Many people in tinsel-town thought that there would be a dip in quality the moment Marvel boss Kevin Feige announced the move to shift minor-Avengers characters onto the silver screen. But as always, Marvel proved them wrong, redefining what can be done on minimal budgets by delivering a fantastic season of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The buddy-cop dynamic between Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan is organic and forms the main reason as to why this series has really taken off.
It’s a story about race, overcoming trauma, terrorism and its roots, as well as the harmful effects of propaganda. These ideas work their way naturally into the Captain America canon and it never feels forced. Sam and Bucky received a lot of overdue exploration and proved themselves as tactful, well-rounded leading men capable of carrying the Captain America mantle further without Steve. This while maintaining his righteous legacy. Steve may be gone but we can still sense his presence in these two.
Some questions are left unanswered and a few new faces are kept mysterious. But of course, Marvel has lived up to their promises before and they’ll surely branch out on those elements in later stories and be more relevant there.
Although the main MVP of the show is Wyatt Russell’s, John Walker, we’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson. At the end of Avenger’s Endgame, we see Steve giving his iconic Captain America shield to Sam expecting him to be his successor. Sam is reluctant but eventually accepts it in respect. When this show begins, we delve deeper into that as we see Sam giving up the shield to the government. At first, we think that it is probably because he thinks that he cannot live up to the Captain America name or his achievements. That could’ve been a great character setup. But the show does not go in this direction – for the good.
Instead, the show takes the racism route with the character and its spot on. This was probably a more important theme to showcase considering the real-world implications. By real-world, I don’t just mean the actual world but also Captain America. We have seen online how many people share a hatred for Captain America being black. This was the best chance to show that it’s about who that person is and not his skin color that matters. And Marvel personified it with style. Mackie carried his character’s transformation with wit and deserves all the praise. He surely will be a great Captain America. Sebastian Stan is amazing as well. The character follows a perfect arc and Stan shows the transformation gracefully.
Although, Sam’s character arc does have a major problem. A lead arc does require the hero to make wrong decisions unknowingly and Sam does that as well. But it also requires the hero to learn from it after a low point. That wrong decision here is Sam expecting Karli Morgenthau to give up her plans. Yes, expecting someone to change is a good thing but is it when innocent lives are at risk? In the beginning, it’s not really a problem but then she actually starts killing people. And the funny thing is that Sam’s plan is still to talk her out of it. That carries on till the end and even with Sam’s speech. Yes, there’s a lot right with that speech but not when it concerns Karli.
And while we’re discussing Karli, let’s take this moment and talk about her group and their vision. The Flag Smasher’s goal or the cause is not the problem. In fact, I think it’s a good plot point. But getting invested in it is the problem. The show spent so much time showcasing their evil acts that they failed to win us over for their cause.
Now, about the character John Walker who you all hate. I really don’t know why so much hate? As mentioned before, I honestly think that he is the MVP of this show. That is truly personified by Wyatt Russell’s top-notch performance. His character does start off in a direction which is clearly heading towards a negative arc. Although, there are a lot of glimpses to change our mind. Those scenes, as told before, were amazingly acted by Russell. That made sure we connected with him emotionally. And of course, you’re not a villain until making that choice. In the end, he was at that choice, and he chose to save people! I absolutely loved this character.
From Director Kari Skogland, Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a well executed show. It has some well executed fast paced action but can feel bland at times but it makes up for it with the story involving Bucky, Falcon, Isiah Bradley and John Walker. The Cinematography and Production Design is decent and so is the Editing. Although, it lacks the eagle eye’s sometimes. The score from Henry Jackman is compelling at times but suffers during emotional scenes.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier steadies its focus on where it should, which is the characters of Sam and Bucky. This series shows how truly human those two are despite being superheroes. It’s a really satisfying and engaging. Its style and emotional weight is very in tune with the rest of the Captain America films.. Regardless of its flaws, Falcon and the Winter Soldier stands proudly beside its cinematic predecessors. Truly, one of Marvel’s finest!
K- Score: 90%
STW: 28/30, D: 23/25, E: 4/5, C: 7/8, PVD: 10/12, A: 10/10, S: 8/10