How one might justify Constantly Available Love Interest
[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[While discussing the most current Captain America movie, Ana Mardoll wrote of the female lead:
If she had a job in that movie that was anything other than "Love Interest" (and therefore magically available at all times in all circumstances necessary), I never caught on to it.]
The only thing I can think of that might have been able to justify such constant availability, and this doesn't apply to the actual movie at all, would be if she had been a superhero tasked with overseeing the superheroing of the new superhero. She's there in training to evaluate the candidates, she's there at the injection because she's been through this before and can thus provide support, she's on the front lines with loosely worked out duties because she's in the job of heroing and that sometimes involves disappearing at a moment's notice onto an unplanned covert mission, the shooting of a gun in the lab without warning can have no explanation, and she's talking to him during special missions because as another superhero she's one of the few people who understand what he's going through on such missions.
Unfortunately, that totally fails to make sense in the context of the actual movie.
So I guess what I'm saying is, imagine that instead of being there to be a love interest with no apparent purpose of her own, she were a superhero who was instead had a reason for being there, that being that she was a superhero too. First off, it would explain why she was where she was (see above) second it would actually make it so she wasn't just there. She'd have a purpose, even though Steve, and the audience with him, wouldn't know what it was at first.
You could actually incorporate some of the unanswered questions from the actual movie into such a version. Steve could ask (himself and others) why she was there, what her job was, why she appeared in what seemed to be wildly divergent settings. And then those questions could be answered.
When she they did meet again, on the front lines, she'd have a clear purpose for being there, and when she helped Steve come to terms with being an nearly invincible hero who sometimes has to watch his friends die right in front of him, it would be as someone who actually knew what it felt like because she'd had to do it herself which would in turn make it clear that she has a life outside of being Steve's love interest because she would be talking about that life.
She wouldn't just be Steve's love interest. She'd be Peggy Carter, who happened to be tending toward a relationship with Steve. The movie that exists never gives an impression of who Peggy Carter is when Steve is out of the room.