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  The Bridge

In the episode The Bridge (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) superhuman Mike Peterson pushes a bulldozer across a football field.

Afterwards Mike and his trainer exchange these words:

Mike:   Did I beat Captain America’s time?

Trainer:   Not even close.


But according to the Marvel Wiki Captain America's strength is:

enhanced to the very peak of human potential.

As a result, he is as physically strong as a human being can be without being classified as superhuman.


My question:

  • Does Captain America's strength surpass peak human level in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

    
I don't know if that is answerable, but the key point is "Peak of human POTENTIAL", implying end of the evolutionary path. We already have people that can pull trains by their teeth, tow semi, etc., so pushing a bulldozer across a grass field is not even that far fetched. – JohnP Dec 12 '13 at 15:16
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@JohnP - The people who e.g. pull trucks ususally do so on solid ground, with the wheels able to move freely, which minimizes friction. I think moving a 40+ ton bulldozer on soft ground, with it's tracks locked (they weren't moving) is superhuman territory. - I don't remember if in the movies Captain America had been shown to exhibit strength on a superhuman level, i.e. lift/push/pull something that weighed several tons. But it's been too long since I have seen the movies to be sure, hence my question. – Oliver_C Dec 12 '13 at 16:28
    
Granted, but these are people whose only possible aid is lots of training and possibly steroid/drug enhancement. If Cap represents the end all/be all of human development, I can still see it not being that far fetched, especially when considered against a comic 'verse backdrop. – JohnP Dec 13 '13 at 2:33
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@JohnP - I agree that in a comic'verse peak human level might be exaggerated. – Oliver_C Dec 13 '13 at 11:47
    
The simple answer is that it's a bad bit of script writing/filming where they haven't done the research. See tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PowerCreepPowerSeep – A Pale Shadow Dec 16 '13 at 9:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The simple answer is YES. Very easily this is proven in The Avengers, while on board the flying boat, Captain goes in search of evidence of SHIELD's misuse of the Teseract and finds a closed door. At this instance, we see (or rather hear) Captain open the door forcibly using only arm strength to do so. This is only one such proof of super human strength in Captain America. This scene is just before Hawk lands on the ship and Banner becomes the Hulk.

EDIT:

The Production Notes from Captain America: The First Avenger contain this quote from director Joe Johnston:

He doesn‘t have any super powers per se— his powers are basically what the human body can do, but taken to a level of physical perfection. I have to say, that‘s what appealed to me about the character and about doing a film.

As he suggests, no special powers, but this is as good as it gets.

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1  
Could you describe the scene a bit more? My memory of the scene is vague, but I think that even though it's a steel door, he neither punches through, nor bends it out of shape. It's a door that slides open, and he exerts enough force to break the lock, not the door itself. I might be wrong though. – Oliver_C Dec 13 '13 at 11:34
    
@Oliver_C ... you are describing the scene I'm talking about. I'm not sure I'd describe the door as sliding open, but yes, it moves in a sideways motion. Captain is able to open the door regardless of the lock which is (I'm sure) designed to keep even the above average person out of the room. We have not seen that Steve Rogers has the strength of Hulk or even Thor, but his strength is far in excess of an above average human and therefor has superhuman strength. The scene I described above should prove this to any onlooker. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 13 '13 at 11:43
    
Yes, the scene proofs that Captain America is stronger than a normal human, but has he ever been shown to perform a feat of strength comparable to moving a 40 ton rock (with its tracks locked the bulldozer is basically a rock)? – Oliver_C Dec 13 '13 at 12:06
    
@Oliver_C ... The question was, "Does Captain America's strength surpass peak human level in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?" ... how does this not answer this question? I guess it all depends on what you or anyone else consider "peak" ... I wonder how many people could actually do anything Captain does? I'd suggest nobody, which is why he has superhuman strength, but now we are depending on opinion on both sides of the equation and not what is shown in the MCU. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 13 '13 at 12:19
    
The thing about Captain America is that even though he has been enhanced, he is still "one of us", he is still human, he is the best a human can be. The MAoS scene made me wonder whether the MCU changed that and elevated his powers beyond human capability, which is what I would call "superhuman" (see the Marvel Wiki quote in the question). - But you are right, I should have formulated my question more clearly. I don't want to do it now, because you have already given an answer. – Oliver_C Dec 13 '13 at 12:53

the MCU is an amalgamation of 616 universe and 1610 universe and the cap portrayed by chris gets his characteristic traits from 616 universe and his powers from 1610 universe, the evidences are, in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier:

  1. Right in the first scene after completing his jog, we see Falcon (presumably a peak human or at least above average human in intense conditioning) drenched in sweat and panting like hell, but Steve who completed the circuit in far lesser time and at greater speed didn't sweat a drop or pant a bit, this shows Captain's super human stamina.

  2. In the climax fight in one of the drones, after the Winter Soldier got struck under a huge metal beam (which looked like it could weigh at least a ton (2204 pounds)) Steve lifted that beam high and long enough so that Bucky can come out, this shows Captain's super human strength, saying this as MARVEL states the highest possible weight a peak human can lift is 500 kgs (1,110 lbs).

  3. Cap got blasted through a bus from a flyover above (3 storey high) at considerably great speed (due to grenade impact on his shield) and he even jumped from the 30th storey of treskilion and landed on streets (but used his shield to cushion the fall but if you can jump from 30th floor with a heavy pillow or shield to cushion and you are still unharmed then fine !) these feats shows cap's super human durability as any other human in the above situation would have simply died due to severe body damage.

  4. In the elevator scene Cap got tased multiple times with the stun baton and was being tased continuously for 5 seconds and was still resisting it, whereas humans would get unconscious within a second of contact from a stun baton, super human durability right.

