The first trailer for Marvel's Captain America: Civil War dropped late last night, and it riled up all the feels that Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are used to; the thrill of seeing a new character in action (hey, it's Black Panther, finally!); the wonder at the awe-inspiring action and athelticism (Steve doing helicopter stretches!); the worry about how Black Widow's wig will look this time (pretty good).

But this trailer --- and this movie --- brings extra feels, because it's the third and possibly final chapter in the MCU's greatest romance; the ballad of Bucky and Steve. If you came to this trailer hoping for some lingering glances and barely concealed intimations of love, you weren't going to leave disappointed. Let's review the gayest Stucky moments (that's Steve/Bucky) in the Civil War trailer.






Chris Evans's absurdly perfect Teutonic porcelain doll face trembles in a gesture of grateful recognition at Bucky's intimate reminscences. To be truly loved by another is to be truly known by them, and to be remembered by someone who you thought had forgotten you is to be told that you are loved. Bless.






There is nothing inherently gay about one man touching another in a familiar way, of course, and it's very unheathy to frame all male intimacy as gay. But the solution is to stop suggesting that being gay is bad, and that being perceived as gay as bad. Some male intimacy is gay!

Since this movie is unlikely to show us two men kissing, one man squeezing another man's shoulder while gazing upon him with undisguided yearning is as good as we're going to get.

(Fans of Chris Evans will note his exemplary acting here, as usually he grabs men by the left boob, and not the right shoulder. He changed it up because he has almost disappeared into his character. He is eyeing up that left boob, though.)






In the second Captain America movie, Black Widow had to pretend to be Steve's girlfriend; but she was never interested in him, and he was never interested in her. Nat is under no illusions about where Steve's heart truly lies, and she's not afraid to tell him, as in the moment above.






This shot directly follows one of Bucky 'disappearing' in the street, and it's basically the same beat you see at least five times in every Nicholas Sparks movie. "I love him, but he's so wild and dangerous, and his fool antics are sure to get him killed. How can I ever trust him with my heart?"

In a Sparks movie this usually leads to wet sex against unvarnished wood, but in a Marvel movie it leads to...






I probably could have put that differently.

But this is certainly a consummation scene. Two bodies moving together in beautiful harmony, sparks flying between them as they pass a shield back and forth in front of a man in a robot suit. (Just me? Just me.)






The real meat of the movie (I probably could have put that differently) appears to be that Bucky is wanted for some terrible act he claims he didn't commit, and Steve and Tony go to war over what should happen next. Steve's devotion to his oldest and dearest friend is the very core of the film. There's more to this than loyalty or fondness; more even than friendship, when taken to this extreme. This is a movie about Steve's love for Bucky.

Now, maybe it's not love between two gay men. Steve and Bucky are not actually lovers, and the suggestion that they are is not something that the text of the movie is going to explicitly deliver. That is why we have subtext. That is why we have fan fiction, and fan art. That is why there are online communities dedicated to building fictional worlds in which Steve and Bucky (or Steve and Sam, or Steve and Tony) are lovers. It's not just that the text isn't going to deliver a gay romance in this one movie; it's that the text never delivers in this type of movie.

I'm not being glib when I call these screenshots the gayest moments in the trailer. Stucky fans had already dissected these little moments a hundred times over before you got up for breakfast this morning, because these breadcrumbs are all they get.

Yet if Bucky Barnes were a woman, this would be a love story, played out with all the same narrative beats. If Peggy were the brainwashed assassin kept frozen through the decades, this movie would definitely end in a kiss. Everything about the love, pain, and intimacy of the Steve/Bucky relationship on the big screen is typical of a romance, and that's something fans are right to respond to --- something the filmmakers may even be playing into, though surely not with any formal sign-off from Disney.

The world is increasingly more free, fair and tolerant for people in same-sex relationships, especially in countries like the US. Yet imagine this; if we lived in a world that had no hang-ups about same-sex relationships, no hate, no prejudice towards the idea of two men or two women together; do you doubt for a second that this movie would actually be a romance?

If everything else about this movie were the same, but we were different, wouldn't it make sense for Steve and Bucky to kiss?

This movie looks about as gay as it's allowed to be. One day we'll get a movie like it that's actually gay enough.



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