“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Smashes Expectations

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"The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" is another in Disney's long line of Marvel Cinematic Universe products. Image courtesy Disney+

After the smash success Disney+ show “WandaVision” ended in March, Marvel fans were ready to gobble up another show. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was another hit, coming as the new venture of Marvel original TV shows on Disney+ seem to be doing well. Bringing back stars Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie and Emily VanCamp, the show brought an end and a new beginning to the Captain America story. 

The show highlighted the portions of Bucky Barnes’s life that he wanted to amend from when he was the Winter Soldier. This storyline is followed with Bucky’s new friendships and the pain that he caused others in his past. Making amends doesn’t just stop with his Hydra connections. Bucky and Sam team back up after their “mutual friend who’s gone now,” Steve Rogers, gave up his shield. Sam Wilson has been a part of the Avengers for a long while, and fans were curious to see how Captain America’s legacy would continue after Sam got Cap’s shield in “Avengers: Endgame.” Unfortunately, he gives it back to the government, and this creates tension between him and Bucky. The relationship that Sam and Bucky cultivate through the course of the show is heartwarming and brings together the men who were previously only brought together by their friend Steve. 

The show did a beautiful job of giving each conflict its own attention, as there was a lot in the show. The villainous group called the Flag Smashers creates the main tension that the heroes need to fight against. Although the group is portrayed as terrorists, myself as the viewer, as well as Sam Wilson, feel empathy for Karli Morgenthau, the leader of the Flag Smashers. This main antagonist, as well as the antagonists of racism, the ever-so-hateable John Walker and Bucky’s mental health problems make a lot of conflict in the show. 

In all honesty, the show was a little hard to follow, even as an avid fan who has seen all the Marvel films and most of the other TV shows. It took me a moment to remember who Sharon Carter was and why she was in the show. This makes the show’s target audience very small, as there are not many people who could enjoy the show without looking up the lore and having many questions. 

The show did bring racial justice with the first on-screen Black Captain America, and sparked conversation around the number of Black superheroes inside and out of the MCU. It also gave a human quality to The Falcon and the Black community that he lives in. The show had a lot of tiny offshoots that I wasn’t sure were going to be wrapped up, but the show did a great job of keeping track of where everyone was in their many conflicts.

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