Falcon & Winter Soldier E1 a peculiar mix of introspection and action, setting up promising series

“Like it’s someone else’s.” — Sam Wilson, to Steve Rogers, when asked how the shield feels


The Marvel Studios and Disney+ follow-up to the mega-successful WandaVision tv series continues the feel of having a new MCU movie on your tv very week. The quality of Falcon and Winter Soldier is there in the production values, the writing, the soundtrack, you name it. No expense has been spared.


Sam makes the Big Decision about Cap's shield

The first episode "New World Order" wastes no time answering The Question that’s been burning in every fan’s mind since the old Steve Rogers gave Sam his shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame: would Sam keep it and become the next Captain America, as he did in the comics? His decision is the first of two major surprises, both revolving around the shield. For more, see SPOILERS & THEORIES at the end of this review.

Sam and Bucky do not meet in this first episode, which instead fills us in on what they’ve each been doing since Avengers: Endgame. We see how they are attempting to reassume their lives after being gone (snapped out of existence by Thanos, and returned 5 years later by Tony Stark’s snap), and it’s a bit…boring. While a circumstance like applying for a bank loan when you have no work history from the past five years is certainly a relatable real-life problem, it’s not very interesting, especially for a premiere episode of a new series that is trying to hook viewers. We’ve also already seen Monica Rambeau’s post-Snap readjustment difficulties in WandaVision; do we really need to see every hero’s experiences with this?


We meet Sam's sister, who's been trying to keep the family seafood biz afloat.

And Bucky’s story feels repetitive. We’ve already seen Steve Rogers’ fish-out-of-water woes. We get it; he’s another century-plus year old “man out of time” trying to make sense of the modern world and fit into it. As the pardoned Winter Soldier, he has additional issues readjusting to society; the poor guy still sleeps on the floor, and has to endure regular psychiatric therapy. Watching Bucky in therapy is not something I hope we are forced to watch often. I will admit seeing Bucky get set up on a date by his WWII buddy is pretty fun, though. That is, until his date asks one too many uncomfortable questions and he bolts.


Hopefully this is the last time we have to watch Bucky Therapy.

There are several threats introduced both in scenes and spotted in the credit sequences that will no doubt bring Sam and Bucky together for ongoing missions, and provide us with regular action. One thrilling sequence in this episode featured an aerial battle between Falcon and a terrorist group led by Cap’s old French foe Batroc, last seen battling Cap in The Winter Soldier. Sam even gets to briefly go hand-to-hand with Batroc aboard a plane in midair. However, the sequence also features a canyon chase scene right out of the original Star Wars movie. It’s been homaged SO MANY TIMES since then, it’s become a cliché. To further push the homage, the following scene takes place in Tunisia, where much of the first Star Wars movie was filmed. The effects and battle scenes are movie-quality, and we are introduced to Redwing, a bird-like jet-drone Sam uses. Longtime Marvel fans will recall Redwing was the name of the falcon Sam had a psychic connection with in the comics.


More thrills like this sequence, please!

In all, the first episode was a peculiar mix and a bit all over the place, but an enjoyable watch for any MCU fan. Now that the introductions and expositions have been made, and we know what the characters have been doing since we last saw them, maybe the present can be focused on. More action, less introspection in future episodes, hopefully.

Watch Falcon & Winter Soldier, airing Fridays on Disney+

Scroll down to see THEORIES / SPOILERS

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SPOILERS/THEORIES

Sam decides not to keep Cap’s shield, but instead donates it to the Smithsonian. A decision he will quickly regret.

Final scene shocker reveals the Smithsonian didn't have the shield for long. The government gives the shield to John Walker, known in the comics as U.S.Agent, as the new Captain America. It will be interesting to see if Walker’s story follows its comic book path, where he becomes highly unstable.


The new Cap. Boooo.

James “Rhodey” Rhodes cameo. Sure to be the first of many appearances by other Avengers and familiar faces.



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