When Does Captain America: The First Avenger Take Place?

Captain America: The First Avenger is the earliest live action item we have in the MCU, and helps place other items on the timeline down the line. This is part 5 of a 20 part video series discussing when each film in the MCU takes place. So when exactly does it occur?

“You gonna be okay?” “Yeah. Yeah, I just… I had a date.”

The film begins with an expeditionary crew uncovering the frozen tomb of Captain America in 2011 at some point shortly after the events of Fury’s Big Week, which we discuss in more detail in parts 2, 3, and 4. While this scene is short, it sets the stage for the tragedy that unfolds, as we head back in time to March 1942, where we find that Red Skull finds the Tesseract in Tønsberg, Norway.

The largest portion of the film takes place in 1943, over a year later on June 14th. The film is a great period piece, but this shot with two newspapers sharing events that take place over a year apart from one another is a bit unsettling. Regardless, after initially failing to be recruited once again, Steve Rogers later that evening actually enlists at the 1943 Stark Expo. He spends just short of a week in Camp Lehigh before being chosen to enter the Super Soldier Serum program. “At the end of this week, we will choose that man.” He officially becomes Captain America on June 22nd, 1943.

After spending some months in America selling war bonds, he visits the troops on the front lines in Italy. Captain America truly became a war hero when, on November 3rd, 1943, he left on his own to take down a Hydra base and free Allied war prisoners, returning them to safety 7 days later.

We get a montage of Captain America and his Howling Commandos taking down Hydra bases, and in 1944 Bucky falls to his presumed death and Arnim Zola is captured by U.S. Forces. We also see the fall of Captain America in 1945, likely on Sunday, March 4th. 66 years later, Captain America is found under the ice, though Fury rounds up to 70. “You’ve been asleep, Cap; for almost 70 years.” And the mid credits scene here is actually just an alternate take from the Avengers, which we explain in Part 6 is in 2012.

So for those of you counting at home, we have 4% of the film in 1942, 62.5% in 1943, 10.5% in 1944, 17% in 1945, 5.5% in 2011, and .4% in 2012.

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