Should Cap, as Vulture suggests, be more old-fashioned in his attitudes on gender, race or sexuality? I’m inclined to think not. For one, World War II saw massive social upheaval in both the first two categories, and we’ve already seen Cap work alongside a strong, authoritarian woman, so it seems weird that he’d suddenly have a problem with that. He’s also well established as both an underdog himself and a champion of same, so it would be strange for him to suddenly take a stance against tolerance. Rogers is not a man desperate to prove himself; he remains the same kid that he was underneath, trying to do what he feels is right rather than subscribing to some outside notion of machismo that demands he also be sexist or homophobic or something. And aside from any questions of decency and responsible filmmaking, from a storytelling point of view it would be endlessly distracting if Cap suddenly started making homophobic statements or patting passing women on the butt (he wasn’t exactly a ladykiller in the ’40s; why would he suddenly turn boorish now?).
What’s important and interesting about Cap is exactly what some people dismiss as boring. It’s that decency and honesty and sense of moral authority. In a film world full of compromised characters, flawed protagonists and out-and-out anti-heroes, Steve Rogers is a breath of fresh air. Someone with no secrets, who literally wears his high ideals as a uniform and gets on with the job at hand, is far more interesting than any number of self-torturing, whiny man-children.