****THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER****
I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy! The number of vaccinated people continues to rise both in the US and across the world, but there are still new variants of this disease popping up. So make sure you continue to wear your mask, distance from others, and when it’s your time, get the vaccine. I recently got my second dose of vaccine. I was expecting to be really sick after the second vaccine since people seem to react to it, but I was really lucky. I was a little sore in a similar way to the first dose, but no sickness. So if you are going to get your second shot and are worried about it, don’t be. Just get your vaccine!
Now that we’ve talked about health things, let’s quickly move on to the stuff I’ve published in the past week. Last Sunday, I published a Weekly Blog talking about “Ok Orchestra by AJR.” AJR has been one of my favorite bands in the past year and I was really excited for their newest album. When it came out I listened to it a lot and I wanted to share my feelings about the album with all of you. Then on Wednesday, I published a Poem titled “Connected.” Everyone is connected together in a large web of actions all affecting one another. Life is the universal experience and there are a lot of connections that come from that. That’s what this opinion is all about. Finally, on Friday, I published the most recent chapter of my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series, “Royal Entourage Part 2.” After leaving the Soulon Embassy, the group decides to head out of the city to the Soulon Army Camp to meet up with Captain Springbloom. However an explosion of cold magic at the city’s gate makes our team jump into action. It’s a devastating attack wrapped in mystery which leaves some of the adventures wondering where everyone’s alliances lie. That’s all the pieces I published in the past week, so go ahead and check out those pieces if you haven’t read them or you missed them. Also really quick before moving on to this week’s Weekly Blog topic, I want to make a quick announcement. I am going to take a mini-summer break for the next two weeks. I’m starting a new job in a couple days and it’s going to take up lots of time as I learn how to do the job. Also I am definitely feeling like I need a break from writing so I can recharge creatively. So for both of those reasons I won’t be publishing for the next to weeks. I will be back with a new Weekly Blog on May 16th.
Ok everyone take a deep breath. That was a lot but now I’m ready to move on to this week’s Weekly Blog topic: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The newest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been released on Disney Plus and just like WandaVision, I want to talk about the show and all the stuff I like and dislike. First, I’ll start with a little bit of history. I won’t go into too bad because I talked about my relationship with Marvel in the WandaVision Weekly Blog, but I will quickly say that I’m a big MCU fan and I was really excited about these Disney Plus shows and how they’d fill out the MCU moving forward into Phase 4. I’m also a huge fan of Captain America with both Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War being top 5 Marvel Movies for me. So basically I was very excited to watch Falcon and Winter Soldier especially after the events of Avengers: Endgame and the passing of the Vibranium Shield from Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson AKA Falcon. So how did Falcon and Winter Soldier hold up? Was it good? Was it bad? Did it live up those high-in-the-sky MCU expectations? Well, let’s talk about that.
Overall I think that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a pretty good show. I think it shines in the same way that WandaVision shines and falters in similar ways that WandaVision faltered. Obviously I don’t want to spend all my time comparing the two shows but since they are the only two MCU Disney Plus shows, there will obviously be some comparisons between them. So what’s the good stuff that Falcon and Winter Soldier brings? Well it’s right there in the title. This show has some really strong characters and Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan) shine the brightest. It’s amazing seeing these two characters play off each other and I think they both bring strong performances to the show. The whole dynamic is obviously centered around them and they step up in a big way. This show really helps boost some of the other heroes and sets up to take on leading the Avengers in future movies. Everything around Sam Wilson and the history of super soldiers was really interesting and I loved the inclusion of Isaiah Bradley’s story. The idea of a Black Super Soldier (played by Carl Lumbly) who basically did the same things that Steve Rogers did, but was ruined for it, is very interesting and it parallels the real life treatment of Black Soldiers both on the warfront and at home. That’s one thing I really want to praise this show, Marvel, and Disney for. They handled all the race stuff brilliantly. Now I’m a white guy and there are plenty of POC creators who can express this better than I can, but I will say that I’m glad that this show did not shy away from real world issues like race. The show asks if the MCU world and the real world is ready for a Black Captain America. Or if a Black Man would even want to be Captain America. I love the way they talk about the shield as a symbol and how it represents different things to different people. Is it a symbol of hope and freedom or oppression and war? People like Isaiah Bradly have an idea what the shield means and so does Bucky. But in the end it’s Sam that has to decide whether or not he wants to take up the mantle of Captain America and determine if he wants to carry the shield.
