Then Clint expresses his distress over it to Natasha and she acknowledges it. She knows it, she’s been through it. […] The “It’s not your fault. You didn’t know what you were doing” and the “Do you know what is it like to be unmade”/”You know I do.” […] These two people, Clint and Nat, both know what it’s like to be unmade, to be controlled against your will.
They share the feeling and the knowledge of the experience that can be easily mirrored to Bucky. His situation is (generously, forgetting the details) the same, albeit more extreme. And this is a premise that troubles me in Civil War. When it comes to Bucky, can they imagine what is it like to endure that for 70 years? Or is it really apples and oranges here since the time span and the amount of damage inflicted on others differ? But in the end we have two potential characters, no matter what side they take on, that can relate to him and have empathy on that matter.
What I’m really trying to say is that I’m afraid of antipathy towards Bucky. I don’t think there’d be any greater hypocrisy than this, if such redemption is given to others, but not offered to Bucky (by others than Steve)
Hi Anon! I agree – the psychology and politics of the Civil War plot will be really interesting to watch unfold.
There are characters who will still see Bucky as a villain, even if they admit that he was brainwashed and under HYDRA’s control. There’s so many philosophical dilemmas and questions of morality that arise when you consider that Bucky was The Winter Soldier for FAR longer than he was Bucky Barnes: a mere ~25 years, compared to the Soldier’s 70 years of existence.
So if Bucky has been “evil” for more years than he was “good”… is he still a good person? Did his seven decades of HYDRA brainwashing forever alter his morality and character? Or was his real self hidden away somewhere deep inside, kept safe? His character is in this weird state of flux, where he’s free of HYDRAs continuous mind-control, but his personality from Before could be long lost. So…who will Bucky become? His behaviour in Civil War will be a tipping point: will he act like a suspicious character, or will he immediately stand beside Steve? Redemption can only occur if Bucky is willing to be redeemed. His actions in Civil War will be everything.
But I’m so excited to see what stances Clint and Natasha will take in the war! They know what it’s like to be unmade, which makes their views crucial in the debate of morality. Clint was brainwashed for a very short period of time, and it affected him greatly – in fact, I feel like Clint will fight against any form of control, after seeing its negative consequences time and time again. So I strongly believe that Clint is going to stand beside Steve in the war, and accept Bucky without any qualms. There’s no grey-area for him when it comes to mind control, or superhero privacy.
Natasha, though… I don’t know how Natasha will react to Bucky. She was brainwashed for decades, too, and she’s still dealing with its consequences. In CATWS, she faced a lot of internal battles related to her own morality: is “evil” her fallback, and she has to always fight to be good? Why does she always end up working for evil organizations, being fooled into thinking they’re good? Will she ever escape her past? The Winter Soldier is also the only character that Natasha has been shown to fear: he almost killed her twice, and she survived only by luck, not by her own skill. She’s going to be wary of him.
Natasha is so much like Bucky – she even admits to creating personalities as she needs them, and knows how fragile (and manipulative) those personas can be. So Natasha can only trust Bucky to be “good” if she also trusts herself to be. We also know that she released all her files to the world, so the registry may not bother her as much as it would Steve. I think she’ll waiver between Steve and Tony’s sides, before eventually siding with Steve. And conversations between her and Bucky will be crucial in her decision.