The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (2021) Review

It’s been a while. Seeing that it’s the Christmas season, to celebrate I’m going to release a bunch of reviews of things far out of date and relevance! Over the next week or two I’ll be trying to release reviews of things that I haven’t reviewed yet. Including Loki, What If and Hawkeye, as well as a certain little movie that recently released about some spider-person. 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a Disney Plus television series that looks at Sam Wilson/Falcon’s (Anthony Mackie) journey to decide to take up the mantle of Captain America after a government chosen choice, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), is shown to be troublesome. I apologize for waiting so long since this show finished to write this review, I’ve finally gotten the motivation to do this review. I enjoyed the show while it was airing, but I only did first thoughts for the first 2 episodes, so this review will primarily be an overview of what I thought of the show looking back on it this far away from having watched it. I know this is past the time that people were talking about the show, but I’m still doing it to get my thoughts out there. 

The story is relatively good for the show. It’s about the insecurities of the characters and how they deal with them. I think this is where the show is the strongest as everyone of the characters we get to see throughout the show is dealing with something. A major theme or idea for this show is mental health which it handles well, for the most part. It’s mental health issues, how people deal with them, and how to overcome yourself when it’s needed most. 

I think the characters were mostly all handled pretty well in the series. They all have some great moments and good arcs. The performances were all pretty good. Let’s go into some more specifics.

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon/Captain America is really good throughout the show. As one of the protagonist (maybe even the main protagonist) a lot of what happens in the show, and what the story kind of focuses on is around him and his feeling about being given the captain America mantle by Steve Rogers in Endgame. Everything in the show goes towards him eventually taking up the shield and deciding to make his own Captain America instead of being a government approved Captain America. Throughout the whole show we see why he struggles with taking up the mantle, from money problems after being snapped for 5 years, to learning that there’s a black super soldier that suffered for doing some of the same things Steve did. In the end we see why Steve chose Sam to carry the mantle. He has an interesting relationship with Bucky, as we see their relationship evolve from bickering with each other, to true friendship. 

Sebastien Stan as James Buchanan Barnes/Bucky/Winter Soldier is also really good throughout the show. He brings his typical snarkiness/dark reflective nature to the show. I enjoy how they decided to make his arc throughout the show is him making amends and trying to repay for his actions as the winter soldier. While doing this he also deals with his own issues with Sam, as Bucky and Sam don’t have the same relationship that Bucky had with Steve. He’s still feeling the affects of his past and the fact that for basically the past decade he’s been hunted, frozen, in hiding, and dead. This is his first time where he’s just able to have a bit of a normal life in 80+ years. We get to see Bucky open up about his feelings, as well as having fun and a good time with Sam and his community and family. 

Wyatt Russell as John Walker/Captain America/US Agent is also really good in this show. He’s the perfect soldier, a man who has served his country to the best of his ability in the way they taught him. We get to see how this may not be the best way to create an American hero, as the way his government taught him created the problems that led to his downfall in the series. It was really interesting to see a normal human be given this mantel, and so entering this new world of super soldiers and super terrorists. We get to see his descent into taking the last serum for himself. We get to see a lot of what makes him tick, and how he wants to do the right thing, but his training makes him maybe go the wrong way. We see how he still has a good heart, but he’s willing to go to lengths the others aren’t willing too. One thing about his character I enjoy is that it makes me wonder how this all would have gone if Sam and Bucky were more open to working with him throughout the show instead of constantly shutting him out. 

Everyone else in the show was great as well. Carl Lumbly as Isaiah Bradley was incredible in his epsiodes as a former super soldier showing the issues with the system. His character helps Sam make the decision to become Captain America. Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo is a standout in the show and is a lot more fun as character this time around. Sharon Carter was kinda cool, the reveal was kinda meh though. The Flagsmashers were interesting villains, but they have their issues as villains and it’s kinda hard for me to point out my issues with them. They just feel off to me.

On the technical aspects, the show looked good. Kinda bland, but had some moments. The effects were good, and the music and sound design was ok. The fight scenes were pretty good and memorable. The big fight between Bucky, Sam, and Walker was a stand-out.

Over-all this was a good first season. It had its good moments and some ok ones. It could have been a lot better. If you haven’t seen it yet I’d recommend it. 1 Thumb up. 

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