Did the MCU Fail Tony Stark and Bucky Barnes in ‘Avengers: Endgame’: Fans Weigh in?

Avengers: Endgame — the MCU’s narrative conclusion to a long-gestating saga — played out in service of fan satisfaction.  Steve Rogers finally wielded Mjolnir. Black Widow put Hawkeye’s family unit before her own life, coming to understand the meaning of family. And, of course, Robert Downey Jr. uttered, “I am Iron Man” before sacrificing himself, fully relinquishing his selfish motivations to become the selfless savior he was always destined to be. And, Thor got one last moment with his mother. In short, the creators took the time to wrap many character journeys up with a little bow. 

MCU Avengers: Endgame
‘Avengers: Endgame’ at the Los Angeles Convention Center on April 23, 2019, in Los Angeles, California | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

While Avengers: Endgame definitely closed a lot of unfinished narratives, some stones were left unturned. The romantic connection Black Widow and Hulk — propagated in Age of Ultron — never received its happy ending. And, Tony Stark and Bucky Barnes never had a reconciliation moment — a handshake, a smile, or a wink to insinuate that all was forgiven. However, did they need this moment? Would a quick scene insinuating such have bolstered or detracted from the final product? 

Fans talk Bucky Barnes and Tony Stark’s dynamic in the MCU and ‘Avengers: Endgame’

While Steve Rogers and Tony Stark were given ample opportunities to show that their baggage was in the past — that they had grown to accept and understand one another despite vastly divergent worldviews and social opinions — Tony and Bucky never got that “past is behind us” moment. And, considering this movie focused on Stark’s character transformation, many felt that an indication of forgiveness would have fit with Tony’s Avengers: Endgame conclusion. In an online discussion, one fan explained what would have been a perfectly brief scene: 

I think I saw someone on Reddit or Youtube mention this before:

Bucky is fighting and shooting outriders and one of them manages to attack him from behind and wound him. He falls to the floor and just before a fatal blow is delivered to him, Tony flies down and makes a quick work of an outrider and kills him. He helps Bucky up, they stare at each other for a moment and then he flies off.

Reddit User

The scene would have been brief, but impactful: a final battle moment to tie all of Stark’s loose ends together, but was it necessary? Did it need to exist, or did its absence allow for a focus on one of the most essential relationships in the entire Infinity Saga: the one between Cap and Iron Man? One fan explained:

Thanks for pointing this out. And for what it’s worth I agree with you in a sense. Although, perhaps by not getting Stark on great terms with Bucky, it makes the reconciliation with Cap more meaningful.

Reddit User

So, did Tony need a moment with Bucky in the MCU installment, or did his reconciliation with Cap imply a reconciliation with Bucky via association? Was two minutes more two minutes too much? Or, were two more minutes all the time the creators needed to fully close out Stark’s journey?