In the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bucky Barnes has emerged as a character whose transformation from haunted assassin to redeemed hero has captivated audiences worldwide. While Captain America / Steve Rogers has held the shield, Bucky’s journey and continued commitment to fight for good make him a better hero.
Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers shared a close bond as best friends in the MCU. Growing up together, their friendship was depicted as strong and enduring. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers assumes the role of Captain America and embarks on his first heroic mission, rescuing Bucky and his unit, who were declared MIA in a battle against Schmidt’s forces.
While Captain America / Steve Rogers has held the shield, Bucky’s journey and continued commitment to fight for good make him a better hero.
Refusing to believe Bucky Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates Schmidt’s Hydra division fortress, freeing Barnes and the other prisoners. However, at the end of the film, Bucky falls from a train to his apparent death. Steve is devastated.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes is shown to have been brainwashed and turned into the deadly assassin known as the Winter Soldier. This revelation creates a conflict between them, as Bucky becomes a rival to the star-spangled hero. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) becomes committed to helping him regain his memories and break free from his brainwashing with the help of Black Panther.
Unlike Captain America, Bucky’s heroism stems not only from his superhuman abilities but from his tenacity and determination to make amends for his past actions.
However, at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers decides to travel back in time and live with Peggy Carter, leaving Bucky Barnes behind. This is where the friends’ similarities diverge as Bucky, who had already endured decades of torment as the Winter Soldier, lost yet another connection in his life when Steve made this decision. Rather than succumbing to despair or traveling back to the 1940s with his so-called best friend, Bucky Barnes remained resolute and continued his personal journey of redemption.
Unlike Captain America, Bucky’s heroism stems not only from his superhuman abilities but from his tenacity and determination to make amends for his past actions. Alongside Sam Wilson, Bucky took up the mantle of fighting for justice and equality.
Bucky Barnes’ empathy and understanding make him relatable, showcasing his growth as a hero who fights with strength and compassion.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, they confronted the legacy of Captain America and its challenges head-on. Unlike Steve, Bucky Barnes never shied away from the hardships that came with his journey and used them to fuel his determination to make the world a better place.
Moreover, Bucky Barnes’ empathy and understanding make him relatable, showcasing his growth as a hero who fights with strength and compassion. His resilience and willingness to confront his demons make him an ideal candidate to lead the Thunderbolts, a team of antiheroes united by a common goal.
While the MCU’s Captain America will forever hold a special place in the hearts of fans, Bucky Barnes’ questionable choices were, quite literally, out of his control. Steve, on the other hand, made the conscious decision to stay in the 1940s while knowing that Bucky Barnes didn’t die, was being brainwashed by Hydra, and would eventually kill Tony Stark’s parents.
It’s also worth noting that by choosing Peggy, Steve undermined the loyalty element of his bond with Bucky since every choice Steve made was primarily for Bucky. So maybe the phrase “till the end of the line” should be changed to “till the end of the lie.” That’s what happens when some random guys get a hit of super soldier serum.