that he could watch some be born, grow up, and die of old age. All that time could pass, and he might look five years older than he did at the start of his friend’s life.

For most humans, the average age that our cells start to not replace themselves with perfectly healthy cells is around 25 years old. What this basically means is that until 25 years, we are growing, and after 25 years, we start dying. Steve Roger’s cells continue to be healthy, without the deterioration the rest of us face.

Similar to the Serum-replenishment, this power isn’t used at any one specific time, it is an underrated and unseen power. It is, however, how he was able to survive the 70 years as a popsicle without the special science of cryogenics. Don’t try that at home, kids.

6. Super Metabolism

Using a similar mechanism to his anti-aging powers, Captain America’s metabolism is super fast. This helps him not only stay fit with little work (not that he ever gets lazy) but also helps with his body’s healing.

In the comic, the Ultimates, Volume 1 issue #6, he can heal torn muscles and broken bones in just a few days. Based on the above image leaked from the upcoming Infinity Wars movie, this healing power will come in handy soon as well.

Along with his ability to heal wounds, he is also impervious to any known illness or poison, from HIV to anthrax. On the other hand, his metabolism makes it impossible for him to get drunk. I guess you can’t win them all, eh?

5. Tireless

Without getting to bogged down in the science, humans get physically tired because of a build-up of certain chemicals in our bodies. (We get mentally tired from all of the cat videos we watch back to back to back, but that’s a little different.)

The Serum grants Cap the ability to continue for much longer, up to at least a few hours, before the toxins even begin to build up. Because of this, he can win a fight against a foe with similar strength and fighting capability simply by wearing his opponent out.

Carol Danvers, otherwise knows as Captain Marvel, has even quipped that “Cap only needs an hour or two’s sleep every week.”

4. Enhanced Speed, Strength, and Agility

Now we get to the bread and butter of the Super Soldier. He can bench somewhere between 2 and 5 tons, more if he really concentrates. His strength has come in handy more than once, such as when he stops a ginormous pine tree from falling and crushing a bunch of soldiers as pictured above.

Captain America has also been known to run faster than a horse, possibly more than 80 miles per hour. His body is uber-flexible and combined with his speed and strength he would put the Cirque du Soleil out of business if he decided to turn to performing arts instead of martial arts.

3. Martial Arts

Speaking of martial arts… Cap can definitely put his enhanced strength and agility to good use. When paired with the fact that he only needs to sleep a few hours a week (yes, week), he has more than enough time to master the art of fighting.

The Avengers, Volume 1 Issue #6 (1964)

Not only that, but he is considered one of the best tactical geniuses in the Marvelverse. This all adds up to him being one of the most talented martial artists (and I do mean it when I say he is an artist at his craft) of his time. He is able to combine army training, boxing, jiujitsu, karate, and just about any other fighting style he can think of into a seamless blend of movement. Which, of course, comes in handy pretty much everywhere. I wonder if he can waltz.

2. That Beautiful Brain

Now it’s time to talk about the least-remembered superpower that Captain America possesses. As we have discussed already, the Super Soldier Serum enhances every good trait that humans have to make the best human being possible.

Yes, that means he’s super strong, super fast, super buff, super handsome. Still, it does us no good to focus on those things and overlook the other thing it enhances – his mind. I mentioned previously that he is a tactical mastermind, but there is a reason for that. The Serum also enhanced his decision-making abilities, so that he can make life-saving calculations before we even have time to realize he made a decision.

Even more impressive, he has an eidetic (or photographic) memory, and his short and long-term memory is almost perfect. As such, he is fluent in many languages, has enhanced reasoning abilities, and is basically a super spy as well as a super soldier.

So while we in the audience laugh right along with Tony when Captain America doesn’t recognize a computer game, we would do well to remember that his brain still works faster than a computer.

1. That Wonderful Willpower

The one thing, through all of his years since he first met the scientist that administered the Super Soldier Serum, that he has always had is his strength of character. His good looks, his strength, his agility, even his intelligence… none of that comes close to the power of his heart.

This true superpower is what got him his gig, from burly mascot to leader of the Avengers, and it is what continues to make us love him, and the Marvelverse trust him. Even Mjolnir, the Hammer of Thor, whose magic nature is very judgmental, sees Steve Rogers as worthy of affection, if a hammer’s idea of “affection” is allowing him the ability to wield it and therefore the ability to pound skulls.

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