Whether you are a die-hard Marvel fan and have seen every episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier or not, all you need to know for the purposes of this piece is that a major plot point involves the existence of a "super soldier serum." . One version of this serum turned the stick figure Steve Rogers into the almost unbeatable badass Captain America he became. It's also what made his best friend Bucky Barnes a winter soldier.
The benefits of the serum are as follows, cited directly from the Marvel Cinematic Universe Fandom website: The normal effects of the serum are an increase in the molecular density of cell fibers (skin and muscles) by synthetic proteins. This means that the serum can naturally improve the proteins in the subject and their effects, thereby effectively giving the subject improved physical abilities.
It also naturally improves metabolic, cellular and chemical processes in the body, which can improve regenerative and healing abilities and build greater resistance to fatigue and exhaustion. These can also allow a patient to fully recover without medication, medication, or other medical or therapeutic treatments. In addition, the serum can also affect the patient's dopamine, testosterone, adrenaline, various other endorphins and hormones, and enhance the effects of such chemicals to further improve the patient's physical performance.
Translation: They become immeasurably strong, incredibly fast, mostly indestructible, cannot get sick and lead a long, powerful life.
Of course you are now thinking who makes this serum: J&J, Moderna or Pfizer? (This was M&F Editor Jeff Tomko's joke, and it's good and timely so we'll use it.)
Classic vaccine humor aside, you really think: sign me up!
t so fast.
The PROS are obvious as we mentioned above. You basically become Captain America. Your current maximum of one repetition is irrelevant once you take the serum. You can go to a gym and yell, "Give me all the weights!" and you can lift it. They are strong enough to actually bend the barbell with your bare hands. You can squat on the squat rack with a dozen gym staff. A pair of 45-pound records is no heavier than two 45-record records. You can deadlift a forklift.
It's like steroids on steroids on steroids with no side effects. You can dominate your lunchtime LA Fitness Hoops game like Kevin Durant vs kindergarten teachers, dive off the foul line (or three-point line) and beat every shot like Dikembe Mutombo with Vince Carter's hops.
You can take part in a marathon at the last minute and finish it faster than an episode of Young Rock. They would have no competition other than other super soldiers.
Which begs the question:
Is that a good thing?
Doesn't that mean a de facto avenger is destroying the entire lifestyle that you are currently interested in?
How fun is it to aim to lift twice your body weight when you can roll out of bed and pick up a Ford Explorer without a warm-up kit?
Would it be fun to win an Iron Man triathlon if you were essentially competing against a fleet or Roombas?
The way the super soldier serum is used in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, anyone who has injected it into their bloodstream will have superhuman speed and strength almost instantly. But for a lot of the characters, that doesn't mean they'll look like Thor overnight. Almost all of them look exactly the same.
If you've been jacked up before, you'll stay jacked up. But to ordinary people who include them on the show, they gain the strength, not the physical attraction. The thin guy stays thin. The little girl stays small. The tall wiry guy stays tall and wiry. They each have the strength of a dozen or more people for whom none of the muscles are present.
Would you still want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger if you could be 50 times stronger than Arnold Palmer?
This begs a somewhat awkward question regarding vanity:
How much would you exercise if you had essentially unlimited strength without the visually pleasing bulk?
And would you still be motivated to hit the gym five days a week if you were stronger than all of humanity, whether or not you ever lifted a weight again - or would you even bother to keep your gym membership to renew? This doesn't mean anything about how your fellow lifters are likely to perceive you.
Sure, it would be cool as hell to be a superhero, but check out how guys who cheated out of strength are usually treated by their peers. (I understand that in principle taking the serum is not the same as cheating, but the result would be similar. You would have an extreme advantage over the general population in terms of anything physical.)
Barry Bonds was banned. Mark McGwire was verbally abused. Sammy Sosa was avoided. And all they did was take some juice to hit a ball. How would your friends treat you in a flag soccer game if you scored a goal every game? Would you have fun? Would you? Would anyone care if you won every Strongest Man event in the world with an arm behind your back?
So it all boils down to this important question:
Would the PROS of becoming superhuman outweigh the CONS overall?
In my opinion, yes.
Once you are "awesome" you are no longer "human" and that would certainly take time to get used to. But man ... you could do a lot of good with your new powers: protect your family ... protect your city ... stop the baddies ... all that basic superhero stuff. But as Peter Parker's Uncle Ben said, "With great strength comes great responsibility."
What would you do?
Follow Jon Finkel on Twitter: @Jon_Finkel