REVIEW: Marvel’s “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” soars above new expectations on Disney+

Two unlikely heroes, new threats, and one American legacy to overcome in this action-packed series.


Poster courtesy of Disney+.

Daniel Pineiro, Staff Writer

Six months after the thrilling conclusion of “Avengers: Endgame,” an unlikely duo must team up once again to face a new threat, whilst coming to terms with not only themselves but what it means to be a symbol.

“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” is a six-episode Action/Thriller miniseries that’s streaming exclusively on Disney+ directed by Kari Skogland. Marking itself as the second of many Marvel Cinematic Universe shows to be released. As of now, there are only two episodes currently aired.

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return in their reprisals as Sam Wilson/The Falcon and Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier, as two allies thrust into a new post “Blip” world after their five-year-long disappearance. The “Blip” is an in-universe term explaining the half of an entire universe’s population’s sudden return after being wiped out from existence from a single snap.

As an episodic six-hour miniseries, this creates many opportunities for unique storytelling as it is essentially a six-hour-long MCU movie. Something that previous MCU films could not achieve due to their smaller runtime. Now that there’s a longer runtime, Disney+ shows like “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” can further explore more on the MCU’s world-building.

While “WandaVision” lent itself to being a beautifully told visual spectacle about grief and acceptance, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” serves as a more grounded and action-packed thriller dealing with racial undertones and the trauma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Setting itself apart from its sister show’s sit-com take, viewers are treated to the first 10 minutes of a high-stakes action sequence that’s on par with film-level blockbuster quality for Disney’s streaming service budget. The scene in question is a brilliantly choreographed CGI aerial scene showing how adept Falcon has become in his flight suit, taking down terrorists one by one to rescue a U.S. soldier from free fall while undergoing helicopter fire.

Both Mackie and Stan bounce off each other on-screen effortlessly with their unique chemistry. Their rivalry with one another, though antagonistic at times, cultivates itself as this comedic good cop/bad cop-esque series.

With his natural charisma taking center stage, Mackie proves why he’s been expertly cast in this lead role as Sam Wilson. Previous MCU films showed Mackie’s character as this cocky yet charming sidekick but all of that completely unfolds after Captain America’s disappearance.

Captain America (Chris Evans), was known to the world as the personification of freedom. There lies this unspoken truth in just how powerful the symbolism was behind this American hero in the MCU.

Following his absence, the show excels in crafting this feeling of anguish and abandonment in this post “Blip” world.

Five years after Mackie’s character was wiped from existence, this is the first time audiences see the trauma that’s followed his character arc. He’s unsure of himself in his actions of trying to step up to the mantle. To him, the shield will always belong to someone else and he even goes as far as to disavow the idea of replacing Captain America. Through subtle cues in his performance, you can tell by his hesitation that, as an African-American hero, he isn’t what Americans nor the world will come to accept as their next symbol. Something that the series will heavily delve into as episodes continue to ramp up.

With homages to many comic book references that hardcore fans are sure to spot, fans have even more to look forward to for subsequent films and shows as the MCU continues to improve the formula on why their superhero genre is wildly successful. “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” proves itself to be one non-stop thrill ride that audiences are sure to follow “till the end of the line.”

Daniel Pineiro is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or @Danny_x101 on Instagram.