"As for Captain America, while I don’t think that knowledge of Steve’s backstory is necessary to understand The Avengers, an appreciation of his character definitely helps. Seeing Steve Rogers before his supersoldier transformation helps us understand the reason why he “is” Captain America rather than just a star-spangled man, and the fact that he’s fresh from the ’40s has the twofold influence of making him the ultimate fish-out-of-water character (perhaps even moreso than Thor, who has no real need to fit in with human society) and adding a horrendously depressing aspect to every one of his scenes because everyone he ever knew or loved is dead. The fact that Steve Rogers is even remotely functional in day-to-day life is tantamount to a miracle. Steve Rogers has the same goofily earnest attitude as Clark Kent/Superman, something that’s rather hard to pull off in a movie aimed at the cynical bastards of 2012. It makes me worry that people who haven’t seen the Captain America prequel might misunderstand the charm of the Steve Rogers we see in Avengers. I saw several reviews that commented that Cap seemed clunky or cheesy compared to the rest of the Avengers, and each time I got this ridiculous protective urge to be like, No! Watch his own movie! It’s heartbreaking and inspiring and there’s a musical number where he punches Hitler in front of a chorus line of girls in spangly stars-and-stripes minidresses! Man, I’m Scottish and a pacifist and barely have any patriotic spirit for my own country (unless you include gallows humour about rain and alcoholism), but if you don’t like Captain America then I don’t even know what to do with you. He’s even better now than he was fifty years go because as a person he’s really the exact opposite of the kind of jingoistic sentiment the 1940s propoganda “Captain America” was originally intended to be." —
-Hellotailor’s Article on Captain America
I really liked this person’s analysis of Cap. There’s more in the article, and she talks about how the clothes he’s given reveal a lot about his character. He is so not boring. He’s this extremely strong person who has gone through SO MUCH. He has lost EVERYTHING dear to him and has been tossed into a world that he has no idea how to navigate, and what does he do? He fights on, and he does what’s best for others above all else. Also yes on the jingoism thing.
I think it says everything that his weapon is a shield. He’s a protector, not a warrior, above all else.