  5. In a scene where Falcon was carrying Captain over the air he said "you are heavier than you look" which means due to super soldier serum his bones and muscles got denser and thus heavier, making him heavier than he looks, the end result his body is so many times durable and resilient to damage than human.

  6. Right from Captain America 1 to Cap 2 whenever Cap punched or kicked a human they tend to fly several meters away in the air, this shows his super human strength (the kinda strength to send a fully grown man with his equipment several meters away in air with his strike power) and I haven't seen any peak human do that till now.

  7. In Captain America: The First Avenger Cap was shown chasing a car across the city and he was keeping his pace with the car and even managed to catch the car, which implies Cap can run at a speed which is somewhere between 37 - 49 miles per hour, and that's a genuine super human speed.

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Steve is most definitely superhuman. Flipping the motorcycle is one, but in the first cap movie hes holding a motorcycle with 3 women on it over his head, catching up to a submarine under water, punching the glass out and throwing the man up onto the pier a good 8-10 feet up while in water well over his head... The fall at the triskelion, taking direct shots from both Tony and Ultron in age of ultron, holding the car off the bridge before the bumper snaps off, ripping ultrons robots apart with his bare hands, as well as before he throws his motorcycle as hes riding he grabs a man with one arm, drags him and throws him into another... In Winter soldier when hes running an kicks the man on the lumerian star, the man goes sliding a good 20 feet into a metal tube which dents from the force, he also kicks a man off the boat.

The winter soldier (bucky barnes) also displayed such feats by kicking a man into a jet engine a good ten feet up, and being able to rip a car door off with ease with his robotic arm, as well as punching through a windshield and ripping a steering wheel off, Then being flung from a car at high speeds and getting up like nothing happened. And being able to sprint nearly as fast as cap. He also jumped off the bridge that cap got sent off of and landed on a car, which crunched the roof. That was a good 30 foot drop...

*These observations are all based off of the cinematic universe

In the comics bucky aka the winter soldier flung the punisher (frank) over his head with just his human arm, frank isnt a small guy either.

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He's supposed to be an Apex Homo Sapiens, which by definition cannot exceed the capabilities of a Human. – John Smith Optional Mar 2 at 21:49
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@JohnSmithOptional what they say he is, and what they show he is, don't jive. Hence the question and all these answers. – cde Mar 3 at 5:26
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there is no way a peak human could survive getting flung off a bridge through a bus windshield and live, let alone getting up and keeping fighting. Or take 4 bullets and a knife wound and lift a metal beam that weighs thousands of pounds. Definitely superhuman – Marvel comic fan Mar 4 at 0:22

The movie version of Captain America is a combination of the Ultimate Universe and the Main Universe. The "Ultimate" Captain America can lift up to 2 tons, so the movie version can probably do anything from peak human 800lbs to the 2 ton range depending on who is writing.

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so basically there are two marvel universes they 616 universe where captain america is a peak human and there is 1610 ultimate universe where captain is a super human, so basically the powers of captain america in cinematic universe is based upon the ultimate universe, so yeah the captain america portrayed by chris evans is a genuine super human.

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Could you clarify how you're able to confirm why(Chris Evans) Cap is a superhuman from what you've stated, as The MCU isn't the #1610...? – John Smith Optional May 2 '14 at 9:57

These things are made up according to the plot requirements and just a loose hierarchy. Such as, Captain America can't just stand still while being shot by pistols or stop a train, like the Hulk or Super-man would, but, if the plot requires, he would be able to knock out the Hulk, even if cheating somewhat, like throwing the shield after a dash in a dramatic slow motion to emphasize effort, or throwing a big safe over his head from the top of a building while he's not looking, whatever. A non-"super" human would have to do something more extreme to achieve the same effect, and wouldn't be able to lift and throw down with force a big safe, for example, instead a more normal human, even with impressive strenght would have to do something like hit Hulk with a full-speed truck with a heavy load or something.

There is no absolute consistency in this sort of thing, be in comics or in movies, they just do the best to keep just a loose consistency while they stretch it quite a bit in order to make some scenes cooler or just "possible". But it won't stand careful scrutiny, it's like on episode A32F7 of itchy and scratchy, when scratchy hit twice the same xylophone piece, but it played two different notes, like only a magic xylophone would do.

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The single greatest feat of strength seen by Steve Rogers in the MCU movies was in Age of Ultron. In the siege of the Hydra base, Cap is seen flipping his motorcycle (a 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim or a Harley-Davidson Street 750) over his head, into a Military grade Humvee. Dry standing weight of these bikes are in the 600+ lbs range. That's not including any upgrades or armor added.

enter image description here

Not only does he flip it while at high speed, he stops the Humvee in its tracks. And he completely negates all forward momentum of himself, ignoring inertia.

The record for human weightlifting is ~400 lbs snatch, i.e. a clean lift above the head. Cap did it without any signs of exerting himself. This puts him into superhuman range, clearly not peak human. Steve's Strength, stamina, speed, and athletic/gymnastic skill would allow him to easily break every single Olympic or Guiness record by a large margin.

Update:

In Civil War, we see Cap single handedly hold a helicopter in the air.

Based on a comment by TylerH on similar question:

The helicopter in the movie generates about 2000hp, or 1491.4 Kilowatts. As shown in quora.com/How-much-energy-can-a-human-produce and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_power, as well as worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/32336/…, a healthy human (on average) 1.2 horsepower for a short time, whereas a trained athlete can generate twice that. Considering Cap is capable of holding that helicopter indefinitely, and thus generating at least 2000 horsepower... He is being shown as able to generate ~1666x as much power as the average human. That by very definition of the word is superhuman ability.

Rogers ability to stop a helicopter for a significant amount of time is just inhuman. enter image description here

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