Captain America is more than just a person. Captain America is a symbol. Steve Rogers, a beacon of unity and hope as well as the leader of the Avengers for the past 7 years, has been that symbol. However, that has changed. Avengers Endgame brought the conclusion of the story of Steve Rogers and begun a new one. Sam Wilson, trusted with the shield, and the symbol, can start a new legacy. Bring a new chapter in the story of the symbol of Captain America. Enter episode one of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Falcon and Winter Soldier puts on display a new sense of style and authenticity to the MCU. After the cosmic insanity of Endgame and the magical world of WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier brings us back to the ground. Moreover, Sam is able to be more developed than he has ever been before. Seeing from Sam’s perspective his life after the blip and the struggles of his sister and their family was amazing. It’s in these moments that Sam is humanized, and we see qualities we can only expect from Captain America. Sincerity, humbleness, and the perseverance to help those in need.
Watching Sam navigate life having disappeared five years before adds new layers of depth to him. His attempts to balance heroic work and family life is a different angle than what we saw in our previous Captain America. Moreover, while Steve was more about duty and had films only focused on this, Sam shows something more. It’s in moments with something as simple as applying for a loan and working with his sister. The humanity shown in Sam and how close he is to the ground shows how different of a Cap we’re getting.
Sam’s choice regarding the mantle of Captain America in this first episode is an interesting one. The decision Sam makes will serve as exciting development to his character in future episodes. In a sort of mirror to Steve, Sam sees the symbol of Captain America as something he isn’t sure he can live up to. The hesitance towards the responsibility is something the two shared. It’s a touching tribute to Steve and how Falcon and the Winter Soldier addresses Steve’s legacy doesn’t take up too much of the runtime. We’re able to move to Sam and Bucky’s story quickly.
Speaking of Bucky, the Winter Soldier has his own interesting demons to battle. Watching Bucky attempt to make amends is an interesting angle. We see some of the easier ones, with Bucky taking down those he put in power. The harder ones, making amends to families of those he killed, makes for some very powerful moments. Bucky is clearly struggling with himself, and it will be interesting to see how Sam plays into Bucky’s search for redemption. Overall, this first episode sets up some exciting possibilities and has already provided very interesting development for its characters.
From a technical standpoint, the episode is also incredible. The cinematography has a distinct visual flair to it. Stylized camerawork with some great framing leads to beautiful visuals that tell a story of their own. As a result you get one of the more diverse looking projects from the MCU. For instance, the establishing shots of Sam’s hometown has a warm vibrance to it. Giving this larger than life world something more realistic and warm to ground it.
Further, the inclusion of a new enemy with a classic name from Captain America’s rogue gallery provides an interesting new threat. One that could provide good thematic content and discussion in episodes to come. Overall, the first episode of Falcon and Winter Soldier has it all. Great character work, beautiful visuals, and exciting setup that doesn’t feel forced or like it drags on. Moreover, this weeks episode ends on an emotional high note that has Sam questioning what the symbol of Captain America will become now, with a new person carrying it. More specifically, someone that isn’t him. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 10/10
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres new episodes every Friday on Disney+