If Jerry Seinfeld exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he might have something to say about Captain America’s shield. After all, what’s the deal with that shield? Can anyone toss it like a frisbee, or do you need to be a super soldier? Does Cap take his shield to Central Park on the weekend for a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee?
Mediocre standup comedy aside, the rules of Cap’s shield have never been as clear as Thor’s hammer. For a while, it seemed like you really did need to be a super soldier to effectively use that thing. Then, John Walker showed up and started tossing it around with nothing but his own non-super strength. However, the most recent episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier might finally settle this debate once and for all.
The problem with Captain America’s shield
One of the best scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is when Steve Rogers throws the shield and Bucky Barnes (identity unknown at this point) turns around and catches it mid-air. This is a big deal because a normal person shouldn’t be able to catch Cap’s shield.
Later, in Captain America: Civil War, when Steve and Bucky team up against Tony Stark at the end of the movie they use the shield together, tossing it back and forth in what feels like an unfair two-against-one fight. Despite the violence of that moment, there’s a beauty in how these two super soldiers can work as one in a way two regular people never could.
So what about John Walker? When he first shows up in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he’s a regular soldier who can still wield the shield. Does that mean anyone can do it with enough practice? (If so, that’s good news for Sam Wilson). However, the answer might not be quite so simple.
Two ways to wield Captain America’s shield
As some fans have already pointed out, when John Walker first starts tossing around the shield, he’s clearly no Captain America. Steve Rogers made an art out of throwing that thing, often hitting multiple targets with a single toss. By comparison, Walker’s only move seems to be throwing his weapon directly at a single target so it can bounce straight back to him. (And no, hitting multiple targets in a controlled practice environment is not the same as doing it doing an actual fight.)
It’s possible Walker just isn’t as creative, but one moment in Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 4 could reveal the truth. After the new Captain America gives himself a dose of Super Soldier Serum something changes...
He’s way better with the shield. Walker even hits two Flag-Smashers in a single toss that also bounces off a wall before returning to him. See for yourself:
Why does this matter? Well, it seems that anyone can use Cap’s shield, but you might have to be a super soldier to use it the way Steve Rogers does. This could be bad news for Sam Wilson, who seems destined to pick up the shield before Falcon and the Winter Soldier is done and also just made it clear he’d never take the Super Soldier Serum.
Maybe Sam is the exception. Maybe he can use the shield, or maybe he’ll ultimately decide he doesn’t need a metal frisbee to be Captain America. Then again, maybe we’re wrong and Marvel is about to change the rules one more time.