‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: The Political Thriller That Did Not Hold its Ground

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Published May 11, 2021
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The Montclarion
"The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" is currently streaming on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has developed a new television show for Disney+ and unfortunately, it has received a below-average rating.

Upon first hearing of it, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” had some potential. It never lived up to the same excitement as “WandaVision” but the series has some enjoyable moments.

As a fan of the MCU, Captain America was always one of my personal favorites and seeing how his legacy is passed on through this series is greatly appreciated. His shield is passed down to Sam Wilson, otherwise known as Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. This season gives viewers an outlook of the public discrepancies on an African American taking up the mantle of America’s greatest public figure.

Sam goes through internal struggles in regard to taking Captain America’s shield. He fears that because he is Black, America will reject him. Seeing a prominent narrative so relevant to today’s social climate is eye-opening.

Although Sam’s internal struggle is key to the plot, he seemingly has too good of a life for viewers to deliver much sympathy. Throughout the series, it doesn’t seem like there is any legitimate trouble for America to accept an African American as Captain America.

However, something praiseworthy is the design of Sam’s Falcon costume. It is more identical to the comic book character than his past costumes. The costume for his time as Captain America also stands out.

The story truly lacks a proper storyline where it brings change within the MCU similar to how “WandaVision” did, in which it shows the protagonist going through major developments while simultaneously creating a story that could affect future films within the universe. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” falls flat.

Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson, or Falcon, and inherits the Captain America role. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson, or the Falcon, and inherits the Captain America role.
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

It feels like Disney should have had Sam accept the shield immediately from Captain America at the end of “Avengers: Endgame,” especially since the characters don’t go through any significant change between the end of the film and the start of the series.

Other characters in the six-episode series tend to get lost in translation. For instance, the struggles of characters such as Sharon Carter played by Emily VanCamp are left in the dark. As a fugitive of the law, her struggles could have been highlighted more and not been resolved as quickly.

Another character that feels one-sided is Zemo, portrayed by Daniel Brühl. His sinister performance is good and his combat skills are impressive, but he never progresses any further as a character and falls right back behind bars again.

Bucky Barnes, or the Winter Soldier, portrayed by Sebastian Stan also lacks a proper story arc. It seems as though the writers started to give him an interesting arc until they stopped at the end of episode one.

It is not until the last few minutes of the finale that his character development carries on, just to go nowhere. However, his connections to Black Panther and Wakanda are interesting as some of his time there is shown through flashbacks.

Sebastian Stan plays Bucky Barnes, or Winter Solider (left). Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Sebastian Stan plays Bucky Barnes, or the Winter Soldier (left).
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Some of the original characters such as John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell, have intriguing storylines that are ultimately ruined by the end. John goes back and forth from hero to villain after failing at taking up the role of Captain America. He eventually heads down a dark path, which is a great turning point for the series until his story abruptly and randomly gets a redemption arc, suddenly wiping his slate clean.

The cinematography for most of the episodes also feels sloppy with completely jarring camera shots, including drone shots that show Falcon flying in the air. The shots are extremely close to his face, failing to give the viewers enough space to get a view of the sky. Oddly enough, the films that Falcon costarred in had better flight sequences than his own series.

The lighting is also relatively weak. As the series goes on, it becomes difficult to enjoy some of the action as the lighting is way too dim to see.

Despite Disney trying and there being some positive aspects, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has many rough edges. Hopefully Disney+ can redeem themselves with future MCU installments.

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