The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV Mini-Series) (2021) Review
Worth a Watch
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier isn’t quite the buddy series I was expecting and I know a lot of viewers were put off after the second episode but for me there was enough action and impressive performances to be worth checking out.
Plot: Following the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities — and their patience.
Review: I know a lot of you can take or leave superhero fare and I feel the same way myself at times, but I do still enjoy the escapism and was particularly interested in seeing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The trailers painted it as a fun buddy show with Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon fighting bad guys while trading insults. There is some of that but the series turned out quite different to what I expected.
I go into some major spoilers ahead so if you haven’t yet finished the series then best look away now. Ok, are they gone? Then let’s continue…
Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie are both incredibly talented actors and they get to show some nice range here especially Sebastian who portrays the tortured Bucky well; he is riddled with guilt after all the atrocities he committed as the Winter Soldier so this series is about him coming to terms with who he was and who he is now. Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson struggles with having given the shield to the government after Steve Rogers gave it to him specifically; he feels he is unworthy to replace him so this his journey from being The Falcon to becoming Captain America. The series is all about legacy which is a core theme explored regularly and both actors play their respective roles to perfection.
You get the feeling that most of the budget was spent on the spectacular opening episode which features The Falcon flying through the skies battling helicopters (and Georges St-Pierre as Batroc who we first saw in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) which set the bar rather high. The rest of the series never quite lives up to those lofty heights, but it certainly has its moments. Episode 3 is written by Derek Kolstad which is why it feels like John Wick with its gunplay and gritty action.
Obviously, there is CG in the show but it’s a superhero tale so that’s to be expected and the visuals for the most part look cinematic and convincing. My favourite scene of the entire series is a rather epic training montage featuring Anthony Mackie as he prepares to embrace his destiny.
The acting is mostly faultless but I think we can all agree that this series was stolen by Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo; throughout we are questioning if he is truly good or bad but more importantly his dance scene at the nightclub quickly went viral and is one of the show’s highlights.
I can’t believe some idiots have actually been sending death threats to Wyatt Russell (son of Kurt Russell!) for playing the new Captain America, John Walker. I mean, can they not tell the difference between fiction and reality? Grow up!
Russell is fantastic as Walker who so desperately wants to live up to the memory of Steve Rogers but eventually the weight becomes too much for him to bear. He ends up taking some of the super soldier serum and after his friend and partner Battlestar (Clé Bennett) is killed he murders someone in cold blood with his shield in easily the darkest moment of the entire MCU.
A lot of viewers were allegedly put off once politics were brought into it because this meant to be an escape from reality but I believe it was in the comics and I thought it was a bold decision; the character of Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) is a nice addition; I teared up a little during his final scene I don’t mind saying.
What I truly hated about this show was the main villain Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) who was poorly developed; Sam seems to want to show mercy towards her when she doesn’t deserve it in any way. Karli was clearly psychotic and I never even bought her motivation as a character; why should we feel any empathy towards her or her cause whatsoever? Thanos I was 100% behind but Karli is my least favourite character in the MCU.
The series also gets a little too talky at times and you feel like a lot of it was stretched out to fit into 6 episodes but I believe this was because the Flag Smashers (who Karli is the leader of) were initially going to be involved with some kind of biological weapon or something but the storyline was cut due to current world events.
The music is suitably swelling and heroic when it needs to be especially when Sam makes his appearance in his frankly awesome new costume in the final episode.
As someone who isn’t much of a comic reader I have started following a channel on YouTube called The Canadian Lad who watches TV episodes and movies in 0.25x speed and points out various details and Easter Eggs I would normally miss so he has given me more of an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into the MCU.
Overall, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has some impressive action scenes with a sense of scale rarely seen on television; it may get a bit talky in parts and Karli is an awful villain but the performances and set-pieces are what kept me watching so I’m intrigued to see with what they do for the recently announced Captain America 4 movie.