With the first episode now streaming on Disney+, Vital Thrills’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier review is here! Read on to learn all about the exciting new Marvel Studios series and let us know what you think about the show in the comments.
After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) try to find their way around a post-Blip world and life without Captain America. Bucky begins to face the long-term consequences of his past. He helps track down the remnants of Hydra as well as right some of his past wrongs. However, he also deals with PTSD and the fact that he’s a 100-year-old man living in a world he’s not entirely in touch with.
Meanwhile, Sam must deal with his sister who is struggling to keep the family business running after the economic disaster caused by The Blip. Without steady income and no way to get loans, the Wilsons face losing everything their parents built up. Despite the crisis on the home front, Sam continues to serve as a special agent. His latest assignment uncovers a new terrorist organization born of Thanos’ reign of terror. But can The Falcon ever hope to fill the shoes of Captain America and save the day?
Several things are immediately apparent about The Falcon and the Winter Solider in its first episode. Right out of the gate you see that Marvel has maintained the cinematic qualities of the MCU with this TV series. The opening action scene featuring Falcon battling Batroc and some airborne bad guys is every bit as exciting as anything in the Captain America movies on the big screen.
Second, you see that this series is much more in the spy genre and feels like it is cut from the cloth of Captain America: The Winter Soldier than the other Cap films. Third, it is apparent from this first episode that they are taking full advantage of the long TV series format.
This first episode simply starts setting the dominoes up to knock down through the whole series. Like WandaVision, you see this is a long ride and you’ll need to take in the series as a whole to fully appreciate it, but it does make this first episode feel a little sparse at times after an explosive opening number.
What’s particularly intriguing about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the opportunity to delve much deeper into the lives of these secondary characters from the films. We get to meet Sam’s sister, meet his nephews, and see his hometown in Louisiana. These are the people he was fighting for in the Avengers movies.
But in true Marvel fashion, we get to see Sam dealing with everyday problems too. How does a superhero earn a living? How do they deal with fans in public? What happens after the aliens are defeated and the world is saved?
I was also particularly pleased to see the aftermath of The Blip dealt with in this episode at the level of the everyman. Spider-Man: Far From Home and WandaVision dealt with this some and this episode explores the ramifications of it even more from the perspective of the Wilson family.
The life of Bucky Barnes is also more fully explored. He’s haunted by the memories of every crime he ever committed. Bucky works with the government to try and right those wrongs and we get to see that not all of Hydra has been eradicated. This episode also deals with Bucky facing his PTSD with a therapist. It allows for some interesting character moments as he reluctantly faces his demons. But it’s not all doom and gloom with Bucky. We get to see him attempt to rejoin the dating game. That leads to some interesting dilemmas as Bucky deals with the reality that he’s a WWII-era man trying to date women from our modern culture.
This episode sets up a number of other interesting conflicts to come including encounters with characters from the movies, a new terrorist organization, and the government’s attempt to replace Captain America. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier looks like it’s going to be an exciting and welcome ride.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Anything I mention here is a nitpick, so take it as you will. As already mentioned, this episode is a lot of setup. That makes it a little less satisfying, but all of that setup has a lot of promise so it’s forgivable. We’ll see where it goes.
I was also surprised by the amount of profanities in it. It’s nothing we haven’t heard uttered on the big screen in MCU films, but with this being Disney+ it was a little surprising. The Mandalorian and WandaVision didn’t have the cursing, so it almost felt out of place on the otherwise kid-friendly service. It came across as an ill-advised effort to add edge to the show.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I’m thrilled to have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier arrive and especially happy it comes so fast after WandaVision. It gives me something to look forward to weekly on television for the next couple of months. And if the first episode is any indication, fans will be quite happy.
Directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman serving as head writer, the series also Daniel Brühl as Zemo, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, and Wyatt Russell as John Walker.