The most significant moment is surely the end of their showdown on the helicarrier, when Steve finally gives up. For the first time ever, he backs down from a fight. Why? Well, not only can he not bring himself to kill Bucky, but there’s also the fact that fighting Bucky no longer serves any purpose. Steve doesn’t really have anything to live for if Bucky doesn’t remember him, and he’s already fulfilled his mission by bringing down the three HYDRA helicarriers. Bucky isn’t the “enemy,” he isn’t a bully, he’s just a malfunctioning weapon who can’t help what he’s been programmed to do.
This is the point where I flush all my emotions down the toilet and go to live in an igloo made of frozen tears, because what the hell. This is a goddamn SUPERHERO MOVIE where the denouement is the hero effectively committing suicide because he can’t cope with living in a world where he’s killed his best friend. Earlier on when Steve tells Sam that he doesn’t want to kill Bucky, he’s not just saying that he can’t kill Bucky, he’s tacitly admitting that he might even fuck up the overall mission and endanger millions of lives because he can’t use lethal force against his friend. Then Captain America just casually drops his shield into the Potomac, because he knows he isn’t coming back from this.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, Captain America: The Winter Soldier — The Tragedy of Bucky Barnes (http://hellotailor.blogspot.com/) —
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