Falcon and the Winter Soldier hits a bit different

I’m a little surprised by the maiden voyage of Falcon the Winter Soldier, the newest Marvel series from Disney+. Where I was expecting a sort of buddy comedy spy series, it appears they’re tackling everything from PTSD to racial microaggressions. This isn’t what I expected, but I’m all here for it.

Picking up a few months after the events of Endgame, we reunite with Sam and Bucky. Sam has decided that he cannot take up the mantle of Captain America and donates Steve’s shield to the Smithsonian while Bucky, out of time and dealing with the guilt of all of the deaths he caused over the last 100 years, is seeking atonement and connection and having very little luck. Meanwhile, an organization called the Flag Smashers seeks to tear down borders and bring back the anarchy they enjoyed during The Blip.

While Falcon and the Winter Soldier has action, including one of the best air chases I’ve seen in movies or TV in quite a long time, I’m surprised by how it focused more on the mundane struggles of heroes after hours. Bucky is wracked with guilt, unable to make even the smallest connection with anyone other than the people he’d inadvertently wronged during his life. He’s having nightmares, he’s in therapy, he is literally a man out of time.

While I have no frame of reference here, I listened to a veteran wax philosophic about Bucky’s character saying that he too had felt like he was a man out of time even though he’d only been deployed for a year. Seeing Bucky deal with depression and a disconnect, he said, was very relatable.

Sam, in the meantime, is shown trying to save his family’s boat and business and running into racial microaggressions throughout the episode. Despite being an Avenger, he’s denied a loan. Despite handing the shield to the Smithsonian and being told it was the right thing to do, he is shocked to discover that it is given to a new (white) Captain America without his knowledge which is a huge slap to the face.

I want to see more superhero action, but if this series focuses more on what goes on in these guy’s private lives and struggles, I’m here for it.

Plus, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie are great actors and I’m eager to see their often overshadowed characters spread their wings on their own. Pun intended.

So, yeah… I’m hooked. I’m not sure if I’ll do an episode by episode reflection or wait until the entire series is over like I did with Wandavision. We’ll just have to see how the series plays out, but regardless, I’m here for it.

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