Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 2

Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2
James Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) after realising they need to avenge their fallen Avenger (Picture: Disney+)

Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 2 has more going for it than last week’s prologue, but still seems to be missing the cinematic pizzazz.

Thank goodness the titular characters finally unite in this week’s episode. This new episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier should have been the jumping on point. Especially after the series began with them discussing mortgages and having counselling.

All the while, pro-border unification terrorist group Flag Smashers are doing some nefarious plot involving medicine or vaccines or something or other. As far as we need to know at this point, they like wearing masks and have Super Soldier abilities. And their leader is British because of course. It wouldn’t be a patriotic pro-American war show unless the villain was British; heavily Eastern European, or straight out Russian.

Thankfully, Captain America is there to save the day against this new organisation. Or rather, a new Captain America donned by John Walker. Played by Wyatt Russell as the new blonde, blue-eyed star-spangled hero set to fill the shoes of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

Captain America: The Ayran Soldier

But if there’s one thing Marvel has reiterated over the past ten years, it is that the government or anyone with power for that matter, should not be trusted. With that in mind, I have a high suspicion that this new Captain America won’t be meeting the rest of the Avenger family anytime soon.

Especially as we can suspect he may at some point turn his allegiance against Sam ‘Falcon’ Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and James ‘Winter Soldier’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan) when he develops more of his feelings towards the symbolic costume and its Vibranium shield.

Most interestingly though, it seems that this series is referring back to previous Captain America movies more than we first thought. While we drew comparisons between the first episode and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 2 is now referring to Captain America: Civil War with its reintroduction of villain Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) at the end of the episode, setting up his return for the remaining episodes.

As for Marvel referencing the fallen Avenger, I do understand they would want to milk all value out of Chris Evans’ role while they can. Hence why Evans had a supporting role in both Spider-Man movies with the latter set after Roger’s death. It makes total sense from a commercial perspective to shoehorn him into any film or show they make. I’m disappointed that Marvel are treating Falcon and the Winter Soldier as a money-making exercise when WandaVision proved so much more.

Wizards vs. Aliens

To give this episode some credit, the relationship between Sam and Bucky did allow for some comedic lines of dialogue. The occasional Marvel-branded quip made for light watching and proved that this show could have occasional charm.

However, something Marvel forgets is that TV should allow for great character development. Writers have the chance to flesh out characters more than they would for a movie. So as a result, why are the heroes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier reductive versions of their movie selves?

Since 2014 Marvel had established both of these characters to have a personality. More recently they showed they have a good working relationship given the universe halving events of Avengers: Endgame. Albeit one tarnished with murder and Nazi brainwashing, but a relationship all the same.

So why did the show need to have them in couples therapy intimately close, as if taken from Wattpad. I don’t understand how their working relationship had got to that point since their epic Thanos fighting days.

Ultimately, the disdain for each other, and their government isn’t as interesting as Marvel anticipated it would be. At least they can agree to vilify Captain America as the episodes go on. Hopefully, that will be enough to carry the show for the rest of the series, as the premise of ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier fight Captain America’ just stinks of a Marvel elevator pitch that the producers (and fans) would lap up.

New episodes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier stream every Friday on Disney+.

By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.

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