The Winter Soldier, also known as Bucky Barnes, is a complex Marvel character who has amassed a huge fan following. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his first appearance was as Steve Rogers’ best friend in Captain America: The First Avenger. Bucky protected Steve in the streets of Brooklyn and followed him into battle. By Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he was a brainwashed assassin. Though Bucky served as one of the film’s antagonists, we still couldn’t help but love him. Steve never gave up on him, which was one of the points of conflict in Captain America: Civil War.
Now we’ve entered a glorious post-Black Panther period where the Winter Soldier has been deprogrammed and has stepped up his hair game. Now that we’re heading into Avengers: Infinity War, we will probably learn even more about the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes. Will he be the White Wolf? Will he assume the Captain America mantle if something happens to Steve? What’s great about memes is that they also can follow the character’s progression. Whether you love the best friend, the assassin, or Sebastian Stan (the actor that plays him), there is a meme for you! Here at CBR, we’ve found the 15 most hilarious Winter Soldier memes.
15 MAKEUP LESSONS
As far as Asgardian family resemblance, Hela looks a lot more like Loki than she does Thor. Both of them have pretty dark hair, even darker personalities, and enjoy a mostly green and black wardrobe. We don’t know if Hela survived Ragnarok, but we certainly hope so. She was thoroughly enjoyable to watch and such a presence on the screen especially in comparison to the other MCU villains.
But, if you go back to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there’s also a bit of family resemblance between Hela and Bucky. Both of them are killers. And both of them enjoy a very smudgy, smokey eye. Bucky has since moved past this makeup look (with the beard it’s a little much), but he seems to have started this eyeshadow trend in the MCU.
14 DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID
Just because Bucky doesn’t have to look out for Steve getting bullied doesn’t mean he’s stopped worrying about him. In our heads, Bucky is always going to be looking out for Steve. This can get stressful for Bucky since Steve often puts himself in risky situations because it’s the right thing to do (like the good captain he is).
The Infinity War trailer has gotten us all worked up about Steve Rogers. First, there’s the lustrous silkiness of Steve’s beard and hair. We were not ready for that. Second, there’s the shot of Steve clutching Thanos’ gauntlet as it's about to drive its way into his face. We were not ready for that either, and we don’t like it. We can’t imagine Bucky will react well to this scene either.
The last 15 minutes of Black Panther was quite a heavy experience for all of us. Killmonger’s death was an emotional scene no matter how many times you watched it. But, the film ended on a hopeful note with T’Challa pledging to build an outreach center in Oakland and to be more involved in international relations.
Another hopeful note was struck when Shuri finished deprogramming the “broken white boy” Bucky Barnes. He looked peaceful as he emerged from the tent, with Wakandan children running around calling him “the White Wolf.” As far as Bucky’s future, it looks like he could stay in Wakanda if he wanted to and accept this title as “the White Wolf.” Or, he could be the next Captain America if something happens to Steve Rogers...
12 “WHO THE HELL IS BUCKY?”
Thanks to Hydra’s experiments, Bucky Barnes lost all sense of himself by the time Steve Rogers met him again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Both Bucky and Steve were frozen and have missed a lot of current events and popular culture. However, Bucky is missing who he even was before these experiments were done on him.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we realize the extent of Bucky’s identity loss. He literally has no idea who he is. One of the first things we learn about ourselves is what our names are. Bucky is missing even this simple information. It takes a lot of work for him to recover his memories. Thankfully, Shuri’s technology in Wakanda is cutting edge and got all that brainwashing out of his system.
11 FOR YOU, BUCKY!
Every hero has a weakness. For Achilles, it’s his heel. For Supergirl, it’s Kryptonite. For Steve Rogers, it’s Bucky Barnes. Though Captain America does have a love interest in Peggy Carter (and later Sharon Carter), his one true love appears to Bucky. All we have to do is look at the trajectory of Steve’s actions through the Captain America trilogy.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve rescues his friend at a Hydra base, despite the obvious dangers. The Winter Soldier had Steve battling S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as trying to protect his friend turned killer. In Civil War, Steve turned on some of his friends to protect his BFF Bucky. As this meme points out, Infinity War will probably have Steve protecting Bucky to the end.
10 KIT KAT
Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out in 2014, which is already an entire high school experience’s amount of years ago. When it released, some images of The Winter Soldier/Bucky were teased. Not everyone is a Marvel superfan, so it took some people a while to watch the film, including this user.
Now we know that The Winter Soldier was brainwashed into his assassin life, which involved getting his memory wiped by electrocution. It’s saddening to see these scenes now. Bucky accepts the memory wipe, however painful, because it’s probably more painful to deal with his past. In the image, though, he just looks real stoked to eat a Kit Kat. Honestly, we make the same face when we’re about to break off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.
9 YOU DON’T KNOW YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL
A fun social experiment to do is to see how people’s faces change after you call them beautiful. Three years ago, a heartwarming photo gallery on this topic made its way around the Internet. An 18-year-old student named Shea Glover took photos of people before and after she called them beautiful. The differences were striking and showed that a well-placed compliment can go a long way in elevating a person’s mood.
Celebrities are often praised for looks, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they believe in their own hype. Sebastian Stan, the actor who plays Bucky Barnes, has an unassuming vibe about him. If a photographer did do the “beautiful” social experiment on him, he probably would react in this way. If only the experiments done on Bucky Barnes were like this instead of the brainwashing he endured.
