By Isabel Sinnott
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a new TV series in the Marvel Universe, the second of a set of three TV shows to be released in 2021, with WandaVision premiering back in January and the Loki show coming on June 9. There will be mild spoilers for the beginning of the show present in this article.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier focuses on Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), the Falcon, and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), the Winter Soldier, as they try to find their place as heroes in a post-Endgame world. With the death of Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Sam was given the shield to become the new Captain America, but chose to give it back to the government. He didn’t feel like he should be the one to hold the shield and despite Steve’s belief in him, didn’t think that he could measure up to Steve’s legacy. However, even though the government seemed to respect Sam’s decision to leave the mantle of Captain America behind, they soon gave it to John Walker, a soldier who had fought in the army.
In the first episode, the situations of each of the main characters are introduced; Bucky is going to therapy to try to deal with his past as the Winter Soldier and make amends, while Sam is working missions and trying to help his sister with their family situation. The first episode sets up the foundation for the story and by the second episode, they reunite to work together when a violent organization called the Flag Smashers emerges.
Similar to WandaVision, the other Marvel TV show released recently, Falcon and the Winter Soldier has many differences from most of the Marvel movies in that instead of focusing primarily on just the action, it combines emotion and focuses on the relationship between the characters. It also carefully balances emotion with classic Marvel fighting and violence, while adding in discussion about current social issues such as racism and delving into the decisions made by each character and questioning who is on the right side of the conflict. The morals of various characters and their reasons for their actions are a primary focus of the story.
The relationships between the characters, including the tense ones between Bucky and Sam with Walker, a more tumultuous one as neither consider him worthy of the Captain America shield, as well as the one between Bucky and Sam are all well developed and are one of the best parts of the show. Watching Sam and Bucky’s relationship transform from a purely working relationship, to reluctant partners, to grudging friends and eventually accepting that they cared about each other was wonderful to watch.
The discussions of racism and trauma were another great facet of the show. Unlike many movies of this genre, there was far more focus on societal issues as well as actually addressing the trauma that the characters have from everything that they’ve been through. By not glossing over the realities of the life that they live as heroes in a modern world, the situations that the characters find themselves in have more weight and more impact on viewers.
Overall, despite some flaws like all Marvel movies and shows are prone to have, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a fun, interesting, and complex show to watch with well developed characters, interesting motivations, and a well written script. Looking forward to the Loki show coming out in just a few weeks, there are high hopes for it being a well done show as well due to the success of both WandaVision and the Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available to watch on Disney+.