First VengeanceThe life and times of movie-verse Bucky differs from comic-verse Bucky in a number of ways. Of course, changes had to be made for it to work in the movies. Movie Bucky has not been given terribly much of a backstory as of yet. But from comments in flashbacks, it's guessed that both of his parents were still alive into his adulthood. Because of his parents living, one would assume that he did not grow up in camp Lehigh, and was not trained the same way comic Bucky was. Further meaning that his natural combat abilities were not honed until much, much later. We do however, get a quick glimpse at a younger Bucky in Captain America: First Vengeance, which is a comic prequel to the first movie.
We can see Bucky's knack for getting into trouble translates into the prequel. He gets into a fight with a bunch of bullies who were trying to take money from a young Steve. Bucky couldn't stand others being bullied and beaten up, and joins the fight to help Steve who he found to be an inspiration. This is how the two meet. From then on, the two are inseparable. Prequel Bucky also retains his flirtatious attitude towards women, attending art classes with Steve (primarily) for the model. It also shows that Bucky is not artistically gifted. At all. That same art class, it is announced that Pearl Harbor has been bombed, and America is now at war.
Steve and Bucky at this point, know that they both must enlist in the army. It is also revealed that Bucky holds a local championship in boxing. Because of that, Steve asks Bucky to train him so that they could enlist in the army together. Bucky agrees, and starts Steve on an intensive training regime. The training that Steve went through under Bucky's guidance proved extremely useful, and Steve remembered much of it during his time in war. Steve was not accepted into the army when they went together, but Bucky was instantly enlisted and assigned.
First AvengerWhen Captain America: The First Avenger begins, Bucky was already enlisted. The first we see of him his when he comes to the rescue after Steve took a beating from a disrespectful American. He helps Steve, and explains that he was placed in the 107th unit, and is scheduled to ship out the next day. The two then spend Bucky's last night on a double date, going to Howard Stark's expo, and then later going dancing. Steve eventually is more interested in trying to enlist again, and leaves before they go dancing. The two part ways, and Bucky asks Steve not to do anything stupid while he is gone. Steve just replies that how could he, since Bucky was taking all of the stupid with him. They then go their separate ways, and we don't see Bucky again until after Steve becomes Captain America.
At some point after deployment, Bucky and many other soldiers were captured by HYDRA. Though I don't know where this information came from, it is said that Bucky while in HYDRA care was made to design rockets. He apparently, became sick and was no longer useful, and was then experiment on by Dr. Zola and HYDRA. Eventually, Steve liberated the HYDRA base and rescued the surviving soldiers, including Bucky (whom he found in a delirious state). Steve and Bucky make to escape the base which was self-destructing at the time, when they encounter Dr. Zola and Schmidt (the Red Skull). There is brief conversation between Steve and Schmidt, and Schmidt removes his mask to reveal his deformed red face. Bucky wearily asks Steve if he had one of those too, since they were both super soldiers.
The now liberated soldiers then make their way back to base together. All giving a cheer for Captain America upon Bucky's suggestion. Steve now had entered the war, and made up a special team to go with him which included Bucky, who would follow him wherever he went. They had many missions destroying HYDRA bases together, and Bucky was able to show off his impressive sniper abilities. Eventually, they receive a mission to capture Dr. Zola, who was aboard a train. Before zip lining onto the moving train, Bucky asks Steve if this was his revenge for making Steve ride the Cyclone at Coney Island when they were younger. They successfully reach the train, but once on the train they encountered trouble. There was a gun fight, and Bucky and Steve were fighting together at the time. Steve loses his shield which Bucky picks up, and attempts to save Steve with. The force of the blow that Bucky endures, even with the shield, is enough to send him flying out of a gaping hole in the train. Steve rushes to his aid, but unfortunately, Bucky falls from the train disappearing into the frozen ravine far below.
Winter SoldierSometime between Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bucky was found by the Russians. He lost his left arm, but was presumably able to survive because of the experiments that Zola had performed on him in the past. He was given a new, bionic metal arm by HYDRA, and his memories were wiped clean from his mind. He was further strengthened, and experimented on before he was eventually placed in cryo-freeze. He was brought out of that freeze for various missions, and then placed back once he was done.
Bucky was now known as the Winter Soldier, and was being used by HYDRA. Over the course of 50 years, Black Widow claimed that the Winter Soldier was responsible for over two dozen high profile assassinations. Black Widow had actually encountered him on a high profile escort mission, where she was to protect a nuclear scientist. The Winter Soldier was responsible to sending them both over a cliff in their vehicle, and then shooting straight through Black Widow's abdomen to kill his target. His incredible skills and long work but mysterious nature led to him being considered a ghost by many. Simply carrying out a mission, and disappearing into thin air.
