Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Redemption of Bucky Barnes

The Bucky Barnes story has always been about redemption. A man who was a trained assassin, looking to better his life after making so many mistakes. So many elements of his story can be seen in Jason Bourne, Anakin Skywalker, or Wolverine in Logan: ruthless killers who want to turn their lives around. But the concept of redemption doesn’t just apply to murderers and assassins. There are parallels to Bucky’s redemption story that can be drawn with Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, with Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, or with Alma the Younger. Or with each of us. 

John Walker also has a redemption arc in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the Marvel series which recently wrapped up on Disney+. At first it was a little infuriating that they portrayed John Walker so blatantly evil. I mean, the guy brutally kills a dude in public after only, what, three days as the Wish Version of Captain America? I wanted more gray area with Walker, I wanted him to be more outwardly perfect and inwardly evil. But then when I looked at John Walker’s story as a parallel to Bucky’s story, it made more sense. Walker is a killer, a super soldier whose power got the better of him, just like the Winter Soldier. And the only way to redeem oneself from such depths is to make some changes. These changes don’t make up for the past, and certainly don’t erase the horrible memories of previous atrocities. But they do help put your life in balance.

And of course the same applies to us. None of us is perfect. We all fall short. If I am being honest, I have done some things in my life that have really gone against my core values. I haven’t killed anybody (though that lady in front of me at Walmart who wanted to pay in pennies sure came close!) but I have hurt people, and I have hurt myself. My past is messy and I have been lost before. Very, very lost. 

But I own those choices. My mistakes are my own. I admit where I have fallen short, I know where I have erred. And I have learned from my past. Like Alma and Bucky, I “zealously strive to repair all the injuries I have done”. We are shaped by our past, but we do not have to be controlled by it. Our choices today are really the only things that matter. Like Master Oogway says, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

No comments:

Post a Comment