**Spoilers for Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame.**
The Russo brothers addressed why Bucky Barnes wasn’t chosen to take on Cap’s shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and while I agree with the decision to pass the mantle on to Sam Wilson, I don’t agree with their philosophy that Bucky is too “damaged” for it. In the world of the comics, Bucky takes on Steve Rogers’ legacy as a way of trying to live up to his best friend and what he stood for.
He uses the shield to make himself feel like a hero. So while, yes, the MCU Bucky definitely would have hated having that responsibility thrown on him so soon, the Russo brothers’ explanation isn’t the best depiction of James Buchanan Barnes. In the video below, you can see the directing team on Entertainment Weekly Radio on Sirius XM, discussing how Bucky has a “damaged mind” and is not someone you’d “want to give another weapon to” because “it could end up being used the wrong way at some point.”
— SiriusXM (@SIRIUSXM) May 6, 2019
Okay, well, they’re sort of right about the MCU’s version of Bucky, but also very wrong in their delivery. Saying that Bucky has a damaged mind isn’t inaccurate, but insinuating that he would use the shield in a negative way is. From all sides of the comic background, Bucky uses the shield to make himself into the hero he wanted to be, not against anyone in the “wrong way.”
Sure, the MCU Bucky is still healing, but to say that he would use it as a weapon? Not the best phrasing, especially because the shield is more of a symbol than anything else, but I don’t necessarily disagree with the Russos. Bucky is still trying to find his way in this modern world outside of Hydra’s control, something he started to work on in Wakanda before he was thrown back into a war.
Do I think he’s going to lose himself if we say “freight car” near him? No, Shuri helped to reverse the brainwashing. I think that Bucky needs time to figure himself out, but to insinuate that he can return to being the Hydra-born Winter Soldier just rings false.
You spend all this time fixing Bucky in Wakanda, leave him out of Cap’s fight for years, and then say he can still be brainwashed? What was Shuri doing with him in cryo, then? I think the Russos were trying to justify their choice, which could have easily been done by explaining that the MCU Bucky was still trying to figure out who he was, and adding the burden of Cap’s shield wasn’t going to help him.
Yes, Bucky still has some work to do on himself, but he’s not evil or going to revert to his alter-ego. He’s just trying to figure out who James Buchanan Barnes is in 2023.
(image: Marvel Entertainment)
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