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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ marks a new era of Captain America

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” focuses on the lives of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes after the departure of Steve Rogers. The Disney+ show also touches on the topics of race and mental health. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” marks a new chapter of Captain America as Sam Wilson’s character “the Falcon” takes up the shield in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

The highly anticipated Disney+ show follows Marvel fan-favorite characters Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and their lives since the departure of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in “Avengers: Endgame”.

The show also reveals the characters struggling with problems of their own, Sam being conflicted with his new role as Captain America and Bucky trying to reconcile with his past transgressions as the Winter Soldier.

Despite having no contact since Steve left, the two eventually join forces to battle a group of radicalized super soldiers known as the Flag Smashers.

Aiding them in their journey is “Captain America: Civil War’s” villain Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) and former S.H.I.E.L.D and C.I.A agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who hides in exile in Madripoor and undergoes a radical change when she is exposed as the menacing Power Broker.

As the show progresses, the road to defeat the Flag Smashers proves difficult with outside forces invading.

Meddling in their journey is the government-appointed Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell) who at the end of the series becomes U.S.Agent the antithesis of Steve Rogers.

Despite the slow storyline, the “Falcon and Winter Soldier” is jam-packed with action and nostalgia fans will enjoy. 

Aside from the action, viewers can observe the partial inspiration behind the show; Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s chemistry. 

Known for their humorous gimmicks during press tours, Mackie and Stan reflect their relationship through witty one-liners and comedic dialogue between their characters.

Thoroughly utilizing the television format, the show dips its fingers in elements typically not seen in Marvel’s movies. 

An important example is by tackling the complexities of Sam Wilson becoming Captain America as a Black man.

Using Wilson as their vessel, “The Falcon and Winter Soldier” takes the time to shed light on the injustices of African Americans in the United States when Sam interacts with Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) a Black former World War II super-soldier.

In his emotionally charged scenes with Sam, Bradley understandably expresses his antagonism towards America after revealing the horrors of being experimented on by the government and wrongfully imprisoned during the war.

While it makes matters more troubling, it encourages Wilson to eventually take up the shield and promise to utilize the past and present to build a better tomorrow.

In addition to discussing race, the show also explores mental health as Bucky experiences post-traumatic stress disorder of his time as the Winter Soldier. 

While he navigates a new world of free will, viewers can observe the course of his redemption arc to completion by the season finale.

As one of the fascinating characters from the “Captain America” trilogy, it is heartwarming to see Bucky finally freed of his past, although albeit rushed.

Even though the show focuses on Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, it is hard to ignore the supporting characters. Especially Zemo, who stuns the audience with his dance moves on screen.

Wyatt Russell perfectly emulates the unlikable but slightly relatable persona of John Walker, who encompasses all things opposite of Captain America. 

With him becoming U.S. Agent as he does in the comics, his story arc is far too riveting for it to not continue beyond “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”.

As for Sharon Carter, she remains a mystery. It is confusing to see the dark turn she presented, but hopefully, Marvel will expand on what will happen next to the once-beloved character.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” serves as an excellent segway of setting the future roles of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Universe, but fumbles the story arcs of some of its characters.

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