The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, this series was a heavy one that’s for sure, exploring the weight of Captain America’s shield to its full extent! Touching on a serious topic head-on that many don’t like to think about, yet I felt it at least did it right most of the time and fleshed out the character of Sam Wilson. Bucky, I’ll get to soon enough.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier basically tackled the question of who will become the next Captain America. It was inevitable that race would be involved yet one that we all thought off! MCU is loosely based on our real world, so given that, did we all really expect Sam to pick up the mantle of Captain America without people mentioning his race? Come on now! The unfortunate truth is that Black Americans face a completely different reality from their other American peers and the series aimed to highlight it. And it did it well for the most part. Personally, it felt too on the nose but I guess that’s the point. The dynamic between Sam and Bucky was interesting to follow! While Sam was coming to terms with giving up the shield and finding out that America had no issue replacing Steve, Bucky was going through his own trauma, having to try and face the sins of his past while wondering where he belonged. Things didn’t get interesting until Zemo joined the gang in their pursuit of the flag-smashers. Their dynamic served to carry the series right up until he was taken away by the Wakandans.
It was going well! I really enjoyed Isaiah Bradley part the most when I think about it. I honestly didn’t think they’d include him, and it really highlighted the dark history we often aren’t told about the super serum and the shield, a further commentary on race dynamic in the US. As much as we don’t like thinking about it, it’s unavoidable in a world based on our reality, yet I couldn’t help but feel like the last aspects of the series (thirds arc) left us dry when it came to a good conflict between Bucky, Sam, and Karli! Like, at first I thought the Flag-Smashers were going to be something greater like I understood what these guys stood for, yet the final arc just wasn’t satisfying for me. Karli Morgenthau as the antagonist was alright, however, her descent into terrorist territory didn’t feel natural I guess.
The new Captain America John Walker also was set up to be his unstable soldier who’s dealing with PTSD. For me, it felt like they were setting him up to be an anti-Captain America, becoming a foe for Sam and Bucky, yet they didn’t. He snapped, yet become friends with them? Maybe I’m seeing it wrong here. Essentially what I felt was missing what a further dive into other characters, not too much but just enough for us to get a conclusion to the.
Now for Bucky! Truth be told, Bucky was the one I felt we didn’t get enough insight, especially when he confronted the Asian man. Seriously, I wanted to see how the old man reacted, how Bucky took it, the conversation that was had. By halfway into the series, Bucky was just…hanging around! I mean Sam already had a moment when he became Captain America, yet the episode kept that moment going. We get it! I felt that there were scenes that didn’t add much to Sam’s story and felt like fluff! They spent too much time on things they could have condensed more.
Overall, it still held up strong, yes it felt more like an earnest, thoughtful, and politically charged story, which some will find OK, yet at least it handles it a little better narrative-wise!