Thoughts on the Falcon and the Winter Soldier So Far

2021 has so far been a very successful year for Marvel. With the launch of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and new shows being released on Disney +, fans have so much to look forward to this year. Being a Marvel fan myself, I was so excited with all of the new content coming out. However, one that I was extremely eager to watch was The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a continuation of the story of MCU characters Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, following the events of Avengers Endgame. It shows their lives following the blip and Captain America’s departure, as he passes the shield on to Sam. Sam and Bucky are living separate lives, as Sam continues to fulfill his duties as Falcon and dealing with his decision whether or not he feels worthy to keep the shield that Steve trusted him with. Bucky, on the other hand, is trying to deal with his complicated past as the Winter Soldier and make amends with those he hurt in the past when under Hydra’s control. However, they come together for a global adventure and fight against a group of rogue super soldiers.

The episodes for the series are released every Friday, and there are currently 4 episodes that have been released. I am currently on the 3rd episode, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts and takeaways from the series so far.

 

Warning for spoilers ahead! If you have not watched episode 3 so far, do not keep scrolling.

 

The series is the first in the MCU to really talk about the issue of race

Although the MCU has been a big cultural phenomenon, they have not always been a major contender when it comes to tackling social issues in their stories. Obviously, the comics have a lot of background with being influenced by social movements from the 1960s, but I feel like we haven’t really seen that reflected on screen as much since the launch of the MCU in 2008, other than Black Panther. As a viewer, it was very exciting to see Sam step into the main character role, as he has always been one of my favorites. He has so far been kind of a side character in the Captain America movies, so it was nice to get some backstory to him and see the kind of personal struggles he is dealing with as a black superhero in present day.

In the first episode, he makes the decision to surrender the shield to the Smithsonian to be a part of the Captain America exhibit, but the government soon gets ahold of it and is quick to replace Sam. With their move to rebrand Captain America for a modern age, they grant the title of Captain America to John Walker, a white man. In a way, this is a kick to the gut for Sam and Steve’s legacy, as Sam gave up the shield because he felt that he wasn’t good enough for the title and that America would not accept him taking up the mantle as a black man.

Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the series will continue to address race issues and show Sam’s journey, hopefully into the mantle of Captain America.

 

Bucky’s journey to recovery

Bucky Barnes, formally known as the Winter Solider, has been a beloved character as part of the Captain America series for a few years now. He has always had an interesting storyline, as he survived falling from a train while fighting alongside Steve and ended up being captured by the evil organization Hydra. There, he was tortured and brainwashed to become the Winter Soldier, a deadly assassin to carry out Hydra’s deeds. In the last few movies, however, we see that Bucky is able to start recovering from this trauma and begin trying to rebuild his life. We never really get to see this on screen however, so the show offers a closer glimpse into it. Bucky has always been a fascinating character to me, and I have always enjoyed watching him on screen.

In the show, Bucky is shown to be attending mandated therapy and finally having to come to terms with his past. A big part of his arc in the series seems to be with the concept of making amends with the people he has hurt in the past as the Winter Solider. At times, it is heartbreaking to watch him have to deal with this, but it is really interesting to finally see Bucky get his time to shine on screen.

 

Bringing back beloved characters

Another thing I have really loved with the show is that they have brought back many characters that have been a part of previous Captain America movies. One of the ones that has stood out to me is Baron Zemo, who was previously the main villain in Captain America: Civil War. Bucky and Sam end up breaking him out of prison and recruit him to help them fight the super soldier group that has been causing chaos throughout Europe. Before, Zemo had been portrayed before as a serious and dangerous character, but the show has allowed for viewers to see more of a humorous side to the character. At times, we see Zemo being a but goofy or even unhinged, so it is exciting to see a new side to this character.

The show also brought back Sharon Carter, who I felt had been overlooked in the past Captain America films. Before, she had been a government agent often involved with Steve but was often sidelined as being a love interest or just a female character who was overlooked. However, the show has her on the run after her actions from Captain America: Civil War and her new life as an illegal arts dealer. It is a badass and refreshing role for her, as she is shown to have a little more bite and anger to her, as the things she was forced to go through. Plus, we get to see her kick ass in some pretty impressive fight scenes, so it is definitely a win for female representation in the MCU.

 

Overall, I’m really impressed with what the show has done so far regarding the characters and the storylines. I’m looking forward to seeing how they choose to continue on with the show for the next few episodes, and if you have not watched it yet, you’re really missing out!