The New Captain America’s Biggest Flaw Is That He’s A Soldier
John Walker’s stint as Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was doomed from the start due to his status as a soldier and a mascot instead of an independent superhero. The U.S. Government’s decision to appoint John Walker as Steve Rogers’ Captain America successor is evidently misguided, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4 confirmed the fans’ suspicions when Walker murdered one of the Flag-Smashers in front of a large crowd — something Steve Rogers would have never done regardless of how emotionally affected he’d found himself. John Walker is riddled with personal flaws. However, one of the worst mistakes about the new Captain America is the idea that he should be a superpowered soldier in the first place.
Steve Rogers made the idea of embodying Captain America a much easier task than it really was. Steve always faced the most grueling battles with a clear mind, aiming for the best for everyone involved but always questioning whether whatever he was doing was actually the right thing to do. This mindset didn’t mean it was always smooth sailing for him, as he had to lose Bucky and witness his return as a living weapon, as well as fight Iron Man practically to the death, and live for a couple of years as a war criminal. Being Captain America was never easy for Steve Rogers, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier proves that the same thing is almost impossible for anybody else.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier established John Walker as a soldier who originally had good intentions and has put in the work to become the best Captain America he can be. However, John Walker is still aching to live up to the Captain America title, which makes him jealous of Steve Rogers’ Super-Soldier Serum powers and the acknowledgment that comes with being the country’s mascot. Unfortunately for him, becoming a mascot and an active-duty soldier was a mistake to begin with. As Steve Rogers demonstrated, being a hero meant questioning everyone’s decisions, including those in charge. John Walker couldn’t follow orders and fight superhero battles forever without eventually facing a moral dilemma like seeing his best friend die before his eyes. Any mistake he made would always be judged by the country he represents and the world at large.
Besides, the Super-Soldier Serum amplifies the user’s flaws and insecurities. Those who chose John Walker rushed in finding a replacement to Captain America without considering that a truly noble person like Steve Rogers can’t be easily found. Steve Rogers proved that Captain America never worked as the country’s picture-perfect mascot, and he fought as a superhero who represented America as an idea, contrary to John Walker, who fights as an agent for the United States as a territory.
In Captain America Vol 1. #332, Steve Rogers appears before the Commission on Superhuman Activities and willingly gives up his shield and costume, arguing that he can’t compromise his ideals to follow orders. He states that he doesn’t represent the American government, but instead represents the American people. This encapsulates the MCU’s depiction of Steve Rogers in that he really understood who Captain America is supposed to be, regardless of who dons the stars and stripes.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier sets up John Walker’s fall off the deep end after his reaction to Battlestar’s death. His violent actions mark the very first time the Captain America shield has been stained with blood in the MCU, and now the whole world knows that he isn’t the Captain America that they know and love. John Walker is set to become a twisted U.S. Agent, and it’s up to Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes to embody not the old Captain America, but a new one that honors what Steve Rogers stood for.