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5 MCU Characters Who Overcame Apparent Handicaps To Become Even Greater Heroes

True heroes.

By Kristy AndersonPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Credit: Disney

After a long wait, made longer by unavoidable pandemic related delays, Marvel's Eternals will arrive in theatres around the world in early November, 2021. Many of the major characters in Eternals are reimagined versions of their comic book counterparts, as part of director Chloe Zhao's efforts to include greater representation in the film.

Makkari, a white, hearing male in the comics, has been reimagined in the film as a woman of colour, and the MCU's first Deaf hero. The character will be played by The Walking Dead actress Lauren Ridloff, a real-life member of the Deaf community. Zhao and the cast were committed to portraying Makkari's experiences as a Deaf individual in an accurate, sensitive way, even hiring Ridloff's husband, Douglas, to help the cast create unique sign language for the film, and teach them to sign more naturally, so as to appear believable as characters that have known each other for thousands of years.

While Makkari will be the MCU's first Deaf hero, she will be far from the first one who had personal obstacles they learned to fight through. Here's five MCU characters who overcame handicaps to become heroes.

1. Tony Stark

The first, and to many, greatest hero of the MCU was of course Tony Stark as Iron Man. However, Tony's path to true heroism was in no way an easy one. After his kidnapping by terrorists in the first Iron Man film, Tony is left with a piece of shrapnel floating somewhere in his chest cavity, with a magnet powered by the arc reactor in his chest all that keeps said shrapnel from becoming embedded in his heart. This weakness is used against Tony by Obadiah Stane at the end of the first film, and remains an issue for part of the second, as the reactor's palladium core slowly poisons him.

While the shrapnel is finally removed in Iron Man 3, Tony is left with a new problem: PTSD stemming from the events of the first Avengers. This trauma contributes to a few of the unwise decisions Tony makes in Age of Ultron and Civil War. However, Tony never lets his personal problems get in the way of doing what needs to be done, for the greater good of Earth, eventually sacrificing his own life to protect the whole universe.

2. Doctor Stephen Strange

At the beginning of Doctor Strange, Doctor Stephen Strange's life is changed forever. Once a skilled Neurosurgeon with the ability to help patients few other Doctors were willing to touch, Stephen's career is left in tatters after his hands are mangled in a car accident. After all regular avenues fail to lead him to a cure, Strange is guided to the Kamar Taj, learning the mystic arts under the tutelage of The Ancient One and her protege, Mordo.

Strange discovers a talent for the arts, and is soon caught up in stopping the plot of rogue Sorcerer Kaecillius, who plans to summon the evil entity Dormammu to Earth. Strange learns that if he wished, he could heal his hands by constantly channeling mystic energy into them. Instead, he makes the decision to stay and protect the New York Sanctum. Stephen Strange makes the choice to give up his dream in favour of a cause much bigger than himself, making him one of the MCU's greatest heroes.

3. Nebula

In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Nebula is simply a supporting villain, assistant to Ronan, and daughter of the villainous Thanos. However, the second film reveals that her story is much more complicated and heartbreaking. Everytime Nebula lost a sparring match to her adoptive sister, Gamora, Thanos would remove a part of Nebula's body- her arm, her eye, even her brain- and replace it with a mechanical version, supposedly in the name of making her stronger. By the time of Guardians Vol.2, there is very little of the original Nebula left, and it is implied that the supposed enhancements leave her in near constant pain.

Despite this, she reconciles with her sister and sets herself on a more positive path, vowing to end Thanos so no more children would suffer as she and Gamora had. In Avengers: Endgame, she joins the surviving Avengers to reverse what her wicked Father had done, despite the fact that she had very little personal stake in the mission compared to the others. She helps simply beacause it was the right thing to do, proving that she has risen above the pain and that she is not the monster Thanos tried to warp her into.

4. James Rhodes/War Machine

In the climax of Civil War's dramatic battle at the airport, James 'Rhodey' Rhodes, aka War Machine, is accidentally shot out of the sky by Vision, who is distracted dealing with an injured Wanda Maximoff. Despite their best efforts, neither Iron Man or Falcon are able to catch him before he hits the ground. While he survives, Rhodey is left with a spinal injury from the incident, his legs at least partially paralyzed, and he fears he may never fly another mission again.

Thankfully, with a bit of technological aid from Tony Stark, he is back in the War Machine armour in Avengers: Infinity War. However, perhaps his biggest act of bravery comes in Avengers: Endgame. After the destruction of the Avengers compound, Rhodey abandons his suit in an attempt to crawl to the aid of a struggling Rocket Raccoon, all without the use of his legs. That is a true hero.

5. Bucky Barnes

In the aftermath of his tragic fall from the train in Captain America: The First Avenger, Bucky Barnes loses his arm, and then, sadly, his identity, as he is brainwashed to become the mindless assassin known as the Winter Soldier. However, his replacement metal arm is so high-tech that it is an advantage rather than a handicap. It functions just as a regular arm, with the added strength of being made of metal. By the time of Avengers: Infinity War, Bucky has been gifted with a Vibranium arm, adding the many useful properties of Vibranium to the list of his advantages in battle.

However, Bucky's psychological challenges are not so easy to overcome. Bucky is left with very deep trauma and crippling guilt from the many horrific murders he carried out as the Winter Soldier. In his mind, the fact that he was not in control of himself doesn't matter. He still did it. Obviously, trauma such as Bucky suffered is not going to be resolved over night, but by the end of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he is well on the way. Better still, with his new friendship with Sam, Bucky now has a solid support network to help him out in the future.

These characters all kept fighting when it would have been much easier to walk away. For that reason, they are heroes well worth looking up to.


About the Creator

Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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