TL;DR – it starts on a high and then mellows into the world we will be in for the rest of the season
Post-Credit Scene – There is no End Credit Scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review –
When I think back to my all-time favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe film, at the top, or at least very near, it has to be the Captain America Trilogy with Winter Soldier and Civil War being real highlights. With the end of Endgame, there were many threads in these films that never got resolved. Today, we take the first dive into a show looking to fix that issue, one odd-ball partner cop show episode after another.
So to set the scene, we open in the skies over Tunisia. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is needed for a significant extradition job to secure an Army Colonel from a terrorist group. As he intercepts the plane, Sam discovers that it has already been hijacked and has to fight his way on-board before the plane reaches Libyan airspace. Meanwhile, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is in therapy as part of his pardon. But the nightmares of his past as The Winter Solider still haunt his dreams. But there is a rising threat across the world as those looking forward to striking in the blip’s chaos make their first moves. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
Because it the first thing we see, it should come as no surprise that we will start with the aerial dogfight across the skies of North Africa. We get Sam breaking into a plane in full flight, getting into a brawl with Batroc (Georges St-Pierre), fighting with people in wingsuits, and then doing that while also fending off helicopters. This is an action sequence that goes on for a good eight or so minutes, but the way it shifts and changes makes it always feel fresh. We got to be reminded of everything Sam’s suit can do while getting an excellent callback to the past and introducing one of the show’s supporting cast in Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez). The one-touch I liked the most was when you could see that they did some of those jumps for real (or at least a very convincing fake).
While we start in action mode, this is not the focus of the episode. We are spending most of our time grounding our characters in this new world so we can have that connection to take us further. The original plan was that this show was meant to come out before WandaVision to give us direction in what the post-blip world is like. However, the pandemic held production up, but that might have been for the best because the moment they mentioned that there is a radical group out there that thought the world was somehow better before everyone came home, I thought, ‘yep that would happen’. A year ago, it probably would have felt silly but not now.
Our first cab off the rank is Bucky, struggling to find his place in this new world. While we get another reminder of how efficient The Winter Solider was when working for Hydra, you know straight from that first encounter that this would have more meaning. Bucky is haunted by his past and given he has been going full-tilt with no break since he fell off that train, the pause of nothing is filling his life with guilt from the past. I am glad that they showed that he was going to therapy and that the Doctor (Amy Aquino) was presented in a capable and compassionate light. One of the hard things to watch was Bucky almost engaging in emotional self-flagellation as he spends his days helping out the father (Ken Takemoto) of one of his victims caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One the other side of the title is Sam struggling with the weight of expectations Cap gave him when he passed on Captain America’s mantle. So much so that he donates the shield to the museum. For Sam, it is the legacy of the past and what happened while he was away in those five years. Also, in what might be the most realistic moment in Marvel, Sam and his sister (Adepero Oduye) could not get a loan. You feel that family dynamic and the stress that comes from it grounds this show like nothing else.
In the end, do we recommend The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: New World Order? Yes, yes, we do. I think this did everything that it needed to do. It set up the world, grounded our two leads, and then gave us a kick-ass action scene to boot.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Directed by – Kari Skogland
Written by – Malcolm Spellman
Created by – Malcolm Spellman
Based on – Characters created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Disney+
Starring – Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St-Pierre, Adepero Oduye & Don Cheadle with Desmond Chiam, Dani Deetté, Indya Bussey, Amy Aquino, Chase River McGhee, Aaron Haynes, Ken Takemoto, Ian Gregg, Miki Ishikawa, Rebecca Lines, Miles Brew & Akie Kotabe