Every Time Captain America Broke The Rules In The MCU

Voting Rules
Vote up the MCU moments where Captain America wasn't such a boy scout.

When it comes to assessing the moral alignments of the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s one in particular that should never be in doubt: Captain America is the very definition of “lawful good.” But for someone so closely associated with doing things properly, there sure are an awful lot of examples to be found of Captain America breaking the law. Maybe he’s not so lawful, after all.

And maybe that’s not such a bad thing, either. Steve Rogers was a part of the MCU for many years, and he lived through some truly world-shattering events during that lengthy run. Anyone, even a character as morally rigid as Cap, should undergo great change over that much time and under such consistently dire circumstances. That Rogers started out as “lawful good” and ended up more “chaotic good” isn’t a sign of any moral lapse on his part - it’s a sign of growth. 

  • 1
    78 VOTES

    He Damaged Public Property At The Leipzig-Halle Airport

    Pretty much everything that Steve Rogers did after refusing to sign the Sokovia Accords was illegal, by definition. His continued superheroing beyond that point was in direct violation of the authority of the United Nations, and some of that superheroing involved fighting other superheroes in the streets to keep a potentially dangerous fugitive out of their custody.

    On top of all that, Captain America was also definitely guilty of some major and willful property damage at the Leipzig-Halle Airport. The infamous brawl that occurred there between Team Cap and Team Iron Man was problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was Rogers destroying a whole bunch of valuable stuff. He shattered the supports of a jet-bridge with his shield - dropping it on top of a spider-powered teenager in the process - and he played part in the hurling of a fuel truck at War Machine, which promptly exploded.

    That may pale in comparison to the dozens of privately owned automobiles wrecked by his teammate Wanda Maximoff in the same fracas, but it’s property damage all the same. 

    78 votes
  • 2
    81 VOTES

    He Stole A Costume From The Smithsonian

    While on the run from the Hydra-infested S.H.I.E.L.D., Steve Rogers found himself without a Captain America costume - and when the situation next called for a big, world-saving mission, it just didn’t feel right for him to operate in plainclothes. So, Rogers broke into his own exhibit at the Smithsonian and stole his old WWII-era suit, slipping it on before he headed back to the Triskelion.

    There’s an argument to be made that the costume always belonged to Rogers, even though it was legally the property of the US Army. But even if he had a legitimate claim to it, stealing it from the Smithsonian - as a fugitive, no less - still had consequences. Or, as the exhibit’s security guard, played by Stan Lee, put it, “Oh man. I am so fired.”

    81 votes
  • 3
    69 VOTES

    He Helped His Loyal Avengers Break Out Of The Raft

    As if hiding the Winter Soldier from the law after he broke out of the JCTC wasn’t enough, Captain America actually masterminded and executed a far larger jailbreak just days later. With Sam Wilson, Clint Barton, Wanda Maximoff, and Scott Lang all incarcerated in the Raft for ignoring the Sokovia Accords - as encouraged by Steve Rogers - the roster of Team Cap was looking pretty slim.

    So, Cap somehow broke into the Raft, disabled all of its many security measures, and offered to break out anyone who wanted to come with him. In the end, Sam and Wanda took him up on his offer and went on the run, while Clint and Scott sought out plea deals instead. Given the power set of Maximoff alone - and what she did with it in the years to come - this could be argued as the most consequential and dangerous jailbreak in history.

    Rogers performed it with a smirk. 

    69 votes
  • 4
    66 VOTES

    He Warned Bucky That Cops Were Coming For Him, And Then Fought The Cops

    After the Winter Soldier dragged him from the wreckage of Project Insight, Steve Rogers became dedicated to finding his old friend and restoring him to the Bucky Barnes he once knew and loved. Even after Barnes was accused of bombing the Vienna International Center, Rogers gave him the benefit of the doubt - which is why it was a good thing that Steve found him first in the aftermath.

    Tracking Bucky down to his safehouse in Austria, Steve believed his denial of any involvement almost immediately, and then informed Bucky that a counter-terrorist unit was on the way to arrest him that very moment. When the international cops showed up, Rogers even went as far as to aid and abet Barnes’s escape by kicking the living daylights out of them. When the Black Panther showed up on the scene to attempt to bring Barnes in - or bring him down - Cap traded blows with him, too.

    Even if he was convinced of the Winter Soldier’s innocence, this is still Captain America acting directly against the orders of a cross-borders legal entity. Under the eye of the law, Bucky was a wanted criminal - and Cap determined his guiltlessness and set him loose without any form of fair trial. It was also Rogers’s first, but not his last, breaking of the Sokovia Accords.

    66 votes
  • 5
    66 VOTES

    He Broke The Geneva Conventions While Interrogating Jasper Sitwell

    Article 17 of the 1906 Geneva Convention states, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever.”

    Well, apparently Captain America doesn’t need to follow the Geneva Conventions, because he definitely inflicted mental torture on Jasper Sitwell while trying to uncover the truth of Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Sure, Sitwell was an evil individual involved in a plot to assassinate millions and, sure, it was technically Natasha Romanoff who kicked Sitwell off a roof. But Rogers - and Sam Wilson, his eventual successor as Captain America - still signed off on a plan that revolved around convincing Sitwell that he was about to perish until he gave up some vital information in exchange for his physical safety.

    That’s textbook coercive torture, and could be considered a war crime.  

    66 votes
  • 6
    71 VOTES

    He Defied Orders To Rescue The Howling Commandos

    Even after receiving the Super Soldier Serum and becoming Captain America, Steve Rogers didn’t become a true superhero right off the bat. Instead, he was ordered to perform in a series of USO shows, raising support for the Treasury Department and promoting war bonds. Even when he was finally shipped overseas, it was only to entertain the troops, not to fight alongside them.

    But that all changed when Rogers found out his childhood bestie, James “Bucky” Barnes, was being held as a POW behind enemy lines.

    After specifically being told that a rescue mission was not happening, Rogers stole some equipment, including his first shield, and set out anyway. Delivered by Howard Stark and Peggy Carter, the suited-up Captain America went on a one-man mission to save Bucky - and the rest of the future Howling Commandos - from a secret Hydra base in Austria.

    Upon returning to camp with the POWs in tow, Cap was celebrated as a hero for the first time - and nobody said all that much about his going AWOL in the first place. 

    71 votes