It’s got to be said, the new Marvel TV shows are an impressive lot so far. Beginning with the surprisingly emotionally resonant mystery box of Wandavision, next cab off the rank is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. And while this new one resembles a more traditional televisual experience, it’s nonetheless pretty bloody enjoyable.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier features, naturally enough, The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in the post Thanos snap confusion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (but on the telly!). The Falcon aka Sam Wilson is having a decent enough time of it. He’s working various government contracts and kicking arse for Uncle Sam. The Winter Soldier aka Bucky Barnes, however, is having a darker time. Still suffering from the memories of the terrible deeds he did while brainwashed by Hydra, Captain America’s bestie is trying to right his various wrongs. But, crikey it’s a long list…
So, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s rather clunky title isn’t an accident. It’s a deliberate tip of the hat to The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), a political thriller about agents beginning to have doubt in their government. Doubt is a key term for this show, because in the first episode we see Sam beginning to doubt America’s commitment to him and the other heroes, and Bucky is beginning to doubt he can ever make amends.
If this seems like pretty heavy gear for a show ostensibly about a bloke who has robot wings and another chap with a super strong metal arm, you’re not wrong. However, the whole caper is executed with a light touch, deftly shifting from spectacular action to social commentary and back again.
It’s a little early at this stage to say if The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will maintain a cracking yarn over its six episodes, but the opening hour is promising, and looks like it will dig into concepts that are a little more nuanced and abstract than its big screen stablemates.