Winter Soldier proves to be a Win for Disney+

By Aidan Callahan, Back Page Editor

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has come to an end, and now all episodes are available to stream on Disney+. Keeping in line with my WandaVision review, I am going to offer up a spoiler-free review for those who haven’t seen it yet, and then a look back for those of us who have.  

Spoiler-Free Review

This show is for you if you love explosive action, the classic buddy-cop formula, heavy-hitting political themes or any combination of the three.  

The action takes up a lot of screen time, but they make sure it’s worth it. Marvel obviously has a lot of experience in this realm but this show goes above and beyond,featurings some of the most visually engaging fight scenes in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU.) 

They also use the show as a vehicle for an interesting thematic discussion about America, asking how someone is supposed to be prideful of a nation that has historically mistreated some of its own citizens. This is a heavy theme that could feel out-of-place in a show about a guy who flies around in a metal bird suit, but the writers handle it with care and ultimately, it works.  

If what has kept you from the MCU is that it seemed too silly for you, then this show would be a fantastic starting point.  

Looking Back (Spoilers!)  

Falcon was a fantastic show, but my philosophy has always been that too much fanboying is dangerous, so it’s important for us to also look back at its faults.  

The Flagsmashers as a whole seem to have served no ultimate purpose other than to give Sam something to give a dramatic speech about. Karli’s death seems to cement their status as nothing more than the antagonists of this show — another generic group to add to the list of MCU antagonists who went nowhere.  

On the topic of villains who went nowhere, let’s talk Julia Louis-Dreyfus. An interesting cameo that certainly elicited a gasp from me, she ultimately serves no purpose in this show and was clearly just included to set up for something down the line. This is a bad habit the MCU needs to break. It only serves to advertise future projects while making the current project feel less cohesive because there’s now a random character in it who has no effect on its story.  

There’s a lot more bad stuff I could talk about (don’t even get me started on them trying to redeem John Walker in the final episode), but I think they all point to the same overall issue: Marvel cares more about the cohesiveness of the MCU as a whole than the cohesiveness of individual projects.  

This is a problem they’ve always had, and if these last two shows have been any indicator, it’s a problem they will continue to have. However, these shows also demonstrate that Marvel is willing to get more experimental with their projects.  

Obviously, WandaVision was significantly more experimental than Falcon, but Falcon still shows they’re willing to try new things. It has more of a slow build-up than any MCU movie ever has, and I don’t think anti-American sentiments have ever been displayed so brazenly.  

With the amount of positive feedback these shows have received, we can hope Disney got the message and will greenlight more outside-the-box projects. However, it’s important for us to keep critiquing these shows so Marvel doesn’t rest on their laurels. They need to learn that they don’t need to include a random Seinfeld cameo just to get us talking about these shows. 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons