The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) TV Mini-Series Review

details
Title: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Rated: TV-14.
Number of episodes: 6.
Release Date: 2021.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Drama, Science-Fiction.
Series Direction By: Kari Skogland.
Cast: Anthony Mackie, Sebastien Stan, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, and many more!
Original Network: Disney+.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Also within the Disney+ Marvel Extended Cinematic Universe:
WandaVision (2021).

They say action speaks louder than words. It is how a few become icons for the many. These individuals’ every act thus tells us a story about their values, their beliefs, their moral compass. The spotlight remains on their every individual deed and everything they do, and ever did, sums up who they are today. To live the rest of your life with this pressure is to assume every consequence of your behaviour with little room for mistake as they are perceived unforgivable why the common observer. For two superheroes, what they now do with their lives will change them forever as they decide who they want to become going forward, especially when the world is in a state where it so desperately needs people to look up to. With its second project to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to television, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier explores the post-Blip lives of two Avengers’ who have yet to find their place in the world.

What is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) about? Set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the story follows Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in their quest for identity. With Steve Rogers handing over the mantle of Captain American to Sam Wilson, Sam Wilson/The Falcon has difficulty accepting such a role, constantly tormented by the idea, questioning his own worth and abilities. Fortunately for him, he remains quite occupied with an emerging new threat known as the Flag Smashers, a terrorist group led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) who wants the world to acknowledge their demands, believing in unity and a shared resources program. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes struggles with his newly found freedom and seeks a way to live up to Steve Rogers’ example while searching for forgiveness for his past behaviours as the Winter Soldier. As The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cross paths to confront a common enemy, a new Captain America is handpicked by the government and there might be more to him than meets the eye. Will heroes rise during these trying times?

10 Must-See Details from the First 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'  Trailer | Fangirlish

Despite the short length of this mini-series, it offers fans the opportunity to watch Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes come to terms with their new identities. Intertwined with social and political commentary on terrorism, foreign policies, power struggles, and racism, the story explores both characters’ internal struggles regarding their responsibilities as human beings and superheroes. With each episode, they are challenged to make tough decisions that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with their values, often confronted with ideas rooted in communication, solidarity, and pacifism (which in itself is odd considering the means they take to go off superhero’ing). Without a true understanding of the social and political mechanisms that should be at play, some of their long-winded and shoe-horned dialogues (see the final episode) are incoherent with the characters they were portraying, dishing speeches that ring odd, conveying their opinions out the blue as if it was the absolute truth. Upon the story’s resolution, their transformation remains straightforward. They each understand their purpose and embrace their lives with a new framework that will allow them to move forward and become leaders in their own right.

Unfortunately, this mini-series remains poorly directed, never actually establishing its narrative components to allow its characters to properly embrace their transformation. Take Bucky Barnes’ character whose psychological struggle is heavily focused early in the season, forgotten midway, and impetuously handled by the end. The pacing of several of these key character’s transformations is irregular and kills the viewer’s ability to satisfyingly connect with their plight and conviction. Parallelly, the main villain’s motives are incomprehensible and incongruous. Never are we given the opportunity to fully understand the terrorist group’s motives, for example. Yet somehow the story’s direction articulates its narrative around the concept of antiheroes but none of them (John Walker, Sharon Carter, and Karli Morgenthau) obtain a rewarding story arc that justifies their behaviour and characterization. Likewise, it might as well be said that the Power Broker plot twist was poorly handled.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Recap: Return of Zemo (and More) - The  Ringer

Unlike WandaVision, this series does reorient itself around the traditional action-driven formula. While it isn’t always impressive, often quite choppy and rushed in editing, there are some exciting moments spread across the series to keep the show afloat. There are several plot holes, including Karli Morgenthau’s ability to fight better than trained and experienced heroes, but one can’t expect too much in terms of logic when the entire series is riddled with similar flaws. Luckily the cinematography and score that drapes this series are fantastic, replicating that which is expected and seen from the blockbuster movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While this mini-series has its fair share of issues that leaves the impression of a patchy product, in the end, there is just enough material in this mini-series to enjoy it as it ultimately serves as a filler for fans until the recently confirmed Captain America 4 installment comes out.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) is an unpolished yet charming story of redemption, patriotism, and justice.


