“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” begins with a slow burn // The Observer
Warning: Spoilers for the first episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”!
Now is the time for the two Marvel fan favorite characters to step into the limelight with their own six-episode series on Disney +.
On March 19, the pilot episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was released after much anticipation, following the finale of the hugely popular “WandaVision”. Directed by Kari Skogland, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” follows Captain America’s friends Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they find their place in a world that has lost some of its most precious great heroes in “Avengers: Endgame.” Giving us little action and no connection between the two main characters, the pilot episode is certainly a slow burn, but it’s also the starting point for epic character development. .
Sam Wilson’s story can’t start without a bang, and the pilot’s debut surely reflects that. In collaboration with the US Air Force, Sam’s opening mission to shoot down French mercenaries in a North African canyon takes the public on a wild ride. And subtlety isn’t exactly Sam’s strong suit.
“I wanted us to feel like we were in the action,” Skogland said in an interview with Digital Spy. “I wanted him to have that kind of GoPro feel.”
This creates an interesting visual experience, as the viewer feels like they are flying with Sam instead of just looking at him. Sam’s story also introduces us to new characters like the young and fiery Torres – who thinks Steve Rogers watches over everyone on the moon – and Sam’s sister Sarah, who isn’t afraid to face the nerve of his brother. Sam Wilson is a daring character, who likes to think big or come home, so fans can expect nothing less than Wilson to make risky choices in future episodes.
Bucky’s story takes a different approach. Having nightmares about his past life as a brainwashed Winter Soldier, Bucky doesn’t look to fight during this pilot episode. In fact, our first scenes with him are in therapy. Trying to make amends for his past, Bucky tries to balance his efforts to make up for what he did as a Winter Soldier and fit into civilian life at the same time.
What “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” excels at is that the heavy themes presented coincide with light humor. When the woman Bucky is dating asks her age after complaining about the confusion of online dating – and she laughs when he says he’s 106 – the audience can’t help but laugh too. There is a certain beauty in finding places to laugh during such difficult times, and the pilot episode walks well on that fine line. We’ve all fallen in love with old Yori who fights over a trash can and asks the cute bartender to play pinochle with Bucky, so finding out that Bucky killed his son will make anyone grab the box of handkerchiefs.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” appears to be different from other Marvel content due to the realism of the character issues. Sam Wilson and his family are struggling with money while trying to keep their business afloat. Who would have thought that superheroes don’t get paid? Even the bank denies Sam a loan, despite the fact that he has helped save the planet several times in previous films. Meanwhile, Bucky faces trauma and isolation as he tries to come to terms with his past, and the first episode seems to set him on a journey to regain his friends’ trust (again). The show even shows signs of a commentary on society in general; we all gasped when we saw the ending scene of a new Captain America holding Steve Rogers’ shield – the same one Sam gave to the Smithsonian. The government appears to be trying to maintain a safe public image by creating another Captain America, but it certainly doesn’t seem respectful to replace someone who has done so much for their country.
Fans should be excited about what’s to come with the rest of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”. When Sam and Bucky finally reunite in the next few episodes, viewers can look forward to a hilarious relationship between the loud and funny Wilson and the reserved and angsty Barnes. The show will take audiences on a mad dash across the globe as our heroes battle vigilantes who want a free and lawless world to do whatever they want, and Marvel lovers will certainly be entertained watching the best dynamic duo that the franchise has never featured.