The Falcon and The Winter Soldier sticks the superhero landing… for the most part. Unlike Wandavision which left major elements of the story dangling for future features, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier succeeded at developing and implementing major character development, reveals, and storylines within a self-contained series.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Finale Delivers the Captain America We Need
Sam Wilson is Captain America. That’s it, that’s the review. The Captain America suit reveal was everything that fans have been waiting for — the wings, the tech, the Anthony Mackie. Even in the heat of battle, Sam Wilson proves again and again that he is the right man for the mission.
He calls for backup because he knows there’s power in numbers. He works with the hostages to find someone who can save the day from within when the helicopter goes down. He doesn’t stop to relish in the applause after saving people. He doesn’t take pleasure in the lives lost. He is everything that Steve was and so much more, which is why he is the Captain America that we all need.
The series was all about Sam becoming Captain America and while it did get lost at points in the middle, the pay-off was beautiful.
Another element of Sam’s story that was simply beautiful was his sub-plot with Isaiah Bradley. I loved how the series started with Sam taking the shield to the museum and reminiscing about Steve’s contributions as Captain America and how they bookended that scene with the statue and the exhibit about Isaiah Bradley’s silent sacrifices. As a former museum professional who has seen the impact of Black history finally being recognized in museums, this brought tears to my eyes.
Do I have to talk about John Walker? Will you tell on me if I don’t talk about John Walker? Fine, I’ll talk about John Walker. One, I feel vindicated that he is now the U.S. Agent considering multiple people tried to correct me when I — correctly — stated that he would become U.S. Agent. Two, I absolutely hated that he got to be heroic and fight alongside Sam and Bucky. Now I’m going to have to deal with all of the toxic masculinity bros holding him up as some kind of hero when, uh… the U.S. Agent is so far from that.
Character deaths are weighted on such a strange scale in superhero franchises, so I’m sure the graphic murder of Nico will be forgotten in exchange for him trying to save the senators. I hope Val’s offering therapy along with the new suit.
If you have been following along with my reviews of the series, you probably won’t be surprised to know that I agreed with most of the principles behind the Flag-Smasher’s efforts. In a world where half the population vanished and the world was left to cope, it makes sense that groups of “radicals” would rise up to oppose the government’s actions following the Blip. The series essentially stated and alluded to the fact that the Flag-Smashers supported open borders, healthcare, and all of that not-actually-radical ideology. This was fascinating to a lot of viewers and most of us hoped that they wouldn’t be framed as villains, and yet… That choice was made.
Karli’s death, while unfortunately expected, was an outright shame. The only redemption in her death was the speech that Sam gave about her. While the dialogue was very on the nose, it felt like a rallying cry for our own lives. We have senators who sit in rooms filled with people who look just like them, deciding who is a terrorist and who is a hero, and not really listening to their constituents.
My feelings about the Flag-Smashers are also in sharp contrast with my feelings about a certain man named Helmut Zemo. I mean, the butler did it, so maybe I should just save my Zemo pontification for a separate article that I have planned. To an extent, I guess I understand the dangers of having a bunch of Super Soldier guns for hire out there in the wild. He probably just didn’t want to have a bunch of Super Soldier cellmates. Let’s be real, this is just a tease for whatever they have planned next. (Please say Thunderbolts! Please say Thunderbolts!)
When theories began to swirl about Sharon Carter being the Power Broker I wanted nothing to do with them even though — unlike Wandavision theories — they seemed right on the mark. I know we’ve been told that she was caught up in the Blip, but her success in Madripoor didn’t seem right for someone who just came back into existence six months ago.
For anyone who was around a certain type of MCU fan either on Tumblr or Twitter circa 2016 to 2018, you will likely remember how horrifically Emily VanCamp was treated by fans simply for existing as Sharon Carter. It wasn’t pretty, but it was what made me a Sharon Carter fan for life. So you can imagine that I wasn’t happy to learn that she was “the big bad,” which felt like the writing was giving in to all of the negativity about the character. But now, in the wake of the finale, all I can say is, “Good for her.”
Sharon Carter got forgotten by the Avengers and her so-called friends and she maneuvered her way through the underbelly of Madripoor and ultimately came out on top. What a bossbabe. Now with a pardon and a return to being Agent Carter, I’m ready to sit back and watch Sharon Carter cause some trouble.
Now, I’ve saved Bucky for last in this review because I don’t think that his story is finished just yet. He may have crossed everyone off in his book, revealed his dark secret to Yori Nakajima, and made peace with his past — but he’s still the Winter Soldier.
There are plenty of unsubstantiated rumors about a potential second season, which leaves me thinking that we may see Bucky’s evolution into the White Wolf, since this season was focused on Sam transforming from The Falcon into Captain America. The final few scenes set up a lot of potential threads to explore and, frankly, these stories feel better contained within the confines of a six-episode season, opposed to a major film where character growth would be sacrificed for major VFX battles.
Speaking of final scenes. I could watch an entire series of Sam, Bucky, and Sarah enjoying good southern food, music, and evenings by the water. I was a big fan of Bucky playing with the kids and showing off in front of Sarah. Happy, flirty, at ease Bucky is the best Bucky.
Overall, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier followed through with all of its promises and delivered a straightforward and engaging season. It managed to find a balance between character development and epic battles, while toeing the line of too much and not enough about some of the important topics presented throughout the series.
While I wasn’t happy about some of the choices that the series went with, overall it was better than any Marvel movie I’ve ever watched and almost on par with my beloved Netflix Marvel series.