“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” now the second television series to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, takes place in the year 2023, 6 months after the events of 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.” Anthony Mackie reprises his role as Sam Wilson, the flying superhero Falcon, while Sebastian Stan continues to play Bucky Barnes – the time-displaced, brainwashed, assassin-turned-hero Winter Soldier.
With the defeat of Thanos in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” the Avengers have disbanded, and its members have gone their separate ways. Falcon has returned to the U.S. Air Force. Barnes attends therapy sessions to help make amends with his past.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is the first Marvel Studios production to take a deep dive into the world after “the Blip” – the moment when all the living beings killed by Thanos were revived by the Avengers. The Disney+ miniseries doesn’t shy away from the consequences of the Blip. The world moved on without those who were lost at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War,” death certificates were signed and social security numbers were cancelled. Earth is forced to care for a countless number of refugees at the expense of those who never died. This leads to the creation of the Flag Smashers, a terrorist group that Falcon pursues.
This is the most relevant Stan and Mackie’s characters have been in Marvel Cinematic history, and both actors look great with story’s spotlight above them. Mackie sells Falcon as a cool, quipping, air-force agent while Stan makes the ex-assassin feel so much endearing than his archetype would make you assume. Barnes grapples with his mental health throughout the miniseries, and Stan’s performance as a regretful killer makes the audience want to see Barnes happy.
“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” executes its plot with a warmth not seen in other Marvel Studio productions. Creator and head writer Malcolm Spellman brings each character to life with believable motivations and natural, modern dialogue. Each of our heroes and antagonists have their own unique goals, and the show’s creative use of dialogue means that each character contributes to the setting as well. Characters will regularly use modern slang and play off nervous stutters. Falcon shoots jokes at Bucky, and he tries – and fails – to hide his shock whenever Bucky successfully ribs him back. Every conversation is delightful and entertaining.
With four fantastic episodes at time of publishing, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” isn’t just a great Marvel Studios production, its arguably one of the best TV shows currently on air. This is a must watch for anyone even moderately familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.