The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Disney+’s jam-packed schedule of immersing viewers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the small screen picks up after a two-week hiatus (unless you break the fourth wall and count The Making of WandaVision) with an excellent start to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This six-part miniseries focuses on superhero teammates Sam Wilson (the Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier), following the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame wherein Steve Rogers handed the Captain America mantle to Wilson.
The 50-minute pilot opens with an electrifying ten-minute action sequence in which Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is engaged in a dogfight with one of Captain America’s old foes, the thieving mercenary Batroc (MMA legend Georges St-Pierre, reprising his role from Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Already registering as the Falcon’s most exciting sequence in the MCU, it’s exactly the kind of character showcase that the filmmakers should serve up when giving these ancillaries their own TV show – even if it doesn’t mean much in the grander picture of Phase Four, which is yet to be determined.
Four interesting narrative strands follow: Wilson connects with his sister, Sarah (Adepero Oduye), helping her manage parenting duties following the death of her husband; Barnes works his issues out in therapy, as his violent past continues to haunt him; the world is on alert when a Swiss bank is seized by a group of robbers, marked by distinctive masks that are a blatant design rip-off of the Hunters in the video game The Division 2. Finally, Wilson’s difficulty to assume the Captain America role is compounded by a government desperately seeking a symbolic figure. The immediate establishment of personal stakes for the titular duo opens up a route to pathos, should Marvel pursue the same emotional appeal of their most recent project.
Unlike WandaVision, though, this show doesn’t look to be taking the same sort of storytelling risks, preferring to adapt Marvel’s straightforward film format for the small screen. That’s perfectly fine – the aversion to generating fan theories will be welcomed following the mixed responses to a certain character twist in the other series – but there’s real potential here to exploit the episodic structure and offer great surprises and unique character development. For now, though, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gets off on the right foot, situating a terrific pair of heroes within intriguing circumstances.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is released on Disney+ on 19th March 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier here: