The Falcon & The Winter Soldier ★★★★
Starring Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Daniel Brühl
I'm sold on the Disney+ era of Marvel.
As a long time fan of the series ever since its inception, Marvel has delivered a consistent saga of high-quality, innovative movies. When we reached the "Endgame" in 2019 and the next phase of storytelling was announced as a bold shift to Disney's new streaming service, like many I was hesitant.
Whereas their first experiment Wandavision was ambitious in its attempt to explore something new, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier delivers a classic Marvel adventure that puts skepticism to rest.
After rejecting the mantle of Captain America, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) returns to his life as 'The Falcon' to fight a radical band of enhanced freedom fighters who preferred the world in which The Avengers had failed. Though disappointed in his decision, James Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is now free of his villainous programming as The Winter Soldier, and so joins Sam on his mission to complete their titular dynamic duo.
But our heroes must also compete with the governments newly elected Captain America: John Walker (Wyatt Russell) and his unhinged tactics driven by the pressure of his position. A new character expertly portrayed by Russell as an antagonist we love to hate.
As the story develops we get a better understanding of the world post-Thanos and how it has affected normal people. The fundamental way of life has been altered forever and this helps to provide a perfect motive for our antagonists. However this is where my criticism of the show lies. The villainous Flag-Smashers are led by Erin Kellyman's Karli, who is a child enhanced with the super soldier serum. Although her performance as the character is perfectly adequate, as the leader of a radical terrorist organisation, the role feels somewhat miscast.
The aesthetic of the show is consistent with the movies before it; delivering a high quality blend of special effects and locations that distance Disney+' efforts with other series'. It's because of this that the inclusion of new settings like Mandripoor, do not feel like Marvel are wasting their lore and clearly display the love that went into production.
Could there be a second series? Who knows, but The Falcon and The Winter Soldier leaves enough threads open within its self contained story to keep fans and engaged and weaved into the fabric of Marvel's superior storytelling.
The Falcon & The Winter Soldier available now on Disney+