The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 1 Review
It’s been two weeks since the end of WandaVision. The show that took the world by storm and ushered us into Phase 4 of the MCU. In this post-Endgame MCU, everyone’s trying to find their way in a world without the Avengers, no Iron Man, and Steve Rogers an old man. A world where 3.5 billion came back after five years of being dead and loved ones died or moved on. And amidst the great action of the opening to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, its clear that finding a new normal’s easier said than done.
Falcon Struggles to Fly
When we last saw Sam Wilson, he was with the now-elderly Steve Rogers. Steve got his happy ending, returning to the past and living his life with Peggy like he deserved. However, he made sure to pass on his mantle to Sam, who has all the right qualities. He’s selfless, he’s skilled, charismatic, and he’s got those sweet wings! Plus, he was Captain America for a while in the comics, so it makes sense.
So what does the Falcon do? He…donates Cap’s shield to the Smithsonian.
Following a very epic opening sequence in which the Falcon takes down a terrorist cell in the skies of Tunisia, he hands Cap’s shield over to the Smithsonian, saying it belongs to Steve Rogers, not him. And we can understand why. He feels like he’s not worthy of becoming the next Captain America, the man who helped save the universe. However, I think many would disagree. Sam Wilson has proven himself more than worthy of being Steve’s successor. But from his perspective, he may not feel worthy. He’s still struggling to find his place in this post-Blip world, trying to help his sister keep the family business afloat. And as it turns out, being a superhero doesn’t qualify for a bank to give you a loan. Which is utter garbage; Sam helped save the universe, I think that deserves a loan from a bank!
So, yeah, the Falcon is trying to fly in this new world, but is being grounded by his insecurities and the problems of life.
Winter Soldier Has PTSD
At first glance, it looks like Bucky Barnes is doing better. The government pardoned him for his time as a brainwashed HYDRA assassin and for the crimes Zemo framed him for. He’s doing his best to make amends for what he did as the Winter Soldier. The only condition is that he has to undergo therapy to help him with his mental state. It seems like life’s good for him.
It isn’t. Despite knowing that he wasn’t in control of himself when he did it, Bucky is still haunted by his life as HYDRA’s fist. His first appearance onscreen shows performing an assassination mission, and then killing a random civilian who had the misfortune of seeing him. And yet, he lies to his therapist and says that he doesn’t have nightmares and just wants a normal life again. Before he joined the army in World War II.
It’s heartbreaking to see Bucky still suffering even after everything that he’s been through. He went to war almost eighty years ago, and even though its long over, he never came back. And even though he wants it, he pushes away the people who want to help him. It’s both frustrating and sad to see take place.
But you know what really made me sad? This old man that Bucky was friends with, Mr. Nakajima? Bucky learns that it was his son that he killed in that flashback to years ago, and you can just feel how guilty he is. It looks like he wants to admit it, but is terrified Mr. Nakajima will hate him for it. Please, Universe, give Bucky a hug. He deserves it.
Meet the New
Captain America US Agent
So, remember how Sam Wilson said no one could step into the shoes of Captain America? It turns out, the US Government doesn’t see it like that. And with a bunch of anarchists called the Flag-Smashers running around, they want a new symbol to rally behind. So, they get someone new to become Captain America.
I swore, I could feel my eye twitching as I saw that happen in the last moments of the episode. The rational part of my brain admits that the US Government has the right to appoint a new Captain America. They gave Steve Rogers the title and the shield, so they should have the right to appoint someone knew. However, the emotional part of me reacted the same way Sam did: with disgust. Disgust at the fact that they’re disregarding Steve’s wishes. Their failure to recognize that Captain America needs to stand not for the American Government, but for the best ideals America represents. And the fact that it’s not Steve, Sam, or Bucky wielding the shield.
If you’re wondering who the new guy is, he’s John Walker. In the comics, he goes by US Agent, and before that, he once served as Captain America. However, John was not the most stable of people as Cap, and he ultimately gave up that role. If the MCU version’s anything like he is in the comics, then he’s going to be a soldier who obeys the whims of the government itself. And the government doesn’t always make the best decisions.
We’re only on the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the show’s already off to a great start. After dealing with the dramedy of WandaVision for months, it’s nice to return to the action and suspense that made the MCU the hit franchise it is today. While the show only has six episodes in total, the pilot tells me that it’s going to be packed with plenty of action, along with the small, personal moments that will help humanize the characters. And after what we’ve seen in WandaVision and Spider-Man: Homecoming, I want to know what the world is like post-Endgame.
I Give “New World Order” a 4/5
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