Review: Marvel’s ‘Falcon and Winter Soldier’ ​​Takes on Racism

A Black Superhero Goes From Sidekick To Center Stage At Marvel’s last essential event“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” a six-part series set to address the realities of racial inequity in a fantasy universe of conflicted avengers and hardened villains.

Captain America’s former sidekick Sam Wilson, aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), is the central focus of Marvel’s second television series on Disney+, which lands on Friday. He is about to join forces with the Captain’s former comrade-in-arms Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in the next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe expansion from film to television series. following the critically acclaimed “WandaVision”, This live-action drama is also set after the catastrophic events of “Avengers: Endgame,” but that’s where the similarities between this story and the Scarlet Witch story end.

The release of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has more in common with traditional Marvel movie storytelling than with the experimental realm of Wanda and Vision. The high-flying drama kicks off with a thrilling action sequence: Falcon is on a rescue mission in the air, where his billion-dollar set of wings and stylish flight suit come in handy during a hijacked military operation somewhere. near the Tunisian border. He tackles enemy planes mid-flight, fights inside plummeting planes, deflects bullets mid-air and outruns missiles, all at dizzying altitudes in a combat scene made for the big screen.

But once he’s safely on the ground, the episode slows down considerably to explore the backstories of its characters, Wilson in particular. Pacing that requires patience is a risky move, especially in Episode 1, and within a franchise that has conditioned its audiences to crave non-stop action. But the methodical buildup works, subtly creating tension on several fronts. It’s hard to tell where this series from creator/showrunner Malcolm Spellman (“Empire”) is headed because Disney+ released only the first episode for review, but there are intriguing hints in that episode that this is a superhero series where even the most Stark fort Handmade materials cannot protect against the ravages of racism.

The aging Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (played by Chris Evans in the movies), passed on his iconic shield to Wilson in 2019’s “Endgame,” and now the airborne hero is reluctant to take on the role. (Without spoiling anything here, it turns out the choice was never his in the first place.) Meanwhile, Wilson is trying to help his sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye), a struggling single mother, revive the family’s fishing business and keep the house her parents inherited. But a visit to the bank shows that even Falcon’s celebrity status won’t undo decades of unfair lending practices woven into the American banking system.

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, in Marvel’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

(Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)

For his part, Barnes, Rogers’ friend turned enemy turned confused collaborator, is waging his own battle against severe post-traumatic stress disorder from his days as a brainwashed assassin for Hydra, an authoritarian paramilitary organization with the ambition to dominate the world. He’s in therapy, and suffice it to say the brooding ex-killer isn’t the most accommodating patient. Also, like Wilson, he is questioning his role in a post-Captain America world.

Their personal dilemmas play out against an emerging global threat that is sure to have these reluctant allies deal with their baggage as they kick the rebel forces. Viewers should be on the lookout to see this unlikely duo fight alongside each other, or even, maybe, each other. There is certainly more to their backstories that will bring the two characters together and challenge your ideas about the other.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has yet to reach its ideal cruising altitude, but it is on a smooth, slow climb that promises to take viewers to exciting new destinations.

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

Where: +

When: Anytime, starting Thursday

Classification: TV-14 (may not be suitable for children under 14)

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