April 5, 2021

CABLE | 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Strikes Back

Wyatt Russell Malcolm Spellman | Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier | Disney Plus
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios' second streaming series effort in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan as the eponymous superhero sidekick duo to Captain America, recreates much of the same tried-and-true blockbuster formula transplanted to the episodic television format.

Showrunner and creator Malcolm Spellman weaves African-American themes of race and heroism in contemporary American society deftly while John Wick franchise writer Derek Kolstad injects some high-octane action into his scrips. Veteran Canadian filmmaker Kari Skogland directs every episode with the usual dynamic (somewhat generically grey-ish) MCU visual sheen.

Side characters Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) return alongside newbie Wyatt Russell as Cap's government-approved replacement, John Walker (aka U.S. Agent), as TFATWS continues to build out a post-Captain America world in the vein of The Winter Soldier's sense of political action thriller. However, our characters, especially Sam and Bucky, are all clearly reeling hard from the disappearance and reappearance of half the world's sudden population over five years and the notable absence of Steve Rogers.

Marvel's latest series feels too much like the sidequest adventure from one of its films with some awkward downtime haphazardly explaining little details from the massive world continuity it's built up over two-dozen features. It's a solid, if not spectacular, series rested primarily on the familiarity and reverence for our title lead characters and their mismatched "white cop, black cop" buddy cop type pairing.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available to stream weekly on Disney+.

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