Two weeks after the curtain crashed down on WandaVision, Marvel’s riveting Disney+ slate welcomed its next Phase Four entry in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Set six months after the Blip – the term coined to describe the events that followed Thanos’ snap – the series follows Avengers duo Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes as they attempt to navigate a much-changed world without Captain America.
Avengers: Endgame’s final farewell saw Steve Rogers pass his shield, and therefore the Captain America mantle, on to a reluctant Wilson. Episode one sees Wilson continue along that stubborn road, albeit ineffectively maintaining Rogers’ legacy.
A legacy that remains unblemished; that is until the US government unveil their plan to fill the void vacated by the deceased Rogers, and that is to establish a new Captain America.
Wilson’s decision to pass up the role saw the iconic vibranium shield retired to government care. However, he would not have known their intentions to take matters into their own hands and hand the reins over to the next best fit.
The shocking turn of events is reserved until the final minutes of the episode, though it will no doubt play a crucial hand as events begin to unfold over the next five weeks.
Wilson reiterates that Cap’s shield ‘belonged to someone else’, and that’s why he didn’t feel comfortable taking it for himself. So to see the government simply move on to the next in line without much consideration towards preserving Cap’s legacy won’t sit well with his former allies.
Sam’s immediate reaction to the news was a telling picture.
Bucky, meanwhile, has been forced into government-mandated therapy to address his underlying brainwashing issues, and the continued struggle to cope in the modern world without his best friend by his side.
The two have yet to re-connect after seemingly going their separate ways in the immediate aftermath of the Avengers’ victory, but they’ll no doubt join forces imminently amid the emergence of the latest global threat in the terrorist group the Flag Smashers.
An attack in Switzerland by the Flag Smashers demonstrated their intentions, though the most impressive action sequence instead saw Wilson halt a plane hijacking by Batroc, who first appeared in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Whilst WandaVision was a sitcom-turned-slow-building thriller, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be pure action. Falcon’s opening mission was just a minor taste of what is to come as the series unfolds, and it’s an exciting proposition. It feels almost like
It does an excellent job in elevating the strength and importance of the ‘small screen Avengers’, in what has been a universe dominated by the big guns.
Meanwhile, having composer Henry Jackman on board to score the series is also a fine acquisition.
There will be obvious comparisons to WandaVision, and in that regard, the opening segment of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier underwhelms.
However, there is so much more to come with the key plot elements yet to be fully wedged in place. Crucially, we haven’t yet seen the Falcon AND the Winter Soldier together, and the banter-filled relationship that they share.
How their humorous interactions will fit in amid the duo’s ongoing trauma will be interesting.
Episode two arrives on Friday, where we could get our first series glimpse at one of two familiar faces, either Agent Sharon Carter or Baron Zemo.