Falcon and the Winter Soldier S1E1 review: A Hot Start
Marvel sets us up brilliantly for this superhero duo
Warning: Spoiler alert. I repeat, spoiler alert.
Barely two weeks after Wandavision, I found myself getting ready for Marvel’s second series after Endgame. But, unlike Wandavision, I didn’t find myself as excited. Maybe it was because I didn’t grow up with Bucky and Falcon as much as I did with Wanda and Vision. Maybe it was because I enjoyed the idea of magic and because Wanda is known to be one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe. The lack of excitement tempered my expectations, but don’t get me wrong, I am still a HUGE Marvel fan. I just wasn’t as hyped for Falcon and the Winter Soldier as I wanted to be.
Then I remembered how awesome Captain America: Winter Soldier was, and how it was arguably one of the best in the Marvel cinematic universe. “Trust in the Marvel gods,” my brain said (not verbatim, but you get the idea).
It was a damn good thing I did, too, because Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s season opener delivered a truck load of awesome.
RELATED: A Look Back At Wandavision Season 1
TV show or movie, Marvel does it the Marvel way
The opening action sequence, I have to say, was quite impressive. No ifs, buts, misdirection and time jumping here; we had ourselves a solid action sequence that could’ve come from any MCU movie. To top it off, in the spirit of continuity, we saw a returning villain played by MMA legend George St. Pierre, whom sharp-eyed fans will recognize from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While not as significant, it still stands as a testament to Marvel’s attention to detail.
No matter the medium, one thing Marvel seems to do really well is maintain their standards, as well their production value. This should come as no surprise coming from Wandavision and, while the first episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier starts a little more like a traditional superhero flick, if episode one is any indicator, we can rest easy knowing that the guys at Marvel (seemingly) know how to put on a show.
Yes to loads of backstory
The episode does slow down to give time for character development. We see separate backstories told for Sebastian Stan’s and Anthony Mackie’s characters, which is well appreciated as it’s needed in order for them to carry the show forward. It also puts further emphasis on the common Marvel theme which paints their heroes as very human—something the two characters will need given that previous MCU movies focused on a different set of central characters.
Anthony Mackie portrays his struggle clearly as he relinquishes the shield, feeling that he can’t step into the shoes of Captain America. This feeling doubles down when we see him visibly disagree with the government’s decision to create their own Captain America at the end of the episode—possibly because this version will be an extension of their government, as opposed to the more independently-minded Steve Rogers. So much said with so little makes me look forward to more of the Falcon in the episodes to come (mind you, I haven’t even touched on the sequence with his sister, which is equally humanizing).
The same can be said of Sebastian Stan’s story as we delve deeper into his history as the Winter Soldier, how he is trying to atone for his past (befriending the father of one of his victims? Yowza!) and his integration into modern day society. While the session with a therapist was a way for us to see Bucky’s past is a bit expected, it isn’t unwelcome as Bucky himself comes with a very traumatic history. His date in the episode is a welcome surprise, which, again, helps in portraying him as a somewhat clueless person from the past trying to fit into the 21st century.
A great start for both heroes as the season opener unpacks both their backstories and their ways forward. Falcon and the Winter Soldier employs a more traditional Marvel approach than Wandavision did, which, instead of leaving us with our heads scratching in the first episode, digs right into the meat of things. The show starts very strong and leads viewers right into the hearts and minds of the characters, bracing us for what’s to come. Bravo.
Words Yosu De Erquiaga
Art Alexandra Lara