8 YES TO BOTH
The Winter Soldier is a beloved character because he has gone through so much trauma. Bucky Barnes’ origin story is that of good intentions. He always wanted to protect Steve and was there for him when Steve was going through his own trauma of his mother’s passing. Bucky also willingly went off to war because he believed it was the right thing to do. Though he has done terrible things as the Winter Soldier, he is on a path to redeem himself, which we can sympathize with.
Sebastian Stan appears to be the opposite of the character he plays. He’s just a sunshine filled cinnamon bun who enjoys playing this character. There’s a lot of fan crossover between the Winter Soldier and Sebastian Stan. If given an ultimatum, we don’t know who we’d choose!
7 MEME KING
Social media presence is difficult to cultivate. When building your brand, it takes a lot of work to get recognition. You know you’ve truly made it when you are the subject of memes. This means that you are nearly universally recognized for something. Marvel has done a good job of creating content that is perfect for memes. We remember the plethora of “Hail Hydra” memes that came out after Captain America: The Winter Soldier released.
In Sebastian Stan’s case, he’s known as sunshine incarnate or as the Winter Soldier. If it’s not about him the actor or the Winter Soldier, the meme may be about how fans ship Bucky and Steve Rogers. Regardless, Sebastian Stan’s face is on memes all through the Internet, making him the King of Memes.
6 ARMS, ARMS, ARMS
Arms, arms, arms, arms. That’s what a lot of us think when we look at the Winter Soldier in fight scenes. The Winter Soldier’s strength is indeed impressive. He’s able to catch Steve’s shield as it’s heading right towards him. He can also take a beating and survive. We know that in The Winter Soldier he’s supposed to be fearsome, but we can’t help checking out them arms. Yes, even the metal one.
Based on the information we have in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we don’t know how someone who has been consistently frozen and thawed could find the time to get swole. The Winter Soldier Serum, which was based on the Super Soldier Serum that turned Steve into Captain America, somehow maintains one’s physique. The time they would spend at the gym could be better spent saving the world, we guess.
5 GET YOU A MAN
The “get you a man” meme pokes fun at the different things we look for in a potential romantic partner. There is the “get you a man who can do both” version of this meme, which basically makes fun of men who only have one good date outfit. While clothes don’t necessarily make the man, we do start to get suspicious if we see the same three shirts on rotation.
The “get you a man who looks at you the way ‘x’ looks at ‘y’” meme often celebrates our favorite ships. In this case, it’s the way Bucky Barnes looks at Steve Rogers in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer. They presumably haven’t seen each other since the events of Civil War, and Bucky looks peaceful as he looks at his best friend.
4 NAP TIME IS OVER
There are times where we wake up from a nap, and we don’t know where we are or what day it is. We’ve all been there, especially after a long day at work. After the events of Civil War, Bucky stayed in Wakanda and took a long “nap” so that Shuri could deprogram him. We imagine that Bucky thought that there’s no way he could wake to something worse than he just experienced. A war breaking out amongst your friends is pretty bad.
However, we know that the next threat is universal. The fate of the entire universe rests in the hands of the heroes. At the end of Black Panther, Bucky had just woken up. Imagine his reaction when he finds out there’s another war, and it’s gonna be fought on many fronts, one of them space.
3 I HAVE A PLAN
Rocket Raccoon can usually be relied on to get his team out of sticky situations. He was able to break the Guardians out of space jail by using just a battery and a security badge. He enlisted the help of Groot and Gamora to get those, while Peter was tasked to find something else. The prosthetic leg Rocket made Peter go find was unnecessary for the plan, but it sure was funny.
Now, whenever Rocket asks for something ridiculous for one of his plans (like a leg or an arm), his team is cautious. However, with Infinity War bringing a bunch of characters together, they may fall for one of his pranks. It’s likely that they will be very busy trying to stop Thanos, but that probably won’t stop Rocket. Hopefully, he stays on the Winter Soldier’s good side.
2 BEARD AS FULL AS...
Whatever Wakandan hair products Bucky Barnes is using is working for him. Both he and Steve have been using that Wakandan coconut oil or something because they have never looked better. Compared to the military look of short hair and being clean-shaved, this is a drastic change from when they were first seen Captain America: The First Avenger, and it's a change to both of them that we wholeheartedly welcome with open arms.
We know that there has to be loss in Avengers: Infinity War, but we hope these two characters make it. They have been through so much (two different wars!), and they’re finally able to be friends again. And then here comes the purple space grape trying to destroy the universe. Just, don’t touch the hair on either of their beautiful heads, Thanos. Don’t do it.
1 DISTRACTED BOYFRIEND
The distracted boyfriend meme has kept the Internet busy for a while now. It’s such an easy go-to meme to use because Internet culture means we are always being distracted by something new. Now it’s being used to describe Avengers: Infinity War. There are some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans who ship Bucky and Natasha, which makes sense. They both come from dark origins and have redeemed themselves through hero work. There is also a comic precedent for this relationship.
However, with the complicated Natasha and Bruce relationship introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it would further complicate an already packed film if Natasha and Bucky became involved. Especially since all of Bucky’s attention is going to be on Steve anyway. In any case, there’s potential for Bucky to be Infinity War’s distracted boyfriend.