10 Quotes That Perfectly Sum Up Bucky Barnes As A Character

ytsfreeAugust 26, 2022

Bucky Barnes in the MCU may have started off as a side-character to Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, but his transition from a friend, to a villain, to a reluctant ally, to now an independent man trying to regain control of this own life has been fascinating.

Character development isn’t rare in Marvel movies, but few characters have gone through as significant and character-altering experiences as Bucky. Throughout the movies and Disney+ series that he’s appeared in, several memorable lines, whether they’re said by Bucky or about him, sum up the complicated hero that fans have grown to love.

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“How can I? You’re Taking All The Stupid With You.”

Steve Rogers, Captain America: The First Avenger

Like Steve Rogers, most of Bucky’s time in the MCU is in the modern era, but he still got his start with heroics back in the days of World War II. Even before Steve received the super soldier serum and became Captain America, the two had a brotherly relationship that saw them constantly teasing each other.

This quotation is one of many that shows how the pair always attempted to bring levity to serious situations with each other. Bucky would later mirror it back to Steve in Endgame, bringing their friendship full circle.

“Sergeant Barnes…You Are To Be The New Fist Of HYDRA!”

Arnim Zola, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Bucky’s apparent death is an understandably emotional moment for Steve, but, unfortunately, it’s what comes after that comes to define the rest of Barnes’s life. He’s captured by HYDRA after his fall and is brainwashed into being their living weapon.

Overcoming this conditioning and decades of forced servitude define Bucky’s journey over several films and his series, and while the entire thing is remarkably tragic, he does everything he can to make up for the pain he caused as the Winter Soldier.

“It Always Ends In A Fight.”

Bucky Barnes, Captain America: Civil War

Though Steve Rogers has enhanced strength and stamina, his most important quality may be his unending optimism. After Bucky breaks loose from his chains in Winter Soldier, Steve tried to convince him that he doesn’t have to engage in violence anymore.

Unfortunately, decades of mind-controlled-violence (and Zemo framing him for a bombing) make it hard for Bucky to believe that life can be any other way. Seeing the formerly-positive Bucky so unwilling to see the light is one of the saddest moments in the MCU, but his relationship with Steve is eventually enough to help him through.


“Barnes Would Have Been Eliminated…”

Thaddeus Ross, Captain America: Civil War

It makes sense that the Winter Soldier is considered a villain in his days of (unwillingly) carrying out assassinations, but, even after his story comes out, there are many that are unwilling to give him a chance.

Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross has it out for several heroes that side with Captain America against the Sokovia Accords, but this quotation, which continues with “…if it wasn’t for Rogers,” reinforces the unwavering dedication that Steve and Bucky have to be there for each other even through the MCU’s darkest moments.

“Can You Move Your Seat Up?”

Bucky Barnes, Captain America: Civil War

After Bucky starts to come back into his own in Civil War, his more humorous side immediately starts coming through. It makes sense that Bucky and Sam would bicker a bit as two people both jostling for the “Steve’s right-hand man” position, but the pure childishness of the two arguing in a car was absolutely hilarious.

Though Sam and Bucky would eventually go through a lot more together in their shared series on Disney+, this quote gave insight into the chemistry and potential of putting the pair together.

“I Know… But I Did It.”

In Civil War, Steve is still trying to convince Bucky that he can have a future and a life after his control by HYDRA. In an attempt to further the conversation, Steve tells Bucky that all the terrible things that the Winter Soldier did weren’t really him because he wasn’t in control.

Bucky refusing to shift responsibility off of his own shoulders may be misguided, but it is indicative of the perennial guilt that he feels about the damage and pain that he’s caused others, including the Starks.

“That Shield Represents A Lot Of Things To A Lot Of People…”

Bucky Barnes, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Episode 3

Whether it be due to death or retirement, fans new that Steve Rogers wouldn’t be Captain America forever. Several characters have wielded the shield in the MCU, but it’s eventually Sam that is given the mantle.

Even if it’s probably the right choice (Bucky needed to come to terms with his own forgiveness a bit more before taking on a different role), it’s understandable that Barnes was nervous and, perhaps, a bit jealous of Steve leaving the shield to Sam instead of him.

“I Crossed A Name Off The List Of My Amends Yesterday.”

Bucky Barnes, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Episode 1

Bucky has been back in control of his own life for a while by the time The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starts, but the healing process is understandably long. One step that Bucky has taken, though he’s not normally very happy about it, is to begin seeing a therapist.

Bucky isn’t known for being the most outgoing person when not around his close friends, so it was a huge character moment to see him (even reluctantly) working with his therapist to make progress towards leaving the “Winter Soldier” behind for good.

I’m Grateful For Everything You And Shuri Have Done.”

Bucky Barnes, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Episode 4

Several people have shown support for Bucky as he tries to find himself post-mind-control, but few fans expected him to wind up in Wakanda. He was able to spend time there to stay away from the ghosts of his past, and they constructed a new, stronger arm for him.

One of the most endearing elements of Bucky’s personality is that he never hesitates to show appreciation for the people around him. He’s sure to let the Wakandans (and, after some bumps in the road, Sam), that he sees and is grateful for what they’ve done.

“I Am No Longer The Winter Soldier. I Am James ‘Bucky’ Barnes.”

Bucky Barnes, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Episode 1

Bucky’s entire character arc, ever since he fell off the train in The First Avenger, has been aiming toward moving past the (forced) sins of his past and accepting that he can still have a life and be the man that he wants to be. While he seems to be in a good place by the time the events of Infinity War and Endgame happen, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier show that there was still a lot of healing that needed to be done.

While his story is certainly not over, statements like these show that Bucky finally sees himself as his own person with his own agency instead of the Winter Soldier. This was slightly undermined, however, by the closing title slide of the series. While “The Falcon” was replaced with the name “Captain America,” it still said that “…The Winter Soldier Will Return,” which seemed cruel after everything Bucky went through to distance himself from the name.

Next: Every MCU Disney+ TV Show So Far, Ranked According To IMDb

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