Another thing that I really liked about the show were the supporting characters. Baron Zemo (played by Daniel Brühl) and John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell) are both really good characters that add a lot to the show. We first saw Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War when he’s running around, killing King T’Chaka and blaming it on The Winter Soldier. He tries his best to tear down the Avengers while killing the super soldiers. In the end he is stopped, but he continues his goal of killing super soldiers in this show. He believes that the super soldier serum that created both Captain America and The Winter Soldier is inherently bad and that people being super always leads to oppression. In Falcon and Winter Soldier he is broken out of jail by Bucky because he believes that Zemo might have information about The Flag Smashers (a group we’ll talk about in a bit). This allows Zemo to play off of Sam and Bucky nicely and they even have some comedic moments together. I think this show did a great job of showing how he’s a threat and a man with a mission while adding some more depth to the character overall. Now that he’s on the raft, I’m sure that it won’t be the last time we see Baron Zemo. On the other hand, John Walker is a new character we get introduced to in this show. He becomes the newest Captain America early in the show when Sam Wilson hands the shield over to the US Government. Right away we are presented with a complicated history for John Walker. He has a very punchable face and the show does a good job of making us not like the guy because he’s not our Captain America. But the show also goes out of its way to show that Walker is a soldier who tries to fight with honor but has done some questionable stuff along the way. He’s under a ton of pressure as the new Captain America who isn’t a super soldier or an Avenger. HIs darkest moment comes when his closest friend gets killed by the Flag Smashers and he gets his revenge by killing one with the shield in a very violent act. Because of this he loses his status as Captain America and by the end he is set up as US Agent. Overall I think it was a great performance that really strateled the line between hero and villain in this series. I think the last episode kind of left John Walker in an awkward place morally, but I do hope we see US Agent come back in either another Disney Plus show or MCU Movie. Lastly I really just want to add a few more good things that I liked about the show. The character growth, the small character moments like when Bucky and Sam fixed up the boat, the action scenes, and the new Captain America outfit are all really good parts as well.
Now that I’ve talked about some of the good parts of the show, let me talk about what I thought was bad or just disappointing. Just like with WandaVision (I know, I’ll stop making the comparisons soon) there was a lot of hype surrounding this show and whether or not it would lead to bigger things within the MCU. I think we are learning a second time that these MCU shows really spend their time focusing on the main characters and don’t really act as springboards for the greater MCU. WandaVision was supposed to have Mephisto, Mutants, and Reed Richards, and Falcon and Winter Soldier was supposed to set up Young Avengers and The Thunderbolts. Now this show does do a good job of setting up its own important characters while teasing things for the future, but I did feel like some kind of bombshell was missing. Sharon Carter (played by Emily Vancamp) as the Power Broker is fine, but without another show taking that up and running with it, it doesn’t really do anything for me. I don’t think it’s fair to judge this show for not living up to the hype because of fan theories or speculation, but I do think that a show like this did have the potential to set up some really cool things but didn’t do it. Again, this might seem unfair, but it’s not the only thing that the show doesn’t handle that great.
The main issue with the show, I think, is the antagonist group called The Flag Smashers. Now The Flag Smashers are a group of super soldiers who liked the world during the “Blip” when 50% of all life on Earth was snapped out of existence. Now that people are back, the world is all out of order and The Flag Smashers were displaced. They want to stop this new government agency called the Global Repatriation Council which tries to resettle refugees and return things to normal. Now the actual plan of The Flag Smashers is muddled at best. They just hate the Global Repatriation Council and believe things were better before the people were snapped back. The Flag Smashers are the bad guys of the show but their storyline is extremely weak and doesn’t really make much sense. Like their motivations make a little sense and they try their best to ground it in reality, but it’s easily the weakest part of the show. Now it’s been reported that there was originally a pandemic plotline connected to The Flag Smashers, but obviously because of the world, they dropped that plotline and had to rewrite it. I don’t know if the original storyline would have been better, but the rewritten plot just doesn’t work that well.
Also I think the last episode is definitely one with a lot of highs and lows. Obviously seeing Sam Wilson become Captain America in the final episode is amazing, but the episode as a whole doesn’t really stick the landing. Overall I think this is a really good show and it has high-highs and low-lows. I think a better villain and better use of some minor characters really would have propelled this show from good to great, but we didn’t get that. Instead we got a good show about Falcon and Winter Soldier dealing with a post-Steve world as they become Captain America and the Winter Soldier.
Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I really hoped you enjoyed reading my thoughts about the newest MCU Disney Plus Television Show. If you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a Like. Likes help me know what stuff everyone enjoys reading and what I should focus on going forward. Comments also help me with that. Speaking of which, I’d love it if you left a comment down below. Did you like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Do you agree with my assessment of the show? Let me know in the comments down below. If you really liked this Weekly Blog or the stuff I write, you can Follow me here on WordPress. I’m trying to build a positive and creative space on the internet and so far we have over 700 Followers who have joined the space. I’d really love it if you joined that community and helped me reach more and more people. I am so grateful for all the love and support I get from my readers and lurkers, and I would be ecstatic if after reading this Weekly Blog, you decided to become a long-time reader. Also one final reminder, I am taking the next two weeks off from writing and publishing anything due to starting a new job. Feel free to take that time going back and reading pieces you might have missed. See you on May 16th.
Thank you again for your love and support and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Header Photo Credit to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s IMDb page.