The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Flies High

What’s that in the sky? A bird? A plane? Oh, it’s another reason besides The Mandalorian to subscribe to Disney+. 

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was released in 2021, and is a Disney+ exclusive mini-series. The show stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, and Wyatt Russel as John Walker. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson and Bucky must team up in order to stop a mysterious terrorist group known as the Flag Smashers, who have obtained super soldier serum and plan to use it to further their evil goals. 

All the cast really shine, with the stand out being Mackie and Stan, specifically their chemistry. The writing for Sam and Bucky is amazing, and harkins back to old buddy cop films. The show takes time to let you understand them, and see them as more than ‘second class superheroes.’ One of the best scenes that demonstrates this comes near the end of episode 2, titled “Star-Spangled Man,” during a therapy session they share. 

This can be said about most of the characters, they all feel fleshed out rarely feeling one dimensional. The way the show incorporates characters from previous Marvel projects was well done, making sure each one held a purpose to the story and attributed something unique. 

As much as it was great to see fan favorites return, one of the best parts of the show comes from new edition John Walker, whom the government appoints to be the new Captain America. What starts as someone with super uninteresting and flat motivation, turns into someone we can really maybe not root for, but at least understand. Again, it’s due to that overall great character development this transition is possible. 

The weakest part on the acting side is the leader of the Flag Smashers, Karli, played by Erin Kellyman. For a show that has the production quality of a movie her acting, and line delivery particularly, definitely belonged on television. It just wasn’t very good, and even though there’s a motivation behind her acts, you don’t really care about her and because of that you don’t care much for what she’s doing.

Writing a show is not an easy challenge, with several different smaller factors to consider, like having to think episodes ahead when even making small dialogue exchanges, but here, the writing team makes it look easy. The story structure is great, every character is given something to do, and does a great job as bringing you into this grand world of differing Marvel movies on a smaller and somewhat more realistic scale. 

One way it deals with realism is how the show takes a stance on certain political issues within its fictional universe, and some real world. This can be seen with the character of Isaiah, played by Carl Lumbly. Overall, most of the scenes with him seemed to only deal with politics, and not that much with the story. Which at times can take you out of the show. 

All the production is great, it really does feel like a movie. Very impressive. The action is well shot, the CGI is mostly high quality, and the score is awesome. Henry Jackman, who previously composed both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, understood when to bring back old themes and balance them out with new ones. 

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has excellent storytelling, wonderful characters, and is overall really good television. If you need something to scratch that superhero itch, this has you covered. Can’t wait to see where these characters go next.

[My grade for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is an A]

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