‘I am Captain America.’: ‘The Falcon and Winter Soldier’ Review

[Editor’s Note: There are spoilers ahead.] With Captain America (Steve Rogers) gone, the government appoints a new “Captain America” (John Walker) as fan-favorite characters Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) and Sam Wilson (The Falcon) team up to stop a group of violent activists, the Flag Smashers. This TV show tackles the ideologies of legacy, fights the oppression of minorities across the world and sets up the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years to come.

After the events of “Avengers: Endgame” Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie, and Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stan, were left with open-ended stories that were neatly picked up in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney+.
After “Old Man Steve Rogers”’ gave Wilson the iconic “Captain America Shield”, passing the mantle of the “Star-Spangled-Man” with a plan down to Wilson, he disappeared and is now rumored to be on the moon by multiple background characters throughout the TV show. Besides the throw-away “Where is Steve Rogers?” running gag throughout the season, Wilson decided to “retire” the Captain America alias and legacy. Not too long after he put the shield and history in a Smithsonian exhibit, the U.S. government decides to appoint a new Captain America- John Walker, played by Wyatt Russel, Kurt Russel’s son.
John Walker is the perfect soldier to replace Steve as Captain America, but he is not the right man. He is given chance after chance to prove himself a good person, but he fails until the finale of the season when he chooses to save innocent government leaders, instead of killing the bad guy.
Once example of John Walker’s chance to prove himself is when his partner and best friend, Lemar Hoskins, or under his superhero alias, Battlestar, dies in battle against the Flag Smashers (a group of violent activists fighting for the lives ruined from the returning citizens of the universe from Iron Man’s snap in “Avengers: Endgame”). Walker chooses to chase a member of the Flag Smashers and beat him to death with Captain America’s shield, donning it with blood tearing the legacy of liberty, freedom and honor in half. The public saw who their new “Captain America” really was and he was stripped of his title as Captain America.
This was the moment Wilson stepped up to the plate as the new and true Captain America and Walker stumbled upon his new title as the “U.S. Agent”.
In the comics, Walker, or U.S. Agent, is a darker, more violent version of Captain America who takes justice into his own hands without thinking about others in the line of fire. In “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” he is a hot-headed and a good leader (only in battle scenarios), but he lacks the empathy and actual leadership off the battlefield that the previous Rogers possessed.
Now onto quite possibly the stand-out fan-favorite character, Baron Zemo. Zemo stands out much more than his previous role in “Captain America: Civil War” possibly because of the banter between him, Wilson and Barnes. These three continue the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s trend of having perfect trios in many of their stories (Jimmy Woo, Darcy Lewis and Monica Rambou in “Wandavision” and Luis, Dave and Kurt from both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp”).
Their chemistry is just off the charts. If fans thought that Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie’s press interviews had great chemistry, they couldn’t get enough of these three in the first few episodes of this season.
Sharon Carter’s first scene in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and last scene in “Captain America: Civil War” helping Cap become a fugitive, also made for a very mysterious appearance in this season. She most probably works for the Power Broker or is the Power Broker. The show writers made it clear that neither was confirmed or denied setting up future plotlines to explore.
The main villain of the series is a little lackluster compared to these past few MCU villain entries, but she did her job enough to prove who the real Captain America is. Karli Morgenthau is the leader of the terrorist/activist group called the Flag Smashers trying to save and protect citizens from around the world from the events of the blip (the snap that Thanos did in 2018, killing half the universe).
Karli and the rest of the Flag Smashers are very underdeveloped, possibly because of reshoots and scheduling due to COVID-19 and how they operated during filming. While the villains weak are, they still hold their own in the story being easy to understand and sympathize for, but easy enough to determine they take the violent route more times than they save other people.
While many superhero movie tropes are written into the story, there are still some stellar subplots that deserve more recognition. One in particular, the subplot in which Wilson is challenged by the legacy of “Captain America”because he is a black man in the United States. The show brings up the fact that racism is still an issue. Wilson, along with the audience are introduced to a new character, Isaiah Bradley. He is an old man when the show takes place but viewers learn that he was the next “American” super-soldier following Steve Rodgers during the 1980’s. He and many other black citizens were experimented on and tortured until he was found to test positive with the serum, granting him the same powers as Steve Rogers once had.
He was covered up by the government and his history was locked away from the public. Nobody knows who or what he did (which was saving a whole platoon of men after being told not to, which is also very reflective of what Rogers did during the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger”).
With racism, forgotten history and the legacy of Captain America being slaughtered by John Walker, Wilson finally decides to pick up the shield that holds the true value of what the United States should be.
In the finale, Wilson officially takes on the mantle in a new suit, designed by the Wakandans (thanks to Bucky), taking down the Flag Smashers.
Although it feels very rushed at some moments along with some lazy writing in others, the finale is a good way to end the show with each character’s main arc wrapping up, but setting up smaller ones to be continued in future projects.
With Wilson now as Captain America, Marvel Studios has announced they will be making a “Untitled Captain America 4” film with Wilson donning the red, white and blue.

Final thoughts/Overall Score: 9/10
Writing: 8.5/10
Acting: 9.5/10
Directing: 8/10
Pacing: 8.5/10
Creativity: 7/10
Character Arcs: 8/10
New Suits: 10/10
Overhyped: NOT AT ALL!
Should you watch it?: POV you’re watching “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”: I can do this all day. (Yes. Yes you should.)