‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ proves Marvel can handle serious topics

Marvel hits it out of the park with this new Disney+ series.

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Marvel

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is a show that will easily satisfy old and new Marvel fans alike.

Following the success of their show “WandaVision,” Marvel released a new show, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which began streaming on Disney+ on March 19. The show recently aired its finale, and, in just six episodes, the show has managed to both address topical political issues and pave the way for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With a lovable cast and a return to the action-packed scenes that Marvel is known for, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is a show that will easily satisfy old and new Marvel fans alike.

The show picks up a couple of months after “Avengers: Endgame,” where the world is still recovering from the events that took place in that movie. Sam Wilson, a.k.a the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), is struggling to find his place in a rapidly-changing world. He spends his time assisting the U.S. Air Force on missions overseas, while also visiting his sister, Sarah (Adepero Oduye), and her two sons.

Bucky Barnes, a.k.a the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), faces similar problems. He still isn’t fully adjusted to the world (considering he had spent most of his time previously as the Winter Soldier, a dangerous, brain-washed assassin), and he has trouble making basic social connections with others. Despite them both being good friends of Steve Rogers (Captain America in the previous movies), the two have trouble working together. However, when a new threat comes into power, Sam and Bucky are forced to team up to save the world from entering a state of mass chaos.

This may seem like standard fare for Marvel so far, but where “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” differs the most from the previous movies is in how it tackles controversial themes.

One topic that the show greatly explores, in particular, is the difficulties faced by Black superheroes. A more diverse cast of heroes is being introduced to the MCU (especially thanks to films such as “Black Panther”), but the idea of those heroes facing hurdles due to their race or gender has not been delved into before. The show’s creators, Kari Skogland and Malcolm Spellman, made sure to address this issue in the show’s plot, where Sam is often unsure of his ability to be a symbol of hope for the nation because of his race.

To quote one of the more thought-provoking lines from the show, “They will never let a black man be Captain America.” Something about these brutally realistic themes feels refreshing to see in a fictional universe so distanced from reality. It is Sam’s job to persevere through any difficulties he might face, and, by the end of the show, Sam and Bucky learn something new about themselves and about the nation they’ve sworn to protect.

Where the show truly shines is in its diverse cast of characters. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan have shown great potential playing more minor roles in the Captain America movies, and now, as fleshed-out characters, they play the roles better than ever before. The two possess great chemistry, whether it’s one of the show’s many fight scenes or a simple conversation in between the action.

Another returning actor is Daniel Bruhl, who plays Baron Zemo. Bruhl is easily a standout member of the cast, showing a lighter side of the typically cold-hearted rival of Captain America. One scene depicts the villain dancing in the middle of a club which, despite its silliness, is a scene that shows how likable the character can be.

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The show also nails the roles of characters new to the MCU, notably Wyatt Russell playing the role of the anti-hero John Walker, a.k.a the U.S. Agent. Much of the Internet expressed their distaste for John Walker after the show first aired, but they soon began to realize that this was brought about by Russell’s masterful portrayal of the character –– so good that you’ll hate him!

Of course, there’s more to the character than just that. John Walker has his own unique character arc throughout the show, which will truly captivate the viewers and have them invested in his story. The acting in the rest of the MCU does not compare to that of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (and “WandaVision” before it), where your favorite heroes are the most realistic and vulnerable they’ve ever felt.

Many Pascack Hills students have praise for the show. Hills sophomore Ben Hoffman said, “I enjoyed ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ a lot because it was nice to see both Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s stories expanded on. It’s been around two years since we last saw them, so it was great to be able to see what came next in their story.”

felt they did a really good time with pacing and bringing up real-time issues throughout the story while keeping that same ‘Marvel movie’ feel to the show.”

— Jack Torrente, Hills sophomore

Jack Torrente, also a Hills sophomore, commented, “I felt they did a really good time with pacing and bringing up real-time issues throughout the story while keeping that same ‘Marvel movie’ feel to the show. I felt the character development was relevant throughout the show and that they never went off the pace of the main idea of the show.”

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is a very well-written show, and with only six episodes, it’s definitely a good binge-watching choice. The show seems to be the start of a “new age” of Marvel media, and fans can likely expect the same level of quality in the upcoming “Loki” series coming to Disney+ on June 11.