The Winter Soldier was brought back out of cry-freeze specifically to assassinate Nick Fury, who had become suspicious of certain "SHIELD" activities. While Nick Fury had been pursued by many HYDRA agents, it was the Winter Soldier who was able to finally stop his car by using a grenade launcher. However, Fury was still able to escape at that time. It did not last, however, and the Winter Soldier shot Fury multiple times with a rifle after tracking him to Steve Rogers apartment. Steve gives chase, eventually throwing his shield in an attempt to stop the Winter Soldier. However, the shield was simply caught, and thrown back with extreme force. The Winter Soldier then vanished into the night.
Under the orders of Alexander Pierce, the Winter Soldier was then ordered to eliminate threats Black Widow and Captain America. The targets had kidnapped HYDRA agent Sitwell, and upon finding the targets, the Winter Soldier proceeded to grab Sitwell through the car window and throw him into oncoming traffic. A short fire-fight ensued between the occupants of the car (Black Widow, Captain America, and Falcon), which ultimately ended in the group being split up. The Winter Soldier went after Black Widow, while the other mercenaries went after Captain America.
The Winter Soldier ruthlessly chased Black Widow through the streets, wreaking havoc in his wake. The Winter Soldier was able to shoot Black Widow in the shoulder during the pursuit. Black Widow eventually attacks him head on, but is overpowered and easily thrown to the ground. But before he could deliver the final blow, the fight is interrupted by Steve Rogers. The two engage in an impressive display of hand-to-hand combat (Bucky's comic specialty!), and eventually the mask that the Winter Soldier had been wearing his knocked off. Steve instantly recognizes his old friend Bucky and calls out to him, but the Winter Soldier responds with a confused, "Who the hell is Bucky?" before making his retreat from the scene.
This is where things get painful for our dear Winter Soldier. He begins to remember things about his life before HYDRA, and he begins to remember Steve. Whilst having his arm (which was slightly damaged in the fight with Steve) repaired, Pierce begins working out the details for the next mission. The Winter Soldier is to eliminate Steve Rogers at all cost, but the problem is that the Winter Soldier remembers. He responds that he knew Rogers, multiple times. Exasperated, Pierce decides to have our poor boy's mind wiped again, and to start it from scratch. The Winter Soldier is given a mouth guard, and painfully has his mind warped once again.
Once again totally under control of HYDRA, the Winter Soldier appears on the air ships to kill any people who would rebel against HYDRA (name SHIELD agents). He mercilessly throws grenades into plane cockpits, and kicks agents into running plane engines. He eventually catches Falcon, and destroys his mechanical wings eliminating Falcon's ability to fly. He then kicks Falcon over the edge of the air ship, though Falcon manages to survive. Next on his list is Captain America, who was at the center of the air ship to change the ships programming and save millions of lives.
Steve makes a last plea for Bucky to stop, and that he doesn't want to have to fight. But the newly reprogrammed Winter Soldier isn't having any of it, and the two begin fighting. The Fight ensues, and the Winter Soldier is out to kill. Both combatants are extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and while the Winter Soldier is out to kill, Steve is more out to stun and complete his mission. Eventually Steve gets the upper hand, and breaks the Winter Soldiers non-bionic arm, and leaves him unconscious. However, the Winter Soldier awakens very quickly and proceeds to shoot Steve multiple times in the abdomen.
As Steve accomplishes his mission, the air ship begins to fall apart and crash as the other air ships shoot at it. During this time, a metal beam falls on the Winter Soldier, and he becomes pinned. Frustrated and angry, he is unable to free himself. But Steve who cannot abandon his friend, helps to lift the beam and frees him. Steve then tells him who he was, and the life that he had before. But the Winter Soldier isn't having any of it. The Winter Soldier brutally beats Steve, who will no longer fight back against his beloved friend. To the Winter Soldier, Steve is simply his "mission". Steve responds, "Then finish it, 'cause I'm with you to the end of the line". This refers back to what Bucky had said to Steve long ago, when Steve lost his mother. The Winter Soldier restrains his final blow, but the glass that had been supporting Steve breaks, and Steve falls into the water far below.
What Steve had said had enough power to jog something within the Winter Soldier, and the Winter Soldier followed Steve into the water and saved his life. Confused and alone, he then leaves Steve safely on land. We then see him a later time, dressed in civilian clothes and hiding his face at the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian. We see that what Steve had said truly affected him, and he came face to face with his own portrait and his history before becoming the Winter Soldier. What comes after this is unknown, and we probably won't know for a while what becomes of Bucky. But since Sebastian Stan has signed on for more films, we can hope to see this develop more in the future.
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