I’m starting to get the feeling that maybe people who still support the idea that Bucky Barnes is a villain just actually missed a bit of the movie. How can you see all of this and walk away with that thought?
Back in TFA, the man was experimented on by a scientist who worked for a group formed by nazis who didn’t think the nazi party was evil enough. He survived that, went back into war to kick more ass and then fell of a moving train while trying to keep his best friend safe. He survives the fall because of the evil experiments but doesn’t get rescued by his allies or friends. He gets taken back to Dr. Zola, the same scientist who experimented on him in the first place.
Bucky is then experimented on more, genetically altered, physically modified, subjected to inexplicable horrors and it’s still implied that he resisted and fought back pretty damned hard.
Here is a man who has been systematically abused, tortured, tormented, brainwashed (through what is clearly a very agonizingly painful procedure) over and over and over again for years and years and years until there is virtually nothing left of the man that once was and is just the Winter Soldier. He’s been stripped of everything and that includes the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. The Winter Soldier knows nothing other than to follow orders, and when he’s “out of cryo for too long”, when he does begin to pick up on things—because Bucky is in there, screaming as he frantically tries to break free—they start the process all over again. He has no chance to be anything other than what they want him to be, and that’s their weapon.
When something changes that, he’s lost and confused and desperate for someone to help him, someone to explain to him what is going on. For the Winter Soldier, the only ones who have ever been there for him to do that are his handlers who feed him the HYDRA programming. So when Steve comes along and gives him something else, it’s like a freaking brick to his head.
And what is the first thing he does when he has the ability to make a choice on his own? He saves Steve’s life. He doesn’t know him, not really anyway. He feels something. Knows he needs to save this man, even though the man is the target he’s been sent to kill. But somehow Bucky breaks through long enough to disobey the orders the Winter Soldier had and saves Steve’s life. He knows damn well that if he’s caught something terrible with happen to him, but he still takes that chance. He then goes off alone, in search for something, anything that will make sense to him, anything that isn’t what he’s known the past 70 years.
Bucky Barnes is not a villain.
Bucky Barnes is a victim.