Homecoming: Bucky Barnes and the Tragedy of Redemption

The saddest scene in Captain America: Civil War is also one of the smallest. Steve Rogers, decked out in his superhero uniform, stands in the middle of a tiny, run-down apartment in Bucharest, taking in the near-squalor in which his best friend Bucky Barnes has been living for some time. Barnes is a fugitive, so it’s not like he’d be living high on the hog anyway, but there’s something about the contrast of Captain America and this dark, depressing apartment that doesn’t jive. It’s a sharp, startling reminder of how fate diverged for Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes.


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The Futurist Is Here: Tony Stark and the Failure of the Future

At the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark is drowning in guilt. Confronted by a bereaved mother who lost a child in Sokovia—for which Stark is responsible, as the creator of Ultron—and flailing in the wake of a breakup with Pepper Potts, Stark is unmoored. Because he’s not good at self-regulating (see also: his addiction issues), he latches onto the proposed Sokovia Accords as a way to regulate the Avengers and hopefully prevent future Sokovias. Stark’s reasoning is understandable and even sympathetic. He is not a villain and he isn’t trying to take over the world, he just wants a framework to assume responsibility for sending the Avengers into the world to fight, thus removing that very responsibility from the Avengers’ shoulders.

And also someone to clean up the coffee grounds.

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A Dutiful Son: The Black Panther Brings Black Power and Authority to the Marvel Universe

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers are the apex predators of the superhero world. We know there are other powered individuals out there thanks to television shows like Agents of SHIELD and the growing Defenders universe on Netflix. But the Avengers are the upper echelon of the costumed set—the most powerful, the best funded, most well-resourced superheroes in the world. They have Tony Stark, one of the richest people in the world and arguably the smartest person; Captain America, the gold standard of enhanced humans; and Thor, an alien space prince with almost unlimited power. Who could possibly compete with that?

Him. He could.

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Criminal: Captain America, the Rebellious Superhero



Steve Rogers has never been a happy go lucky guy. The first time we meet him in Captain America: The First Avenger, he’s a scrappy little guy, determined to join the US Army and fight in World War II to stand up to bullies. Standing up to bullies is practically Rogers’ full-time occupation, and we meet him in the midst of an act of rebellion, rejecting his place on the home front to try and earn one on the battlefield so he can stand up to bullies of the Nazi variety.

skinny steve
Heart of a champion, face of a liar

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