6 months after half the world has returned from the infamous blip, Sam Wilson AKA Falcon and Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier are forced to return and resume their lives after being snapped away by Thanos for 5 years. This first episode really shows the struggle that these two characters must endure. The show begins through the perspective of Sam and is action packed as he works with the Air force on an extraction mission. I love how his wings have been upgraded and showcase his piloting skills. The way he glides through the air, flawlessly dodging missiles, rocks and anything that comes his way is phenomenal to see on screen. I knew going into this show I was going to get a completely different feel from Wandavision, which just ended 2 weeks ago. The show, to its credit, comes across more like an extension of a Captain America film than a Disney+ show.
The big heartbreak that happens in the beginning occurs at the memorial of Steve Rogers with Sam refusing to take up the mantle of Captain America. Sgt. Rhodes aka War Machine, still portrayed by Don Cheadle, is shown trying to convince Sam that the world needs the symbol of hope that is Captain America, and even still Sam refuses the shield. Sam feels like Steve Rogers is synonymous with that symbol so he tries to return to his old life and finds out that it isn’t so easy anymore. Like Sam, Bucky too struggles with returning from the dead. Bucky is faced with PTSD, night terrors, and horrific memories of his time with Hydra. He is even seeing a therapist to help him get through it all. Bucky is one of my favorite characters in the MCU because of his relentless perseverance. A man, tired of fighting, in constant pursuit of peace. Being thrown from his time in Hydra, into the events of Civil War and finally getting a brief moment of respite, he’s simply tossed back in the thick of the action. After the events of Endgame he is more exhausted than ever but still, he tries to amend the wrongs of his past. He’s created a list of people he knows that used to work for Hydra and comes after them NOT as the Winter Soldier but as Bucky Barnes. Free of violence and illegal conduct, he turns these people in one by one. Even with this retribution he still distances himself from the world. His only relationship is with an old man who mourns over his dead son. It is later revealed in one of Bucky’s nightmares, that he was responsible for the death of that mans son when he was under Hydra’s influence. I love the conflict that this drama presents in Bucky’s torn mind. He wants to do good and be a hero but struggles with his day-to-day reminders of his dark past. I also enjoyed how the show didn’t have Sam and Bucky meet up at all, with Bucky ignoring all of Sam’s texts and calls. It was a nice breather for the MCU to see characters stand on their own.
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan bring back the energetic dynamic first introduced to fans during their meeting in Captain America “Civil War”.
“Falcon and Winter Soldier” feels like we’re being thrown into the beginning of an eight hour epic. With the long form format of a series we’ll be able to see character development unlike anything that’s possible within a movie or even a trilogy. The villains thus far seem to be a group of masked radicals with their agenda still being occulted. We also miss the reveal of Baron Zemo, who is the alleged antagonist of the series. Towards the end the U.S. government appoints a man to be the new Captain America and Sam is seen watching it happen live. This is a fantastic setup for the next couple of episodes. You can see the disbelief and disappointment on Sams face as the shield is now passed on to someone that isn’t Steve Rogers. There were constant moments like this throughout the episode that really exemplified the quality writing and direction. I honestly wasn’t even expecting to like it as much as I did. The Falcon action sequence in the beginning pulls you in immediately, setting the tone for a good ol’ fashioned action romp. The transition into Bucky’s life really doesn’t even slow the pace of the show even though he’s clearly dealing with depression. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the character dynamic between Sam and Bucky evolves going forward. Their jokes and banter has always been amazing to watch. Marvel and Disney are really capitalizing on their shows considering how much work they’re taking on. I personally did not expect Wandavision to be what it was. And the creation of Wanda into the Scarlet Witch was just beautiful. So I pray that Falcon and Winter Solider do something similar to that. Sam stepping up to be the next Captain America with Bucky by his side as a Winter Solider would be a really fresh take on the characters in live action that I would love to see. I want to see them bring hope to an MCU that feels almost lifeless since Thanos snapped everyone away. No one is the same, especially those that have returned. The world is broken and all characters whether they be friend or foe are fighting to take the broken pieces of the world and use it to build themselves back better. Sam and Bucky can be the start of something new for the world. They can be the start of bringing the Avengers back. Shape the world into the image that Captain America would have wanted and be a shield to the world as Tony intended. That’s how those two characters can be honored and live on. Falcon and Bucky can be the start of that. I’m excited for future episodes. As for the rest of the MCU, not so much. The MCU has lost its touch and does feel a little formulaic. The show’s serveas a fresh take on characters that we wouldn’t be able to get in a movie. Admittedly I wasn’t really interested in anything MCU after Endgame but Marvel pulled me back in when they announced Falcon and Winter Soldier.
I’d rate this first episode a solid 8 out of 10. Acting was above average, dialogue between characters was written well, the action that we did see was phenomenal and well choreographed. It makes you want more. I want to see Sam succeed as a Hero. I Want to see Bucky overcome the horrors of his past. So, if you are an MCU lover or even just a fan of Captain America, I highly recommend this show…. and I’m with it til the end of the line.