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Review: Falcon and the Winter Soldier-A Much Needed, Delightfully Gritty Marvel Story

By David T. Valentin

Just two weeks after the hit Marvel mini-series WandaVision finale wrapped up with its emotional and action-packed ninth and final episode, the newest Marvel TV mini-series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, hits Disney+.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be a six episodic mini-series, which follows two of Steve Rogers’ closest friends, Bucky Barns (Sebastian Stan), the Winter Soldier, and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), the Falcon. This all takes place after the infamous “blip”; a tragedy in the Marvel universe that had 50% of all life in the universe disappear for five years straight until the Avengers returned life back to so-called normalcy in the events of Avengers: Endgame. According to multiple news sources, each episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will have a run time of between 45 minutes to 55 minutes, giving us about 10 to 15 extra minutes than WandaVision did.

In the first episode alone, the show addresses the rehabilitation of Bucky Barnes into a citizen and away from his days as the Winter Soldier, a re-animated killing machine in the service of the evil Hydra empire. The show asks the questions, like it did for Steve Rogers as Captain America, whether soldiers of war can really adapt back into civilian life. Scenes show Bucky haunted by his past, trying his best to be a normal citizen and make amends but unable to push the guilt of the harm he’s done out from his mind. We can guess based off what we’ve seen so far that, perhaps, a normal civilian life might not be possible for Bucky.

On the Falcon half of the show things seems a little more upbeat than Bucky’s story of redemption and rehabilitation. Sam Wilson’s story starts off the episode with Sam alone donning a black suit, watching over Cap’s Vibranium shield. Seconds later, we are launched into an epic aerial scene where the Falcon attempts to rescue an American soldier from a group of bad guys. Even though the show jumps into a typical epic Marvel fight scene, the first scene is really what sets the tone for what the show is going to do in its next six episodes. Like Bucky, Sam is also adjusting to part-time civilian life helping out his family business and part-time helping out as the Falcon

What I really enjoyed about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the slow burn of it and the obvious focus of a more emotional story. Like WandaVision, the show will deal with more introspective story arcs. However, unlike WandaVision, which didn’t delve too deeply into the larger consequences of the blip, like politics and economics, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier seems to be stepping into that unknown territory and owning it.

So far every movie and show that has taken place after the blip has made the world feel different than our own, slightly off. What I do hope is that all those themes, and perhaps some of the mystery The Falcon and The Winter Soldier might be woven into its story and tied up nicely at the end rather than making the excuse that it will lead into the next Marvel film. WandaVision, while being a very deep, introspective, and emotional story, didn’t quite deliver and tie up the story. Many people made the excuse that WandaVision and all its unanswered questions will be tied up nicely in the next Marvel movies, but it still needs to wrap up the emotional story it established within the mini-series.

That being said, I do hope the introspection of these shows translates to the movies. One of my bigger gripes with Marvel films is that their quirky, humorous tone often gets in the way of seriously delving into more emotional and character driven stories without there being a joke at the end.

That being said, although I was more excited for WandaVision (clearly because of my bias as a Scarlet Witch fan) the first episode of Falcon and The Winter Soldier certainly doesn’t fail to captivate attention.


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