‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’: In The Grounded Mold Of The Marvel Superhero As The Legacy Of Captain America Endures

The falcon and the winter soldier
The falcon and the winter soldier

‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, a grounded miniseries abides by the legacy of Captain America. The Marvel Cinematic Universe and Disney series is meant to kick start the Marvel universe on Disney Plus. The premiere as expected is action-packed and strait-laced.

The series doesn’t claim to break new grounds for the genre of the superhero on the small screen. This series like ‘The Boys’ from the Amazon stable and HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ both have used/the costumed superhero to delve into the American scourge of colonialism and racism and how that inheritance affects our standing in the world. But if the opening episode is anything to go by, ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier should end up less thoughtful and serious than its predecessors.

Here we have Sam & Bucky, Captain America’s closest buddies, taking us on a journey of adventure and espionage.

Falcon or Sam Wilson, the Air Force veteran, is chosen to pick up Captain America’s iconic shield as his chosen successor by the elderly Steve Rogers. Sam seems a bit unsure of donning the legacy of one of America’s most enduring superheroes. 

The Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes, graduated from being Steve’s subordinate during the Second World War to decades as the conditioned assassin for the shifty terrorist faction Hydra. He has since been cleansed of the evil in him and brought back into the fold of the superheroes. But it isn’t easy leaving behind the past.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier starts from the backwash of Avengers: Endgame as billions return to the planet after 5 years. And here come the spoilers.

‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Give Back Our New Captain America

An official at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum commends Sam for his decision in giving up the shield of Captain America. Falcon had never intended for anyone to step into Steve’s shoes when he had passed the shied to the Captain American Exhibit. There is something quite unpleasant in passing on the shield to a white man after a deserving black man has given it up.

The government chose a white man, John Walker, as they felt that America wasn’t equipped for a colored Captain America. Perhaps the Gods in the Marvel Cinematic Universe feel the same. Walker has been seen both as an ally and an antagonist to the Captain. He has been a turbulent and frenetic Super-Patriot but also a more grounded US Agent. It is in him, to blindly serve Uncle Sam, where he can be guilty of being a lackey of dubious politicians.

Is Steve Rogers No More in ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier?

Sam uses the word ‘gone’ to refer to Steve and it appears that the latter could be dead at this moment. He would have already been 100 at the finale of Endgame. Perhaps the super-soldier powers equipped him with super longevity and he may well be in the best of health.

Joaquin Torres, Sam’s new friend does refer to Steve being in a base hidden on the moon. Hope he isn’t in Attilan, the destroyed Inhuman city. No, nobody wants to speak about that show and the Inhumans never seemed to know what it wanted to be. The Marvel bosses aren’t sure if they should bring Steve back, it seems; perhaps paving the groundwork for an alternative reality theory.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

Retaining The Feel Of The Captain in ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier opens in the Tunisian sky and mirrors the opening sequence of Captain American: The Winter Soldier, from 2014. From the confident dive from the plane by Sam to Georges Batroc’s presence, it is a way of telling us that Sam is capable of taking Steve’s place. His reservations are misplaced. The bold and defiant Charlie, the top Algerian assassin and skilled military tactician was formerly in the French Foreign Legion. He saves himself by jumping off the helicopter moments before a missile blew it apart. He lives up to the name, Batroc the Leaper in the movie.

We are focused on the Falcon and are spared the sight of collateral damage on foreign soil. The spectacle gives credence to the belief that America doesn’t care for people who live in the rest of the world.

The Flag Smashers, the main villainous group is yet to make a full-blown appearance in ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier as we catch only occasional glances of them in the opening episode. This anarchist group wants the world as it was without borders during the Blip.

They get their followers together online and attempt to succeed in a heist with everybody wearing the same mask. And the leader appears to have superhuman reflexes and strength. The Flag-Bearers is not a group, rather an individual in the original comics. The object is to spread anti-nationalist ways of thinking, by resorting to terrorism. Karl Morgenthau, the original Flag-Smasher resented Captain America, for he represented America and all that it stood for.

The Winter Soldier

Bucky atones for having walked the dark side as Winter Soldier in ‘Falcon And The Winter Soldier. That included accounting for a corrupt senator put in there by Hydra. He excelled in that role, though. He reveals to his therapist that he was deprogrammed in Wakanda flanked by Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Bucky was ‘White Wolf’ there and that seems cool as ‘Winter Soldier.’

But the biggest surprise in this episode of ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is the revelation that he has made friends with the father of his victims. He has fun with him but is guilt-ridden and too torn apart to enjoy his moment of fun.

He has even found a date here and it appears that the affair is in for a long run before his past as a manipulated and controlled murder soldier is revealed.

A Few Fun-Facts about ‘Falcon And The Winter Soldiers’ And Some Questionable Scenes

The final exchange between the old Captain and Sam in Avengers: Endgame has been used as the audio at the start. The series starts six months after Endgame. So it is somewhere between ‘WandaVision’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home.’

The baddies in ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier seemed poorly decked compared to the awesome winds that Sam dons. Some scenes are a letdown, like the one at the bank. Nick Fury doesn’t seem to be involved here as he is in space. But we never know.

Finally, a storyline that talks about a black man taking over the enormous responsibility of Captain America is about shared responsibilities. It asserts the role and importance of black people in building America. There is a reference to the racism inherent in American society when Saran, Sam’s sister refers to the racism she faced in getting a loan.

Sam isn’t deluded by racist rants when he takes up the mantle and the Marvel. And finally ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’ is nothing more than an action-adventure series with death-defying stunts and smart quips. It is meant to be light-hearted as superheroes bash up the baddies. Let ‘The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’ not pretend that it says something about the American reality.