The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: A Good First Impression

By Diego Caceres, Staff Writer

With the very recent conclusion of WandaVision, fans of the MCU are craving more, wondering when they can get their hands on anything Marvel-related. Luckily, Marvel has dropped their newest show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and it landed with a good start (spoilers ahead).


From hearing the premise, skepticism arose in me. Based on previous films, Sam and Bucky fail to interest me. They are two throw-away characters overshadowed because of their lack of screen time. I found Bucky’s story uninteresting, and I only remember Falcon appearing in Ant-Man for a few seconds. The show seeks to address this and wastes no time fixing it.


The first two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are great. Knowing that most audiences could care less about Sam and Bucky, the writers try their hardest to intrigue the viewer. Sam faces personal challenges that feel very real. His financial state and relationship with his sister add a sense of depth that he greatly needed. This side to him never gets a chance to shine in the films. The writers also give Bucky time to shine. His therapy sessions (although cliched) offer a greater understanding of his inner workings. He can be hostile, but he is also lonely. He has committed crimes against his will, but he is doing his best to make up for them. One of the best moments in the first episode is when the show reveals that the only reason Bucky is friendly to one of the characters is to atone for his past actions.


Not only do the characters work, but the story does as well. Although painfully generic, the story does enough to keep the viewer engaged. The introduction of the new Captain America was a pleasant surprise and acted as a great cliffhanger. In the next episode, John Walker is introduced and given realistic motivations behind fulfilling this new role. Making a good first impression and doing his best to be Captain America drives him to be so cold against Sam and Bucky, considering they act as a possible roadblock to these goals. These character dynamics are what make up for the story.


The chemistry between Sam and Bucky is what drives the show. Seeing them bicker and argue is very entertaining, but at the same time, their relationship feels forced. The show tries to do so many things yet does them in the least subtle way possible. Instead of showing the audience the daunting pressure John Walker feels in becoming the new Captain America, he says it out loud to a random side character. Instead of showing what happened during “the blip,” the main villain flat out tells her buddies (when they already know since they are willing to put their life on the line to fight for it). Even the hints at racial injustice feel ham-fisted.


In one scene, an officer questions Sam and asks for his ID, clearly an instance of racial prejudice. This instance feels forced. Moments before, the writers included a quiet conversation between Sam and a young boy. The boy calls Sam “The Black Falcon,” and Sam clarifies that he is just “Falcon.” This conversation is far better.


The lack of unsubtly stems from the show’s underlying issue: it is very “Marvel.”


By this, I mean that the show is militaristic, grey, and leaves out any subtlety in hopes of appealing to the general audience. The reason I appreciate WandaVision is because it tried something new. Every episode was exciting, colorful, and full of charm, whereas The Falcon and the Winter Soldier feels like Marvel’s generic product that I have seen countless times.


Considering this is solely based on the first two episodes, there are opportunities for improvement. Only time will tell if the show decides to alter its course.