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The Best Movie Kiss of All Time

People can talk all they like about the best movie kiss of all time. Jabber on all you like about Titanic or The Fault in Our Stars or whatever romantic movie is popular these days. As for me, I think the best kissing scene in any movie I've ever seen is from Captain America: Civil War, between Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter.

Part of the reason I like the kiss so much is that I approve of the romance so much. I like to say that I have to approve of romantic partners separately before I can approve of them together--by which I simply mean that if I don't like one or both of them for who they are, why in the world am I going to like their romance or anything else to do with them? And obviously, I love Steve. He's basically everything anyone could possibly want in a man, from his unwavering morals to his attractive appearance. But I've really grown to like Sharon too. She's capable and driven without being a "strong" (read: irritating) female character, she can hold her own, she abandons her job and joins Steve when she knows he's in the right...and she's actually nice. It's kind of rare to see that combination, but she's both sweet and able to kick your butt into next Tuesday if necessary.

So, onto the kiss itself. The Captain America movies are, first and foremost, action movies. Especially because they're superhero movies, they can get away with a lot of cheesy or lazy writing. You know what to expect from an action flick in terms of romance--a hot sidekick who is either a pathetic weepy damsel in distress or is feisty, irascible, and snarks at the hero all the way through the story. Then at some point around the climax, they become so overwhelmed with their feelings that they spend five minutes trying to eat each other's face off, if not going all the way and having hot sex while we're forced to watch. And the thing is, apart from making me feel uncomfortable, that kind of snog-fest has become so...boring. Narratively, nothing is happening! A kiss that takes five minutes doesn't usually tell you anything that you couldn't convey in two seconds. And that's an awful lot of wasted time you could be using to give us vital bits of plot or characterization.

But the kiss in Civil War doesn't do that. They don't linger and grope each other and try to swallow each other's tongues. They lean in, they kiss, BOOM. Done. No nonsense, no grossing us all out. And what I especially love is how normal and natural it feels. It was really easy to believe this wasn't two hot actors kissing on a stage, but two actual, real people who are actually really attracted to each other. I just love how chaste it is, so in keeping with Steve's gentlemanly character formed from his upbringing in the '30s and '40s as well as his own unwavering moral compass.

Because that's another area where this kiss succeeds while most action movie kisses fail abysmally: The kiss demonstrates what kind of people these characters are. It's not just something thrown in there for some fanservice because people want to see Steve in a romance since most of these movies are dedicated to bromance. No, just from the way they kiss, you can understand more of what they're like and what they see in each other. Notice that Sharon, while obviously attracted to Steve for a long time, has always been inviting but not demanding. She keeps a respectful distance while also making it clear that she's interested. She leaves it up to him to decide what direction their relationship is going, not because she's not assertive enough to claim what she wants (because we've seen her stand up for what she believes over and over again, even when it means going against authority), but because she knows how awkward their relationship could be since his old sweetheart was her great-aunt. So instead of pressing him or doing something to seduce him and get what she wants, she stands back and waits for him to make the first move.

And the way Steve responds is just as revealing. We saw in The First Avenger how inexperienced and awkward Steve is around women; this stems from his beginnings as a tiny, skinny dude that hardly anybody found attractive. After his transformation, he found himself suddenly extremely handsome, but not much better at talking to women he was attracted to. I love how he says, when Bucky tells him there are millions of girls in New York, "I'd settle for just one." Similarly, when Natasha keeps suggesting girls for him to take out, Steve just isn't interested. He's usually too focused on his work to spare much thought for love, but when he does, he only ever has one real object of his affections. A lesser man, when placed in a dancing troupe of pretty, talented girls to dance with every week, would probably have at least a short-lived fling with one or two. We see no evidence of that. In fact, we see no evidence that he even has any interaction with the girls off-stage at all. The only girl he's interested in is Peggy.

And in The Winter Soldier, of course, we see how devastatingly lonely Steve is. He really wants close companionship, but as he says, shared life experience is a bit hard to come by for him. It's obvious he's quite taken with Sharon, and stumbles his way through sort-of asking her out (notice how he never has trouble talking to women he's working with like Natasha or even making inspiring impromptu speeches--he just gets nervous around women he likes). Things cool off once he learns that she's been working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but after the events of the climax, she has earned his trust again. And everything she does for him, risking her job and even her life, only warms his heart towards her even more in Civil War.

So everything has been leading up to that moment when she brings their gear to him and starts her life as a fugitive like him. She has sacrificed everything for him, but she asks nothing in return. She just wants to help him, and do the right thing. There's a moment where they both stand looking at each other, and they could step back and part ways, loyal friends who are attracted to each other, but nothing more. But you can see the point where Steve makes up his mind: "No, I want this." And so he takes the step, he takes initiative, and he kisses her.

And when they break apart, they both just look so happy. Again, they don't linger in some kind of steamy I-wish-we-could-jump-into-bed-right-now way. They just smile and say, "That was late." As if to say, "What were we afraid of? Why were we so nervous? This is wonderful." Most movie kisses are just so passionate that I ironically can't see them leading to much of a stable relationship. Because what happens when he has bad breath or she gains 20 pounds? Suddenly they don't seem so exciting anymore. But Steve and Sharon respond so normally to each other that I can totally see them growing old together and acting like this for years to come.

And just as a bonus, both of Steve's bros totally approve of his choice :3