The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Review


Image Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Dylan Hostetter, Arts and Style Editor

*This article contains SPOILERS for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier*

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier began its limited run on Disney Plus on March 19 2021. It stars Anthony Mackie (8 Mile, Outside The Wire) and Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya, The Devil All The Time) as the titular characters The Falcon, a.k.a. Sam Wilson, and The Winter Soldier, a.k.a. Bucky Barnes. The series also stars Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Emily VanCamp, and Daniel Brühl. All six episodes of the miniseries were directed by Kari Skolgard and head written by Malcolm Spellman.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is set around six months after Avengers: Endgame, which not only saw the return of half of the Earth’s population, but also the retirement of Steve Rogers, the previous Captain America. Both of these occurrences factor heavily into the narrative of the show, as after the retirement of Rogers, Sam Wilson is given the iconic shield.

The beginning of the series finds Sam, who has just given up the shield fearing he is not fit for the Captain A, and Bucky, who is still coming to grips with his past, separated. The first episode finds Bucky in therapy as he tries and fails to get closure on the terrible deeds he took part in as the brainwashed Winter Soldier. We also find Sam in an unforgiving situation as he is denied a loan at the bank and in a position to lose his family’s boat. 

From here, the series kicks off as a mysterious organization known as The Flag Smashers is poised to disrupt the globe. The government has also instituted a new Captain America in the form of John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell. Walker carries the shield given to Sam by Steve, the one which he had just given up. Walker’s appointment as Captain America sets into motion Sam’s internal struggle of whether or not he is worthy of taking the mantle himself.

Following in the steps of Wandavision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier perfectly weaves its narrative into that of the film universe. From the cameos, such as that of Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes, to the action sequences, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier feels like the epic Marvel adventure that audiences are used to. The first episode begins with an epic Falcon action sequence that, in my opinion, is better than anything we have seen his character do to date. As a fan of the comics, it is exciting to see a character such as Falcon given such time to shine. That is really the best part of Marvel’s Disney Plus experiment. Compared to the mere minutes of screen time allotted to these characters in the films, the Disney Plus shows give the audience hours to fall in love with the characters. Just like Wandavision did with Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier dives deep into both Sam and Bucky’s characters. We get to see Sam’s roots and better understand what it means to be a black superhero in modern America. We also get to dive into Bucky’s inner torment and struggle to make amends for his past. 

The show also introduces many new layered characters. First off, John Walker. Wow. Wyatt Russell really understands how to play a character you just love to hate. I for one was very excited for his eventual transition into the anti-hero U.S. Agent, one that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier handles perfectly. Also introduced are Isaiah Bradley, a black U.S. soldier who, unbeknownst to him, was given an experimental super soldier serum. Instead of being idolized like Steve Rogers, Isaiah was instead jailed. I loved his character, as he delivered much of the emotion in the show, especially when he is finally given the recognition he deserved. I will not lie; I shed a tear.

My favorite part about these characters is that we will surely see them again. Just like the open-ended departures of The Scarlet Witch and The Vision in Wandavision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier leaves much to come. John Walker is now U.S. Agent and under the management of the mysterious Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontiane (it is a mouthful, I know). A future that was not hinted at as much was that of Elijah Bradley, the grandson of Isaiah Bradley. In the comics, Elijah becomes the young hero Patriot. It is possible that we could see this transition in his own Disney Plus show, or, even more likely, in the newly announced Captain America four. 

Not long after the finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, it was announced that a fourth Captain America film was in the works starring Anthony Mackie as the titular superhero. This comes after, in the finale, Sam Wilson finally decides to take on the mantle of Captain America. At the top of the final episode of the series, Sam is unveiled in his full Captain America attire. Boy, it was glorious. That is another thing that is not only good about this series but Marvel’s fourth phase of films and television in its entirety: the costumes. It all began with the wonderfully comic-accurate costume of The Scarlet Witch in Wandavision. The wonderful costume design continued on to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Sam Wilson’s Captain America and John Walker’s U.S. Agent costumes are pulled straight from the comics. I was giddy. Marvel is truly handling things right.

With all that said, I think it is clear that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier deserves a watch. It not only delivers top tier super hero action, but it gives a deeper look into the personal stories and struggles of the heroes we look up to. The show also tackles several social issues of today, with Sam Wilson’s Captain America delivering a handful of moving speeches. While it has a  different feel than that of Wandavision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier delivers on everything you could possibly want. It is now streaming on Disney Plus.