Is The Falcon and The Winter Soldier More Than Just a Superhero Show?

The new Disney+ show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is about life after Steve Rogers, the original Captain America. However, this isn’t the only main conflict in the show, as it goes into great depth about important topics in contemporary social and political situations. The show tackles topics like racism, white supremacy, and even racial profiling. The show isn’t afraid to discuss these topics even in the first episode, while other shows might wait until later in the season. For example, in the second episode, the police are called on Sam and Bucky for causing a disruption in a neighborhood.  The police ask Sam, a Black man, for his ID rather than Bucky, a white man. This topic is extremely timely to address on a larger platform to bring racial profiling to a broader audience.

Photo by Josh Johnson on Unsplash

Another major character tackling these issues is the government-appointed Captain America, John Walker.  The only reason that Walker becomes the New Captain America is because the government has a view of what Captain America should look like rather than someone who encompasses the ethical values and morals. And to them, Captain American is a white man with blond hair and blue eyes who was in the military. Classic American hegemony.

Throughout all of Sam abd Bucky's interactions with this character, they are seen as being less than, even though they have their own unique strengths and skills. This is because Walker’s dialogue indicates little to no respect towards them as individuals- he only sees them as accessories to Captain America. He furthers his entitlement and self-appointed superiority by insulting the Dora Milajes’, a highly respected warrior group, weapons by calling them pointy sticks and not giving them respect. Not only does he refuse to listen to this group of highly trained women, but refers to them as being inferior. CNET/Marvel Studios

In subsequent episodes, the viewers are introduced to the notion that supremacy is connected to the Super-Soldier serum. The audience can see how the character of John Walker is connected to supremacy because he ultimately ends up talking the Super-Soldier serum to be more powerful after being beaten up by the Dora Milaje. Rather than seeing this group of highly trained warriors, who are all women, as a group of people, he connects their skills to not being super-soldiers. 

masked protestors Photo by Guillaume Issaly from Unsplash

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduces a lot of issues that American society needs to be aware of, especially in today’s political climate. On the surface, it is a superhero show, but after rewatching it, it is clear what the writers were hoping to achieve. Many Americans still hold the same values and morals as Steve Rogers's Captain America, but in reality, unless we have discussions about these issues, we will still be stuck with people like John Walker serving as a symbol of America.