All six episodes of this mini-series are now available for you to binge on Disney+!

Have you read any comic book stories featuring The Falcon or the Winter soldier?
Have you seen The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)? Will you?
Share your thoughts with me!

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42 comments

  • Glad to see your review of this, Lashaan! I was so disenchanted with this series that I decided not to review it at all. Just meh.
    Agree on all points, and just want to add another (no, I won’t be criticizing Mackie’s acting, no sense in kicking a man when he’s already down 😜). The sudden turn to race as one of the main driving forces in MCU is just totally incongruous and feels like a very obvious attempt at jumping the bandwagon. Netflix’s Luke Cage dealt with this topic waaay better, and the intentional color blindness of previous MCU/Disney entries was also much preferable to what we got here, shoe-horned in between choppy action scenes.

    I do like that new picky version of you, Lashaan! 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • Heh, now that both of you voiced pretty tough opinions on this series, I’m in no hurry to watch it… I’ll get to WandaVision first, and this… at some point in the future, when I’ve nothing better to see…

      Liked by 2 people

    • I honestly had a pretty good feeling that you were going to be quite disappointed by this show too! I’m glad to see I wasn’t wrong. Even more glad that I’m not alone to think that this isn’t as amazing as so many claims it was. Regarding the race rhetoric, I think it’s very much inevitable now. With the slate they’ve announced, I think Marvel is ready to introduce #diversity into their MCU just like their comics did a couple of years ago with Korean Hulk, Afro-American Iron-Man, Female Thor, etc. I’m pretty sure Shang-Chi will have loads of propaganda for the sake of propaganda too. I just hope future entries won’t be as sloppy as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier turned out to be! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  • And this is why a lot of comic book fans aren’t going to bother with the next phase of the MCU movies.

    Glad I didn’t even have the choice of trying this out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I was already on the fence about this new series, mostly because I’m going through a phase of “superhero fatigue”, and your comments about this new Marvel product convinced me that I can pass it up without too many qualms: while I can admire good cinematography and enjoy a good soundtrack, I also want more substance than what this show seems to offer…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely did turn out quite generic for me, it had too many ideas and failed to properly explore them all within six episodes. It’s still plenty of fun if you’re looking for that but if you dig deeper, you’ll scratch your head quite often! Unfortunately for most fans out there, if they are to continue with phase 4 of the MCU, they’ll have to check out these Disney+ shows to understand how people got to where they are (e.g. who the next Captain America is going to be). Thanks for reading, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I actually really loved this series and while I agree it had its flaws, they didn’t weigh too heavily for me. I think I went in with the knowledge that they had a plotline about a disease that spread through the refugee camps and vaccine shortage, which was a huge thing, but the Disney execs told them to take it out entirely because of the current state of the world. I don’t know why, but I appreciated them not including it and forgave a lot of the inconsistencies and vagueness with the Flag Smashers in the process.
    As for Sam, I loved how much we got to know about him in this show and felt much closer to his character. He is fantastic as Captain America and embodies everything that comes with that. I totally hear you on Bucky’s journey not being as full circle and rushed in parts, but I think that’s why the show is still called Captain America and the Winter Soldier as opposed to Captain America and the White Wolf for example. Bucky’s road to healing has just begun and he’s not quite there yet. However, I would have appreciated if they stayed with him and Yori longer in the finale.
    Loved reading your thoughts on the show! Excellent post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely a bit sad that I couldn’t love it as much as you did, Kat! I’m glad that you read through my thoughts with such an open mind though. Thank you for that!

