There’s been plenty of hype surrounding the release of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the new Disney+ series centered around Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier). Personally, I’m still coping with the “WandaVision finale, and it doesn’t help that my TikTok feed keeps breaking my heart with tragic fan edits.
However, my limited attention span is always looking for new content to distract myself with, so I was excited for this new phase in the MCU. After watching the first episode, it’s safe to assume Marvel is returning to the fast-paced action and sarcastic quips we’ve seen since Iron Man.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good action sequence and witty one-liners as much as the next guy, but I loved the intriguing concept and plot development of “WandaVision.” While this new series explores Sam’s family life and Bucky’s traumatic past, it feels formulaic in comparison.
Before anyone attacks me, I understand we’re only one episode in. There’s plenty of time for character development and dramatic twists, and there were interesting plotlines introduced in the first episode.
I enjoyed the focus on political unrest as a consequence of “The Blip,” the instant return of billions of people after getting dusted five years ago. The world is broken, alliances have shifted and people are struggling. Tony Stark’s sacrifice — which still hurts — was admirable, but it was just a bandage on a gunshot.
I’m glad Bucky’s in therapy because he definitely needs it after spending decades as a remote-controlled assassin. He’s a man out of time, stuck in a world that’s dramatically different from the one he grew up in. There’s a lot to unpack here, but we don’t have time for all of it.
Sam is finally getting some character development after being the loyal sidekick for most of his screen time. We meet his sister, her children and learn more about his family history. It’s also important to note are the microaggressions he faces as a Black man in America, like his experience at the bank. Even as a well-known hero, the system still works against him.
This introduction focuses on Sam and Bucky as individuals, and they don’t even interact in this episode. While Bucky tries to find his place in a world he’s never been a part of, Sam tries to insert himself back into a world that had to move on without him five years ago.
There’s plenty of action in the series premiere of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” as it teases the main antagonist, but I’d argue the character development of Sam and Bucky is the most interesting part of the episode. That and the twist ending that made my jaw drop in shock and anger. I’ve tried to avoid major spoilers, so I’ll just say the ending has to be the catalyst that brings Sam and Bucky together.
New episodes of the six-part miniseries are released every Friday on Disney+.