Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review

By: Sarah Brill  |  May 23, 2021

By Sarah Brill, Science & Technology Editor

Coming on the heels of one of the greatest Marvel TV shows in history, “WandaVision,” came “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Airing on March 19, 2021 on Disney+, the show follows two of the newer Avengers on their quest to disband the Flag-Smashers, a group of anarchists whose aim is to make what is wrong in the world right again. While their intentions are good, their execution is downright problematic. This show tackles themes such as refugees in crisis, the African-American story, and post traumatic stress and does so in a very elegant fashion. 

Needless to say this show has all the action. In these roughly 40-minute episodes, there can be upwards of at least three fight sequences on average. While those fights might be entertaining, they do take away from the plot, which gets jumbled and lost in those scenes. Compared to the previous Marvel TV show released on Disney+, “WandaVision,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” seemed subpar. While their themes and mentality of tackling larger issues was there, the show as a whole was downright confusing. 

The show begins with a clear objective; the Winter Soldier, also known as James Barnes (Sebastian Stan), is struggling with post traumatic stress from his time as the Winter Soldier, while the Falcon, also known as Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), travels the world dismantling corrupt organizations that have risen after the blip. While the show progresses, the audience is unclear who the main villain is; Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), a passionate vigilante, or John Walker (Wyatt Russell), a Captain America fraud, both of whom think they are doing good for the world but, ultimately, end up being corrupt themselves. Unlike “WandaVision,” the show does not progress in a clear manner, but instead progresses through a series of fight sequences and sketchy background without much context and ends with what might have needed to unfold throughout the entire episode, but is instead shoved into two minutes. 

If “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” accomplished one thing, it was tackling the theme of racism and mental health throughout the entire show. This theme of racism was prevalent through the use of Isaish Bradly (Carl Lumbly), a former enhanced soldier who was dishonored by the United States merely because of the color of his skin. Mental health was depicted through the use of Bucky, who struggles with his past throughout the entire episode, finally finding peace at the end of the show. Additionally, this show shed light on the necessity of having a prominent super hero character portrayed by a person of color, and I am thankful that Sam Wilson is now Captain America.  

This show had its ups and mainly downs, but there were some key takeaways. From the context of the finale of the show we can expect to see more Marvel characters emerge in the MCU’s Phase 4, and possibly look forward to another, hopefully better, season two.