If you’ve ever watched a Marvel film, you will know that each one is beyond entertaining and will result in you feeling fully engaged in every character due to the intriguing events in which they have just heroically encountered. The 2021 Disney Plus series of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier certainly does not bypass this standard.
Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell and Erin Kellyman star in the second instalment of a Disney Plus original series that follows from Avengers: Endgame. This series, directed by Kari Skogland, begins with presenting the separate lives of avengers Falcon and The Winter Soldier, who are dealing with the aftermath of returning from ‘the blip’.
We are given an insight into Bucky’s (The Winter Soldier) mental health journey as he attempts to finally deal with the trauma that he is left with due to his constant years in battle as the brainwashed Winter Soldier. As well as this, we are also given an introduction into Sam’s (Falcon) personal family life, meaning we meet his sister Sarah (portrayed by Adepero Oduye) and her two young children. Throughout the series the two pair up and we see them face many obstacles including facing the deadly Flagsmashers, who attempt to get the world to return to how it was during the time of the ‘the blip’ – using whatever brutality it takes.
Recommended Reading: Marvel’s ‘WandaVision’ Review
A remarkable part of this series is how well it deals with the current issues of mental health trauma and racism. Isaiah Bradley’s storyline examines the horrific and real-life atrocity of how government studies affect the untreated diseases on minority social group. In this case, it was using super-soldier serum on him and other recruits of colour as the government try to make as many replicas of Captain America. This encourages the creation of a modified Captain America, becoming a role model for children of all races.
I also think that the importance this series places on mental health and the struggle that comes with the recovery from trauma is worth mentioning. It is clear that the creators of Marvel want to emphasise how hard this is, even for a super-soldier like Bucky, which normalises this issue.
While The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a considerably strong representation of various current issues, there are areas of the series that could be improved. I was hopeful that the villainous Flagsmashers would be the main antagonists; however, they were out-shone by John Walker, who portrayed a new Captain America for most of the series. I found it distracting having two main villains preferring to focus all of my attention on only one enemy facing defeat. I found myself caring more about who the next Captain should be as opposed to the troublesome actions of the Flagsmashers.
Despite its slight imperfections, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has been a delight to watch and has left a variety of possibilities open for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.