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The Messed-Up Part Of Captain America That Fans Are Happy To Ignore

Captain America (Chris Evans) is a cold-blooded murderer. But you already knew that. He's a soldier, after all — he's been trained to kill, first by the U.S. Army and then by SHIELD. Unlike other heroes, like Batman or Superman, killing was never against Steve Rogers' moral code. People might have been up in arms when the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) snapped General Zod's (Michael Shannon) neck in 2013, or when the Bat (Ben Affleck) bulldozed over a car of goons in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," but the Star-Spangled Man plunged two Helicarriers into Washington, D.C., in 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and nobody batted an eye.

In "Captain America: The First Avenger," Cap bats around Nazis like it's nothing. Fans probably weren't too concerned with these scenes — Captain America throws HYDRA soldiers out of planes and knocks them flat with his shield, but American film heroes have been killing Nazis on-screen for decades. The real messed-up part of Captain America comes in his subsequent appearances, when the morality of his feats of derring-do becomes murkier and he racks up a kill count potentially in the thousands.

How strong is Captain America?

Captain America represents peak human physicality ... and then some. He's put robots in chokeholds, outswum a diving submarine, and thrown his vibranium shield around like a boomerang. But to answer the question of how dangerous Captain America is, we have to find out how strong he is.

Let's get right to it — Captain America is capable of curling a helicopter. Research from Nerdist states that to stop Bucky's (Sebastian Stan) helicopter from taking off in "Captain America: Civil War," he would need to exceed the Airbus AS350's lifting capacity of 3,000 pounds. So if he can do that, what could he do to a normal person? According to a Japanese study, it takes as much as 1,200 pounds of force to crush a human skull (via PubMed), a feat Captain America could, on paper, do as easily as tearing a log in twain.

Details are scarce on the power of Captain America's shield. While it's easily proven that Captain America could, for instance, kick a truck with over 1 ton of force (via SpaceBattles), it's a little hazier what throwing the shield at someone's chest or neck would do to them. Fans on the Marvel subreddit, though, speculate that the outlook isn't good for Captain America's enemies. "I recently re-watched Civil War and can't understand how bad guys survive his attacks," u/FoxEngland said. "He throws his shield at people's heads with super strength! No one is surviving that!"

Okay, but he hasn't killed THAT many people, right?

Captain America has killed a lot of people. In what he calls a "rapid fight scene trauma diagnosis" of the "Winter Soldier" elevator scene, doctor and YouTuber Dr Hope's Sick Notes concluded that every single HYDRA agent in that elevator is facing fractures galore, some with lasting brain trauma, severe spinal injuries, or potential cardiac arrest. And Cap did all of that with literally one hand tied behind his back (or magnetized to the wall).

One analysis from Redditor u/ikeisco on r/theydidthemath is much direr. The user proposed that Steve Rogers is capable of punching with 9,100 pounds of force based on the scene in "The Avengers" where he knocks a punching bag clear across the room. So unless Steve is pulling his punches and kicks, nearly every encounter he has with a human adversary likely results in death. The scene in "The Winter Soldier" where he kicks a guy backward into a railing and then off a ship? That guy's dead. The bit in "Civil War" when he slams a man face-first into a concrete pillar? Definitely dead. Every time he throws his shield at somebody's head or neck? Mega-dead.

Even if most fans are okay with the all-American hero's murder spree, he's also responsible for some cataclysmic destruction. The finale of "The Winter Soldier" finds Cap destroying two SHIELD Helicarriers and causing them to crash into Washington, D.C., possibly killing thousands of innocent people. One estimate from YouTuber Mr Sunday Movies puts Cap's kill count in "The Winter Soldier" alone at 14,007. That may be a liberal estimate, but one thing's for sure: Cap's really putting the "red" into red, white, and blue.