The whole world has finally caught up with the climax of the Avengers saga. It has smashed box office records and done a phenomenal job of resolving some impossible situations (although we’re still not quite convinced the time travel totally holds up to closer scrutiny). However one of the most emotional final scenes has left fans devastated – but for all the wrong reasons. Furious fans are protesting that Captain America would NEVER make that final decision – especially since it also massively undermines the storylines and sacrifices of two other popular characters. One fan summed it up: “#NotMySteve. What’s worse than killing a character is ruining him.” MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE:
The film ends with Captain America/Steve Rogers deciding to stay in the past after returning all the Infinity Stones. His renewed romance and marriage to Peggy Carter is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Or is it?
Fans have flooded social media angry about the way his decision actually disrespects and undermines Bucky AND Peggy Carter.
Firstly, Steve abandons Bucky again after only just being reunited. There is a growing suspicion Marvel is uncomfortable with all the shippers who imagine the pair in a romantic relationship. After cursory exchanges in Infinity War, the two characters are noticeably barely together on screen in Avengers 4 while others share emotional reunions, like Spidey and Tony Stark.
Yet the Steve and Bucky relationship is at the core of Winter Soldier and Civil War. It is hugely important to storylines but is also meant to carry enormous emotional weight.
Not only does Steve going back in time mean he trades a lifetime with his deepest best friend (their core storyline centres on how they will sacrifice everything for each other) for a woman he barely knew, it also implies he lives all those decades knowing Bucky is trapped in endless horrors.
Fan comments can’t accept it: “You ruined Steve Rogers. You ignore the character you’ve shaped for years and you just use one moment to deny all his personality and his contribution. I’m still sick about the last five minutes. I wish I’d never watched it.”
“The Steve Rogers I know would never leave Bucky behind and continue his life happy knowing that Bucky is out there being tortured. He was so out of character in this movie. This is just homophobic and sh***y writing.”
“In those years, you were dancing and kissing for yourself, and he was being abused and brainwashed in Siberia, for you.”
“The Steve Rogers we love would never destroy the life that Peggy built, he would never be selfish in that way and certainly wouldn’t abandon Bucky.”
“Real Steve Rogers wouldn’t do this. He wouldn’t leave Bucky alone. He wouldn’t be so selfish. Peggy was married and had children in the previous movie.”
And this highlights the second problem: Peggy’s existing family. What happens to them? Are they erased?
She even told Steve in the hospital as an old woman: “I have lived a life. My only regret is that you didn’t get to live yours.”
And it gets even worse…
This new do-over also takes away Peggy’s own independent storyline and strengths, reducing her back to a simple love-interest. It also breaks the implied rule that Steve tried not to change anything in the past – which is why Bucky is still presumably endlessly tortured, Howard Stark killed and Hydra at large for decades.
And yet he HAS broken the timeline since he erased the life Peggy would have had, including two children who now do not exist.
Steve’s return to the past is a storytelling mess that breaks its own rules and fundamentally undermines everything fans know and love about Steve Rogers.
Above everything, including his love for Bucky and his love for Peggy, Steve is the most honourable of men. His honour would never allow him to erase Peggy’s other life, abandon Bucky and permit Hydra to exist.
For this, we too have to say he is Not Our Steve.