Marvel is back with their new Disney+ show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as these MCU side characters come centre stage.
Created by Malcom Spellman, the new series begins with an action filled sequence as Anthony Mackie’s Falcon undertakes a rescue mission. As the episode progresses it becomes clear that the series is picking up six months after the events of Endgame, with said events weighing heavy on everyone’s minds. Sam donates Captain America’s shield, gifted to him by Steve, to the Smithsonian while Sebastian Stan’s Bucky is in therapy; and trying to make reparations for the years of being an assassin; and struggling with modern life. In a mundane turn for the MCU, Sam visits his sister Sarah, played by Adepero Oduye, as they try to save their parents business but can’t get a loan because of the Blip. The episode ends with an announcement that the government have appointed a new Captain America, who appears wielding Steve’s shield.
The first thing that’s clear when watching this episode is it has style, and a very distinct style at that. The opening action sequence was dynamic and had a unique energy which is difficult to come by in the MCU after so many years. Within five minutes, the Falcon’s abilities were shown off better than all his MCU movie appearances combined. The direction and filming style was interesting, adding a grittiness to the series although perhaps the action sequences fared better with this style as I found the use of extreme close-up in the therapy scene to be a bit annoying.
I also liked the time spent on developing Bucky and Sam’s characters and place in the world. Learning about Sam’s upbringing was nice, adding a necessary level of depth – and the discourse around Steve’s shield suggests The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the tale of Sam accepting that mantle of Captain America. Bucky trying to navigate the modern world of dating was very amusing while the scenes of therapy and nightmares firmly established his mind-set. I’m also intrigued by this villain, despite the name “Flag-Smashers” doing absolutely nothing for me (I know it’s from the comics, doesn’t change anything) – but the sequence in Switzerland with Danny Ramirez’s Joaquin Torres offered another taster for the excellent action I’m sure is to come.
Because that’s what this first ep felt like – tasters. Don’t get me wrong, those tasters were good, nay excellent, especially the action. However the rest of the episode felt a little bit slow. It was good to get some back story but it felt a little repetitive and at this moment I’m not really that excited about Sam’s boat storyline, yet anyway. But the style is strong and the characters are strong so I have a lot of hope for this series to blow me away.
Action, Adventure | USA, 2021 | Episode One | 19th March 2021 | Dir.Kari Skogland | Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell, Adepero Oduye, Emily VanCamp, Desmond Chiam