      I heard about all the executive decisions made pre-release that probably butchered a lot of the story. One thing’s for sure, I felt it as the story evolved and couldn’t grasp how they could leave it like that without filling those gaps a little hahah

      What I loved most about Sam was what he did for Bradley with the memorial dedicated to him. That segment showed us a lot about his character’s transformation, his understanding of Bradley’s past, and the issues that still need to be addressed today regarding certain communities. But man, Bucky could’ve been treated so much better. When he reveals what he did to the old man’s son, it would’ve been interesting to get an emotional breakdown or something!

      I’ll remain hopeful for what they plan on accomplishing with Captain America 4 though. At least now we can look forward to the twisted story that’s bound to come with Loki! 😀 That’s going to be wild!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course! I think opinions on these shows will always differ and that criticism is valid. I see no point in denying that, despite having enjoyed it more than others, and think it’s also good to expose myself to different view points. Also, you know how to express your opinions and I always love reading your posts (even though I am terrible at commenting usually).

        There definitely was room for improvement on several fronts, but I’m actually glad that Sam got more spotlight than Bucky. I think he needed it.

        None the less, I am so so so excited for Loki! Wanda and Loki are some of my favorite characters, so this MCU show roll out has really been hitting home with me haha

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahahah you could button-smash random stuff as a comment and it would mean the world to me. 😉 You shouldn’t put yourself any pressure on how or what you comment on anyone’s post, Kat! 😀

          You’re in for a treat in that case! I’m definitely curious to see what they’ll be able to accomplish with these mini-series on Disney+, especially for new heroes that haven’t yet been introduced to the MCU (Kate Bishop with Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk)! Now we just have to endure a month without superhero stuff hahah

          Liked by 1 person

          • Awe, thanks so much Lashaan ❤

            I'm especially curious, because Loki is already confirmed for two seasons, whereas the others were all "contained" mini-series that built up some sort of upcoming movie. But also YES to all the new characters. I have the most comics about Ms Marvel at home, so I'm looking forward to seeing her come to life on screen.

            Liked by 1 person

  • What are you doing looking for logic, Lashaan? This is a superhero show. Just go along for the ride! 😉 It is too bad when something just becomes filler material while waiting for something else. As for the characters, I don’t recall them in any of the comics I used to read. It’s very possible they may have appeared, especially the Falcon, but where most of my reading was in the mutant univese I only rarely picked up issues of the Avengers or similar comics where I might have run into these two, so my memories of any of that is pretty vague now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah it’s shows like these that probably rub off wrong on people who are already anti-superhero stuff on the small/big screen nowadays too. It’s not all bad, considering that there’s clearly a huge fanbase for it all but it’s definitely not flawless.

      I think you’d have to have followed Captain America more closely to run into both of these characters. They definitely don’t cross paths with the Fantastic Four or X-Men characters much, that can probably explain why you haven’t heard of them before.

      Speaking of X-Men, I’m really curious to see how and when Disney will finally incorporate the X-Men into all this Marvel Cinematic Universe stuff. It’s going to be wild.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great review sir, I likewise posted my thoughts last week as well. I was more positive about the series overall but you do make some good points…perhaps a couple more episodes would have allowed things to have been properly explored. I really did enjoy the themes it tackled (always a plus in the Captain America films) and it opens the gates for so much more to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chris. I was definitely much more harsh with this mini-series and did wish that I’d enjoy it far more, maybe with a darker spy thriller type of story, but its flaws were too flagrant for me. It definitely had some strong points though and I remain optimistic for what Captain America 4 will achieve, especially as a movie. Let’s hope that Loki will blow our minds now. 😀 I’ll be dropping by your blog for your review soon!

      Like

  • I’ve heard a lot of mixed thoughts on this series. Some people hate it. Some people love it. But the general consensus is that it’s just not worth bothering with. That’s too bad, because I like both of these characters in the movies, and they deserve something that’s worth watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I would say that it isn’t a “must-watch”, I fear you’ll still have to go through them since they are “transition” story arcs for the upcoming Captain America 4 movie. The same goes for WandaVision that pretty much serves as a transition for the upcoming Doctor Strange Multiverse movie. Unfortunately, you can’t escape these, unless you want to miss out on some of these character’s transition hahah

      Like

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