The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the second Marvel Cinematic Universe series for Disney+ and is very different from WandaVision.
However, one thing the two series have in common is that they are more than anyone could have expected from a television series, even one on a streaming network.
Here is our review of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, after watching an advanced screener of the first episode.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier review
WandaVision took Marvel fans by surprise when it opened the first two episodes as classic sitcoms starring Wanda Maximoff and the Vision. Many people tuned out and ended up missing out on one of the most creative and inspired superhero shows ever made.
Those fans have no reason to tune out of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The first episode opens with Falcon (Anthony Mackie) working on a mission with the United States military contractor. He is trying to rescue a kidnapped soldier from a terrorist group before they get into foreign airspace.
The entire opening is a high-energy action scene with Falcon flying through the air and fighting villains led by a familiar face from Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Batroc the Leaper (Georges St-Pierre).
When Falcon gets back home, the show starts to show how the world has changed since the Blip.
Comic fans know that Sam Wilson is a social worker in the books, and he has always fought for the misrepresented people on the streets.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the post-Blip world is shown through Sam and his sister’s eyes, as they seem on the verge of losing what their parents built in tough economic times.
Don’t expect to get too much into the buddy cop aspect that the trailers promised in the first episode.
Falcon and Winter Soldier never connect in the premiere. They also have introductions that are polar opposites of each other.
While Falcon is flying through the air with the greatest of ease in a scene that would look amazing on any movie screen, Winter Soldier is out of commission.
Thanks to saving the world and having his mind freed from Hydra control, Bucky Barnes received a pardon and is living life as a civilian.
However, he is also seeing a military shrink and is having nightmares about his days operating as Hydra’s Winter Soldier. One of these nightmares saw him assassinate a group of Americans and then kill an innocent bystander who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This all connects with an old Asian man that Bucky has befriended.
There are two other plots that started in the first episode. The first involves the Flag Smashers, a terrorist group that wants to eliminate all borders. They grew in power after the Blip, and want the world back to where it was when everyone was still gone.
The second is when the U.S. Government betrays Sam.
Sam turned in Captain America’s shield when he said they all decided that it was time to retire it. The shield was added to the Captain America museum. This is also where another member of The Avengers makes a cameo.
At the end of the first episode, Sam watched on TV as the government went back on their word and presented it to a new hero to take on the mantle of Captain America.
This is John Walker (Wyatt Russell), the U.S. Agent from the comics, but he only gets to smile at the camera in this premiere episode.
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are perfect as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, and both men carry this first episode to a strong showing. This is a solid introduction and proves that Marvel can create something as dynamic for the small screen as they do for the big screen.
There is a bit of world-building here, with the introduction of Sam’s sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye) and his friend in the military (Danny Ramirez). For Bucky, there is his therapist (Amy Aquino) and an older man that he has befriended that he owes a debt to.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier wrap up
There are only six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but each one is double the length of each WandaVision episode. And what is important to know is that this first episode just flies by.
There is a ton of action and some fantastic character building in between action set pieces.
For people who wanted more Marvel from WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will give you exactly what you wanted and not skimp on the quality.
Marvel has another major hit on its hands with its latest superhero epic series.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs new episodes every Friday on Disney+.