Legacy. It’s weight is a burden but it’s also a challenge. To honor the past and find a way to excel beyond it. That is the general premise of Marvel Studios second Disney Plus streaming series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a miniseries created by Malcolm Spellman for the streaming service Disney+, based on the Marvel Comicscharacters Sam Wilson / Falcon and Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. The events of the series take place after the film Avengers: Endgame (2019). The series was produced by Marvel Studios, with Spellman serving as head writer and Kari Skoglanddirecting.
Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie reprise their respective roles as Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson from the film series. Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St-Pierre, Adepero Oduye, Don Cheadle, Daniel Brühl, Emily VanCamp, Florence Kasumba, and Julia Louis-Dreyfusalso star.
The series picks up 6 months after being handed the mantle of Captain America at the end of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Sam Wilson teams up with Bucky Barnes in a worldwide adventure that tests their abilities and their patience. When a new super soldier terrorist cell called the Flagsmashers rise up the US government declares a new Captain America is needed, John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell. Russell plays a good “I can’t stand this guy” kind of character that you grow to hate more or less. Falcon’s decision to give up the shield doesn’t sit well with Bucky and the two have to decide what kind of Captain America the country needs.
The blip which was caused when Thanos erased half of existence in the Avenger films has real impacts on the world in this series. It was somewhat touched on in Spider-Man Far From Home but mostly only for laughs. This world is anything but comedic. The worlds governments are creating refugee camps for displaced people brought back from the Blip and aid is spread thin. In the chaos is opportunity, and the Flagsmashers rise up under the guise of freedom fighters.
Enter the return of Baron Zemo played to perfection this time around by actor Daniel Bruhl. When Bucky and Falcon have to turn to him for help it creates a fun dynamic that not only fleshes out the characters of Bucky and Falcon but also allows viewers to get to know more about the complexities of Zemo. The addition of the Wakandans in the series (remember in Captain America Civil War, Zemo killed the King of Wakanda) was a nice touch and continues to show just how big the MCU is with its vast amount of amazing characters.
Now about the finale. Seeing Falcon’s Captain America suit in live action is breath taking. It’s like it flew right off the comic book page and is awe inspiring. The Flagsmashers overall story kind of ends on a whimper, but honestly the real fight in this story was the fight for the mantle of the shield. It’s amazing to see just how far Mackie has taken his Falcon character from Captain America: Winter Soldier to now in his own series where he is wielding the shield. Not just as a black man in a star spangled suit but as a symbol of hope and determination. Something that both Steve Rogers and Bucky both knew he could be.
The series is so well written without getting overly political or preachy but is able to touch on polarizing subjects like nationalism, racism, and true patriotism. Cap’s speech at the end of the series to the senators is powerful and despite being overly and maybe simplistically optimistic it helps light a fire under both the characters on the screen and those like me viewing at home to do better and be better.
The Captain America franchise has easily been the crown jewel of the MCU. This extension of it shows it can continue even if Steve Rogers is no longer in it. The Captain America Legacy lives on in all of us. And maybe that was the whole point of the series. Strongly recommended!
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