Wednesday, May 5, 2021

TV Show Review: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Action, effects, acting
Cons: Pacing, lectures
The Bottom Line:
Supporters team up
But story overly long
With bonus lectures

Disappointing Second Marvel Series

When Marvel first started announcing TV series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the one that really caught my attention.  I really like both of those characters, so a series focused on the two of them would be great, right?  Sadly, I was very disappointed with the end result.

The show takes place in the post-Endgame world.  Both Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes (Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan) are trying to get back to some semblance of normal.  For Sam, that involves helping his sister with their family’s business when he isn’t out on missions as The Falcon.  For Bucky, that includes trying to make amends to the families of people he killed as The Winter Soldier.

The two are drawn back together when the government appoints John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as the new Captain America.  While neither one of them wanted to take on the mantle of their friend, they feel something is off about John.  Meanwhile, the Flag Smashers are gaining traction around the world.  This group desires to return things to the way they were during the five-year blip when all the countries of the Earth work together with no borders.  However, their methods are violent.  Can Sam and Bucky find a way to stop this radical group?  Will John Walker be a help or a hindrance?

There were a couple of issues with this miniseries.  The first is that it was a miniseries.  I think this would have made a great two-hour movie.  Instead, we got over five hours.  That means things were really drawn out.  I got bored as I was watching each episode because there was too much else, including too many sub-plots we truly didn’t care about, that distracted from the heart of the story.

Now, that isn’t to say that we didn’t have action in each episode.  The budget must have been pretty high because there were some pretty epic action scenes.  And the special effects were top notch as well.  The visuals were definitely appropriate for a big screen movie.

My other issue was the preaching.  In each episode, they took the opportunity to lecture us on race relations.  Maybe it is because of everything happening in the US right now, but it felt especially shoehorned in to this story.  In fairness, there were some times it was introduced that did feel organic and powerful.  But I was still rolling my eyes because the other instances made those moments feel cheaper than they should have.  And I do have to wonder how much of Sam’s big speech in the finale is true in our country today versus how we are made to feel about our country today thanks to media, like this show.

And this isn’t a knock on the acting.  The entire cast was fantastic.  I found them believable whether in a fight scene, interacting with special effects, playing the lighter moments, or the more dramatic moments.

As you’d expect, this show is setting up future movies.  In fact, it is very obvious when things end that we are going to have to remember what happened here at a later date.  I just don’t know how long we are going to have to wait to see what happens next to some of these characters.

Die hard Marvel fans were watching this show as it premiered.  I’ve heard mixed reactions to it, so I’m not the only one who felt this way.  If you haven’t seen it yet and are a big comics movie fan, you’ll be well served to check it out.  But if you are a casual fan, you can skip The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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