Warning: Spoilers!

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios and Disney+

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios and Disney+

After the wild success of Disney+ and Marvel’s first show WandaVision, people wondered if their next show would hit the mark and create online chaos once again; which of course, it did.

The synopsis

Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) are both having a hard time adjusting after the blip; the event which caused 50% of life in all universes to disappear.

After being gone for five years, the duo returned, and have been trying to get to grips with life for the past few months. The first episode showed Sam and Bucky separately, as they dealt with their own issues and personal turmoil.

Sam’s sister had a hard time without him, and Bucky takes it upon himself to make amends to those he hurt as The Winter Soldier, in hopes he would sleep better at night.

However, once Sam made the choice to donate Captain America’s (Chris Evans) shield to the Steve Rogers exhibit, things begin to unravel.

A new Captain America is appointed by the government; John Walker (Wyatt Russell) takes up Steve’s shield, much to the shock and horror of both Bucky and Sam (and us, too).

Once the distraught pair come into contact with a group called The Flag Smashers, people who preferred life during the blip and want life to return to that state, they meet Karli (Erin Kellyman).

Karli in her Flag Smashers mask / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios and Disney+
Karli in her Flag Smashers mask / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios and Disney+

Karli, and many of her associates, have taken a form of the super soldier serum, and are fighting their way to what they believe is a better world.

So, with Walker as Captain America and Karli roaming the globe and leaving death and fire in her wake, Sam and Bucky enlist some perhaps unadvisable help and set their sights on Karli; they also contend with Walker, as he is not what he seems…

So, what did I think?

Personally, I loved this show. It was almost like watching a 6-hour-long Captain America movie; and the spotlight has finally been shone on Sam and Bucky, which was perhaps a long time coming.

There is so much to unpack within the show; the first episode was fantastic for a start. Both Sam and Bucky had their own demons to deal with as Sam’s sister struggled to keep things running at the docks, and Bucky has a small notebook containing the names of those he wants to make things right with.

We’ve all seen Bucky vulnerable, but not like this. Stan does a brilliant job at portraying Bucky’s pain as he seeks closure for himself; something he really deserves after what HYDRA did to him.

As for John Walker… The character obviously tarnished the title of Captain America. He did things Steve would never even consider, including carrying a gun and murdering someone in front of civilians and children; with the shield no less, leaving it stained with blood.

The shield has been stained... / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios and Disney+
The shield has been stained... / Picture Credit: Marvel Studios and Disney+

Seeing someone else carry that shield would always be a significant change, but when Walker marches with it on his back, it’s almost a huge kick in the teeth.

Despite this, Walker was a great character; he was someone to hate and thus someone to show that perhaps Captain America isn’t a title to simply be passed around, and to hit home that Steve really is gone.

Russell did a great job with Walker as he showed both cruelty and violence along with regret and despair. Walker could be a great man, and he was as he had sufficient medals from the Army to show for it. But the power got to him and created another foe for our titular pair.

Sam and Bucky are a great team, as they poke fun at one another but also have each other’s back through it all; each understands the other’s grief and pain.

The show’s pace was brilliantly done, although I did find episodes two and three a little slow. However, what this show has done is phenomenal; it has almost ruined Steve’s legacy but only to prove that he was the epitome of everything we needed in a hero.

As many fans suspected, Sam was given the choice once again to be Captain America; something I believed to only belong to Steve, until Sam donned the new suit and his late friend’s shield.

Karli’s character was also a great addition to this story, and showed that she had good intentions to save those placed on the street after everyone came back; but her path of death and terror was ultimately the beginning to the end.

One thing this show has done, perhaps the most significant, was introduce to us a lost character; Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumley). Bradley was the first super soldier, but due to the fact he is a man of colour, meant that they kept him hidden away and experimented on him, in addition to locking him up for 30 long years.

Bradley and Sam have an instant connection, despite Bradley’s cold persona. Sam realises that he must step up and take Steve’s place as Captain America because as he says in regard to coloured people, “we built this country”, so he sees taking up the mantle as a way to show that black people can hold power and take charge just as well as anyone else. This was an immensely crucial moment in the show, and one that was done with perfection.

Overall, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was a triumph. The action scenes were done as well as in the movies, the connection between the duo was done in such a way that they shared the war, but you could still see they were fighting their own battles; and the villainous characters like Karli and Walker were a brilliant and much-needed addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Despite a couple of slow episodes as the start, this show really kicked it up a notch with the storytelling and absolute thrill of seeing Sam Wilson take up the mantle of Captain America; something I thought only Steve Rogers could do, until now.

It was also a joy to see Bucky return to a sense of normality, something we all needed to see for this worn-down and heroic character.

Check out the trailer for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier below!

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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