Newest Marvel masterpiece worth the watch

Elise Fjelstad, Copy Editor

After my very positive experience watching “WandaVision,” I was excited for more MCU superhero action in the six episode series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Once again named for its two titular characters, the show follows Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they deal with both personal challenges and the worldly aftermath of the Blip. My overall reaction was good; there were many parts where the show absolutely excelled, but a few where it fell short.


The show sets up several conflicts, the first being set up in “Avengers: Endgame” when an elderly Steve Rogers passes the Captain America shield on to Sam to carry on the legacy. In the first several episodes we see him struggle to explain to Bucky why he gave away the shield to be displayed in the Smithsonian exhibit. It’s quickly clear that he is grappling with the complexity of being a Black man and bearing a symbol of a country whose history towards Black Americans has been anything but decent.

Bucky, after being used as a super soldier weapon by Hydra for 40 years and recovering with help from the Wakandans, is trying to adjust to life as a civilian. He also is attempting to make amends for people he harmed as the Winter Soldier, with the help of his court-mandated therapist.

All the while, a radical group called the Flag Smashers is growing in its efforts to… well, that’s a little unclear. The main villains in this story have a frustratingly ambiguous motive. The gist is that they feel things were better—that the world was more united—during the five-year period of the Blip.

There is a lot of talk by the leader, Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) about how a lot of people who stayed during the Blip were very wronged by the government when dealing with the chaos of people coming back. However, it was never explicitly stated what that wrongdoing was, or what exactly pushed Karli to the point of such violence. Karli’s death felt meaningless and underwhelming, as if the writers felt like it was just the logical step to kill her off.

It was stated that there was a subplot of the show that included a ravaging disease, but it was cut for sharing too many similarities with the current COVID crisis. So, it’s understandable that certain aspects wouldn’t make sense. Still, my main complaint is that there could have been more world-building and characterization of Karli.

By far the best part of the show is the chemistry between Mackie and Stan. Every interaction between Sam and Bucky felt natural and organic, whether it be semi-serious bantering or a much-needed heart-to-heart. Their conversations were also the source of the many genuine laughs I had while watching.

John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as an anti-hero added a lot of layers to the show as well. I liked his contrast of character to both Steve and Sam, and his embodiment of America as it stands. The re-introduction of Zemo (David Bruhl) added both entertainment and important commentary on the themes and political undertones explored in the show.

The only other disappointment was the “twist” of Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) being revealed to be the Power Broker, the mysterious and ultra-powerful crime-boss of Madripoor. All the build-up was there; it really wasn’t a shock. Instead, I would have liked to have seen a reveal with her motives, because it all seems out of the blue for her.

Second to the acting, the other best part was Isaiah Bradley’s (Carl Lumbly) storyline. His life and experiences were necessary for audiences to hear, and the scenes between him and Sam were so raw and powerful.

Despite the show’s shortcomings, there were very important themes and current issues that were explored, and Sam finally taking on the role of Captain America at the end was one of the most impactful moments in the franchise. Bucky and Sam both resolved their inner conflicts and we got to see some real character development that had been lacking in previous MCU films, and the ending left me with warm fuzzies. I highly recommend “Captain America and the Winter Soldier” for everyone, even if you’re not a Marvel-obsessed geek like me.