This is a review for Episode Three of The Falcon and the Winter Solider. For last week’s review, click here.
Following an exciting tease for the return of a now iconic MCU villain, Falcon and Winter Soldier returns this week at the halfway mark of the series. Our characters are in the positions they need to be. Nearly everything is set up for the second half of this show to be compelling and exciting. In its third episode, the show continues to diplay it’s ears-to-the-ground mentality.
The Marvel Universe hasn’t felt this lived in or real than it does with this show. From the opening to the smaller details throughout the episode, Falcon and Winter Soldier has elements that give you an understanding of what this world is going through. In between these moments of world building we get some great character development. In this episode’s case, it is Baron Zemo who gets a turn to shine.
Coming straight out of Civil War, Zemo turns with a new different bravado about him. Gone is the tragic and quiet man on a mission. The Russos’ characterization for this iconic Captain America villain was great for the story it was in; for Falcon and Winter Soldier, we get an almost entirely different one. While not much background was given on his character other than the loss of family and destruction of Sokovia, this new take on Zemo almost feels like a retcon. This Zemo seems to carry himself differently, has changing ideals, and even a certain charm to him. It works in the context of the show, but overall this is a decision I am remain uncertain about until there is further development.
Speaking of returning characters, Sharon Carter also makes an appearance this episode. Her return is a bit messier than Zemo’s, and shows some story flaws following Infinity War and Endgame. Steve Rogers left a lot of his own threads not fixed before leaving the superhero stage. It’s show more clear than ever in this episode. These story inconsistencies of previous films are handled with some grace. Still, the weight of 20 plus movies is starting to be felt with the growing universe. However, the reintroduction of these Captain America characters is still a pleasure for fans of the comics like myself.
The bigger story is beginning to become clearer as the re-introduction of the super soldier serum causes big problems for Sam and Bucky. The Power Broker’s intentions for it become clear, with Karli Moreganthau’s Flag Smasher as a sympathetic character who bites off more than they could chew. The dynamic of Sam, Bucky, and Zemo working with Sharon in the newly introduced Mardipoor locale is the highlight of the episode. A new and shady corner of the MCU is brought to wonderful life by production and set designers. The cinematography gives Maridpoor a shady yet vibrant feel. Most of the action takes place here, with Sharon and Zemo given the spotlight.
The choreography is top notch, and to see different characters that aren’t Avengers given the chance to shine with their own type of fighting and skills. Falcon and Winter Soldier continues to show impressive choreography akin to The Winter Soldier.
Falcon and The Winter Soldier teases Sam’s struggle with the mantle of Captain America, though I feel that it isn’t nearly enough as it should be. Sam musing on the legacy of the shield and his conflicts that he has with himself are fascinating. However, it isn’t done nearly enough as it should be in the past three episodes. hopefully the second half of this series will delve more into Sams mindset and eventual acceptance of the shield. Bucky gets some more subtle development in having to revisit his identity as the Winter Soldier. This time around, using his infamous reputation to his advantage. Henry Jackman’s revisiting of the terrifying theme with an intesne showcase of Bucky’s skills was incredible. The way Zemo uses this to their advantage is a highlight of the episode.
Overall, this third episode was fantastic, though it’s beginning to show some problems. There are a few struggles with characterizations of returning characters. Moreover, there is trouble sympathizing with the Flag Smashers. Still, this third episode still manages to be entertaining. There is plenty of world building and exploration of the mythos of Captain America. It’s a solid entry in this series and it will be interesitng to see if Falcon and the Winter Soldier can keep this level of quality. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 8/10
New The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episodes premiere every Friday on Disney+