For the Love of Bucky
Alright, so Vanity Fair has all our favorite Marvel characters on a set of special covers for Infinity Wars. Except, wait a minute! Not so fast! They left off a rather important character – one James Buchanan Barnes. That’s right, Bucky was left off the covers. Now, I’m told that he gets attention in the article. But, why isn’t he on a cover? Wasp is on a cover, and her movie isn’t even out yet!
In our house, we are huge Bucky fans. My phone case is a customized Bucky case. My wonderful husband, knowing how much I love Bucky, bought a printed canvas for our downstairs hallway. We painted the wall specifically for the print – it makes me so happy! So, I really have a strong need now to point out a few Bucky facts in the Marvel story.
Bucky is a rather major character in Steve’s storyline. Our first introduction to Bucky is him coming to Steve’s defense in Captain America: The First Avenger. Steve steps up and truly takes on the role of Captain America, becoming the hero, in order to save his friend. And Bucky, after the torture he went through when held by Hydra, turns around and joins Steve’s team because of their friendship. The loss of Bucky, and the guilt Steve feels over the circumstances of that loss, changes how Steve viewed what he wanted as an outcome of his involvement in the war.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the realization that Bucky is alive and is the Winter Soldier again changes how Steve has to view the world around him. His loyalty is completely challenged. He knows he needs to take down Hydra. But he is conflicted by his friendship with Bucky, his feelings of failing Bucky in the past, and the question of whether Bucky has control of what he is doing. Steve, of course, chooses to do what is right and fights Bucky until he has successfully stopped Hydra. But at soon as Hydra is stopped, Steve stops fighting Bucky. He allows Bucky to beat him senseless, in hopes of reminding Bucky of who he is. And he does cause Bucky to have a spark of memory – Bucky pulls Steve out of the water.
Then we have Captain America: Civil War. Bucky, trying so hard to remember who he is and to begin a new life. And Steve, knowing that his friend deserves a chance, instead of an automatic death sentence. I think that’s what a lot of people forget in the whole debate about which side you should pick in Civil War. Steve didn’t go to Bucky’s apartment to help him escape. He went there to bring Bucky in – to take him to the authorities. He didn’t feel that Bucky deserved a shoot on sight order, without giving him an opportunity to talk and defend himself. It was only after seeing Bucky’s apartment, seeing the signs of a man trying, hearing Bucky say that he didn’t do it, seeing what Zemo did to him, and hearing him talk about the others like him, that Steve decided to trust and defend his friend. And in the end, Steve gives up so much, because he sees that Bucky is as much a victim in his story as all the people that Bucky was forced to kill. Bucky had no control over his choices. We saw that in The Winter Soldier.
So, why do so many have the idea that Bucky is a villain? That he doesn’t deserve the friendship of Steve Rogers? We Marvel fans all love to sit around and over-analyze these movies. We love to debate with each other and start Twitter wars and cause arguments backstage at a community theater (no kidding, it happened). But there should be some things that we can all agree on in these stories. And one of those things should be that Bucky deserves better.
And Sebastian Stan deserves better – the way he has acted this character is absolutely amazing! The emotions you can see – pain, hope, sorrow, guilt. It’s brilliant. Especially in The Winter Soldier, where so much of his acting was just the eyes, simply because we couldn’t see the rest of his face and he had so few lines to convey what was going on in his mind. Did I say amazing? Sebastian really is such an amazing actor. Oy.
So, someone, please do something to recognize Bucky (and Sebastian). Please! He deserves better! Thank you.