The second Marvel series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is finally here, after the brilliant story of love, grief and witchcraft in WandaVision. Does this new series measure up with the familiar Marvel style? Here’s what we thought of the first episode entitled ‘New World Order’.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up after the catastrophic events of Avengers: Endgame. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) was among those who disappeared in the blip. When we catch up with him, he’s ironing his trousers (subtle Iron Man reference?). Steve Rogers’ final words passing the Captain America shield on to him now haunt him. He doesn’t feel worthy of taking up Cap’s mantle. Sam struggles with the trauma of having disappeared and returning five years later. The weight of being Cap’s chosen successor and his attempts to balance his career as an Avenger with his family life adds layers of depth to him. He gets a big introductory action scene, but it’s the small moments such as applying for a loan for his family’s struggling business that are truly compelling.
The Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is our other hero. He lives in New York and is tormented by recurring nightmares about his time as a brain-washed Hydra assassin. In a flashback, he’s shown killing several henchmen and one innocent young Asian man. Fast forward to the present day. He spends most of his time making amends for his past and being anti-social. His one friend is an elderly Asian neighbour, Mr. Nakajima. Nakajima is burdened by grief over his son’s murder. Initially, we believed that Bucky could relate to the elderly man since they were around the same age (Bucky having been frozen in ice during World War II just like Cap). However, as it turns out, there’s more to it than them being the same age. The reveal in this subplot hit us like a tonne of bricks.
The first episode of The Falcon and Winter Soldier isn’t just a return to familiar Marvel storytelling. It’s packed with moving storytelling, great action and social commentary on topics such as race and even the current pandemic. Even in a single episode, the show does a great deal to develop characters from the MCU who were largely relegated to the sidelines. We’re excited to see what the rest of season has in store.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar