Review: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

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Media by Marvel

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a miniseries created by Malcolm Spellman for the streaming service Disney+, focusing on Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) following the death of Captain America (Chris Evans). The finale premiered yesterday, April 23, and ended on a satisfying note.

Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers of  “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

For the past six weeks, my Thursday midnight routine consisted of popcorn, blankets and of course, Malcolm Spellman’s latest show “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” And within those next two hours, my greatest priority was hunting for “easter eggs” and theories on the events that could occur in future episodes. 

The finale, which premiered yesterday on Disney+, left me teary-eyed and cheering with a one-person standing ovation. 

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is an action-packed miniseries focused on two of the MCU avengers: Bucky Barnes or “The Winter Soldier” (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson or “The Falcon” (Anthony Mackie). Following the death of Steve Rogers or better known as “Captain America” (Chris Evans), the unlikely duo fight against the anti-patriotism group, Flag Smashers, who believe the world was better during the blip and against the so-called “New Captain America,” John Walker (Wyatt Russell). 

The series finale wasted no time to finally show the moment all us Marvel fans have been anticipating. We see Sam in the new Wakandan-made Captain America suit and the red-white-and-blue vibranium shield. 

As soon as he said, “I’m Captain America” after heroically saving someone, I burst into proud tears. Seeing Sam develop from Captain America’s best friend, The Falcon, to the real Captain America was exhilarating. 

The show definitely took its sweet time to get there, maybe even more than necessary, but when we finally got to this moment, it’s clear that there was a purpose behind it. His journey is natural and allows for the analysis of what it means to be a Black man in America. It isn’t forced or rushed. 

But, it is refreshing to see that all the performance-induced serums, internalized racism and technological gadgets can’t surpass the determination of a Black man defending his nation while also holding it accountable.”

Admittedly, in the entertainment industry, Black characters are tokenized as the ”Black best friend.” But, it is refreshing to see that all the performance-induced serums, internalized racism and technological gadgets can’t surpass the determination of a Black man defending his nation while also holding it accountable. 

The final moments with Isaiah Bradley, a Black super soldier who faced extreme torture due to racism, is soul-stirring. With a statue of Isaiah in the Captain America Smithsonian exhibit, it is definitely one of the most satisfying scenes in the series to finally see the recognition. 

I’ll be honest, Marvel did a great job in trying to highlight anti-Black racism, but the themes don’t register as significant as the other plots going on. It also sincerely lacks the development in its villains. 

For example, Karli Morgenthau, leader of the Flag Smashers, could have had an intriguing character arc, but instead is shown as cliché at the end. Her death falls flat. John Walker suffers the same fate; he had one of the best plots in his series, and sidelining him at the end is such a waste. The MCU could have expanded more into the PTSD and trauma he suffered being the new “Captain America”. 

Most of the plot twists like Sharon Carter being the Power Broker also are poorly executed. They seem like last-minute inclusions, and are fairly obvious from the start.  

However, Bucky is able to receive some of the depth the villains lacked. It is a sentimental journey, but throughout the show, he is making amends. And by the end of the series, he’s ready to move on and leave the trauma that had occurred while under mind control. 

I’m notably pleased to see MCU’s progress in incorporating more diverse and meaningful themes throughout the universe. 

If you have yet to see “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” I highly recommend catching up. As expected, Marvel truly did make a masterpiece.