Streaming service Disney+ releases their second miniseries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with The Falcon and the Winter Solider. The brainchild of Malcolm Spellman, the series is an action-adventure, buddy comedy, focusing on the adventures of Sam Wilson / Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Picking up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the premiere episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier wastes no time getting to the action. I commend director Kari Skogland for beginning the series that way, as we get a chance to see Anthony Mackie flex his action hero chops. That said, fans who were a bit upset with the route Wanda vision took with its storytelling and set up, may find more to enjoy in The Falcon and the Winter Solider.
One of the things I was fond of in head writer Malcolm Spellman’s approach to the material is the arcs he sets up for our characters. Sam’s arc carries over effortlessly from the closing moments of Endgame, where Steve Rodgers chooses him as his replacement for Captain America. Spellman sets up a crystal clear arc for Sam that I’m sure a lot of black men who have served in the military will relate to. I won’t go into any spoilers, but you’ll know the moments when you see them.
The military angle also carries over for Bucky Barnes. There’s a great scene in Episode 1 that shows Barnes in therapy dealing with his PTSD. Subliminally it’s an arc that will let Stan showcase his dramatic muscle. Watching the moments for Barnes, as he is trying to embrace his new life—while finding his own path after Steve, was great. For me, the arc for Bucky shows us the character mentally and emotionally cleansed for the first time so to speak.
I do want to give fans the heads up that episode 1 doesn’t show the title characters together once. For me, this was fine, as it ties into the after-effects from the BLIP. For example, Sam joins his sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye) in Louisiana, in an effort to help save the Wilson family business. As a fan of Oduye’s acting style, I always enjoy seeing her on-screen and she holds her own in her scenes with Mackie.
Episode 1 also features a cameo from a fan favorite and the closing moments have an Easter egg that comic fans will instantly connect to. With a nice balance of action, strong acting from its cast and subtle hints to who the big bad will be, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is another winner for Disney +.
Final Grade A-
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiers this Friday, March 19th on Disney +. The series will consist of six episodes, releasing weekly until April 23