Disney+ once again expanded the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with its second original miniseries, ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’.
‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ premiered on Disney+ on March 19. It comes a few weeks after the last MCU entry, ‘WandaVision’, ended on March 5. It is the second new MCU project this year, and there are plenty more coming up after it. With new episodes arriving every Friday until the finale on April 23, here is what has happened so far.
Unlike ‘WandaVision’, ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ does not start off as a sitcom. This series feels a lot closer to the action-packed Marvel movies that we know. Even if some people feel like the first episode started off slow, ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ is filled with a lot more fight scenes and drama.
The show follows the late Steve Rogers’, aka Captain America’s, best friends/sidekicks Sam Wilson (The Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) in the days after the “Blip”, when Thanos’s snap removed half of the universe’s population. Though Sam and Bucky have appeared in the MCU before, they were usually pushed off to the side in favor of other characters like Captain America. ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, however, finally gives Bucky and Sam their time in the limelight, and we get to see more personal light.
Bucky, now 106 years old, has to deal with his years of PTSD as a Hydra super soldier with his court ordered therapist. Sam, meanwhile, attempts to help his sister with their family fishing business in Louisiana. Everyone expects Bucky and Sam to work together in top secret military operations. There’s just one problem: Bucky and Sam are incompatible in every way. They might both be incredible fighters, but they are also two lone wolves that must learn to work together.
That’s far from the only problem our characters have to deal with, though. In ‘Avengers: Endgame’, Steve gave Sam his Captain America shield, wanting him to be the next Captain America. Now, since there is no longer an imminent threat to planet earth, Sam gave up the shield, wanting the government to display it in a Captain America memorial. Bucky disagrees with this decision, which caused new tension in their friendship. Things only get worse when they find out the government has instead knighted a new Captain America, John Walker, to take Steve’s place. Will this new Cap ever be able to fill Steve’s shoes? Will he ever get along with Bucky and Sam?
Besides the replacement Cap, there is also a new enemy to deal with. The Flag-Smashers are a group of super soldiers who want to create “one world, one people”, no matter the cost. Throughout the second episode, the Falcon and the Winter Soldier attempt to learn more about the Flag-Smashers, not knowing an unseen force follows close behind. Like with the replacement Cap, viewers want to learn more about the Flag-Smashers, wondering, “Are these people actually that bad? And if not, then what — or who — is the evil force following them?”
In an attempt to combat the Flag-Smashers, Bucky goes to visit an old “friend” to try and recruit him. This old “friend” turns out to be another super soldier that served for America during the Korean War. His name is Isaiah Bradley, a now elderly black man. The trip turns out to be a disaster in more ways than one. Isaiah is reluctant to speak to Bucky, and Sam is upset that Bucky never told him about Isaiah. After all, “you’re telling me that there was a black super soldier decades ago and nobody knew about it?”
Sam and Bucky later get in a verbal fight in the streets outside of Isaiah’s house. Because their argument gets really heated, some police officers come by and racially profile Sam, asking for his ID and threatening to arrest him. Even though Sam doesn’t get arrested — one of the cops recognizes Sam, and the other one quickly backs off — the scene is an excellent example of how black men are unfortunately treated in our society.
Disney and Marvel are not only expanding the MCU with ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, but they are also taking a stand against racial injustice and providing representation. Not only does the police scene ring true to many viewers, but there are also a lot more African-Americans and people of color as actors and extras throughout the show. This level of representation means a lot for fans, especially in the superhero genre, which has been known to be predominantly white.
‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ is exciting, inclusive and action packed. Every episode leaves more to be desired, and many fans are enthusiastically waiting to see what’s to come. Tune into Disney+ this Friday to find out what happens next to this unlikely duo.