Marvel Cinematic Universe has a lousy track record of handling sensitive issues pragmatically. For instance, sometimes messing up with ethnicity, character sexualization, or other times with wretched representation of the queer community. In recent times, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was wrapped with legitimate debates. All thanks to the poorly developed character arc of Bucky Barnes. And mostly, the notorious baiting style of MCU that they have been pulling off since eternities. So, what is exactly off in this totality of MCU’s Odysseys? Let us find out.
Blemished Trick One
Bucky’s character in the saga is probably the most under-explored, or precisely exploited character in terms of sexual orientation. With almost two movies spent uncovering the intense relationship between Steve and Bucky, and literally Rogers saving Bucky’s life infinite times in every possible crisis, the clear queer codes for Bucky Barnes were being laid. MCU fandom was desperately waiting for them to “come out”. And finally, cherish a member of LGBTQ+ in mainstream entertainment, but looks like the audience got bamboozled towards the end. The events of Avenger Endgame unfolded with an arguable ending.
With Captain America rendezvousing Agent Peggy Carter. The nascent relationship of Steve and James was axed pretty brutally. And ‘Stucky’ (Steve + Bucky) died thousands of deaths too. In fact, to aggravate it further, Steve was non-vocal about losing Barnes in the blip throughout the Endgame. It hinted towards MCU’s gullible mockery as if saying,
“Surprise! Surprise! Just trying to play with your feelings, they were straight all along.”
For some, the conclusion of Captain America in the ode was one of the satisfying of all times. The two separated couple uniting for the lifetime.
Watch: Sam & Bucky Trash Talk Scene
Blemished Trick Two
With every passing day, MCU has a growing responsibility of representing the diversity of the modern world. But they have a toasted policy of quoting “Maybe next time”. And as we know that next time never arrives. Frankly, multiple times such inclusivity has been adopted but sadly never made it to the final cut. For starters, in Thor: Ragnarok… a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom, Black Panther… a gay flirting of Okoye and random woman, and many more such alike incidents. The MCU fandom was waiting for real community inclusion and not some piece of hokum but to no avail.
The queerbaiting did not end at Endgame. Just when you have resigned to the fact of Bucky being straight, they lit up the flame again. As if, first was not embarrassing and tolling enough.
In Disney+ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier a queer coding was sparked between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes are the couple session with Dr Raynor, the incessant couple-like quarrelling and rolling off from the cliff scene of Falcon and White Wolf. But the series has already ended with no sight of the character being queer. Yet, another joke and an emotional game played at the expense of diversity.
The MCU needs to knock some senses in their head and stop ridiculing sensitive issues like this and rework on a more practical character arc. If at all anybody, they should be sportier to endure these necessary alterations and be the beacon of change. For all we know, queerbaiting won’t work every time. With this, all eyes are glued at Valkyrie’s character evolution in Thor 4, where she is meant to come out.