Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Spoilers)

I DO hope they have a scene with Walker throwing his cosplay shield around and it just falls to the floor after hitting something like a normal shield would.

That would be great. Hope we see that.

I’ve been watching the show every week but haven’t participated in this thread up until now. Partly because I fell WAY behind on the discussion and partly because the show, for the most part, was pretty straightforward. Unlike with WandaVision I didn’t have a lot of major complaints or questions along the way.

I will say that I’ve really, really enjoyed it. I was originally pretty dismissive of this show. Sam and Bucky just weren’t characters that I cared about all that much and the idea of a Marvel buddy-cop show didn’t carry all that much excitement for me. However, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with it.

First, I think the “buddy cop” premise has been oversold. While Sam and Bucky definitely have a bit of a tropey dynamic, I don’t think this show feels like Lethal Weapon with super powers. It’s a completely different tone and the villains and overall plot feel more like a Marvel movie and less like a crime story or whodunit. This show actually feels like Captain America 4, it slots in very nicely as a sequel to Civil War. Sure, the stakes and cast are smaller, but the tone and themes fit right in with those Cap stories.

I agree with several critics that some episodes felt a little choppy and the plot was occasionally too convenient. But not so much that it took me out of the story. Sam and Bucky have great chemistry. Sam was up there with Hawkeye as the lamest and least interesting Avenger, but this show has actually made me like the character a lot more. Before episode 5 the idea of him taking on the mantle of Cap always felt like jumping the shark (in spite of the comics canon) to me. Now, it actually feels earned and I’m interested to see how it plays out. And if the Wakanda suit that he was given powers him up to close to the level of Black Panther then it won’t be absurd seeing a regular Joe running around with that shield.

I tend to be a person that gets put off by shows that go too overboard with the woke messaging and symbolism, but it hasn’t bothered me in this show at all. It’s very clearly saying some damning things about both supremacy and the black experience in America over the years, it’s not being subtle at all, but nothing about it feels forced or inorganic. I give the writers a mountain of credit for pulling that off. Isaiah’s character is maybe the most interesting one in the whole show without a lot of screen time. Every minute he’s on is so impactful. He’s added a lot to Sam’s development too.

Bucky’s character arc seems to be taking a back seat to Sam’s, which I didn’t expect after how the first couple episodes started, but Sebastian Stan’s performance has been really great. He’s done a heck of a job of balancing the comic stuff with being the cynic in the relationship. I always liked this character and the extra screen time has really paid off.

Baron Zemo is a lot of fun. Enough has been said on this topic, and I agree that the show has really been pretty unrealistic about how Sam and Bucky have treated him. But, it’s served the story well enough that I don’t care. He’s been useful to move the plot forward and facilitate the more important John Walker/Sam/Bucky character development. He’s brought a lot of life to what could have been an overly dour show.

I agree that the Power Broker and Flag Smashers aren’t the most compelling of “big bads” but like Zemo, they are really there to help them tell the story of the Captain America mantle. Much like Zemo wasn’t really the main antagonist in Civil War, these two aren’t the main antagonist of this show. It’s either John Walker or it’s the culture at large depending on your take.

On that note, are we thinking that the Contessa is the Power Broker? Or is she just Madame Hydra? Or will she basically be the new Nick Fury? Is she all of the above? I’m in the camp that the Power Broker definitely is NOT Sharon, but I don’t think there’s any credit’s cards left unfilled for a new actor to appear in.

I don’t know that I love the thing with the Shield. I’m not a comic reader, but in the MCU I never really saw the shield as basically Earth’s Mjolnir. It’s just an amazing metal, it doesn’t have energy of it’s own. Showing Walker and now Sam basically throwing it around like Steve did feels super inauthentic to me. I always found it kind of weird when Steve was able to make it magically slip onto his arm in spite of it having leather straps. Seems like Tony should have installed a bracer and magnet system or something to make that possible. In this show’s canon, pretty much the only thing that Steve could do with it as a super soldier that a regular dude couldn’t is embed it into concrete…which is sort of dumb. But then again, it’s probably not more dumb that regular unenhanced humans like Natasha, Sam, Clint and the Dora Milaje being able to go toe to toe with essentially demigods.

Really? I’ve been feeling very smug about this series because I always considered the Falcon my second favorite superhero of the Marvel movies, after Bruce Banner, and I’m getting a very “Mmm-hmm. Called it” reaction to seeing him move up to a lead role.

Maybe it’s just that Anthony Mackie has always struck me as one of the best actors in the franchise. But yeah, I admit that the movies kept his character pretty much in the background. I haven’t read any of the comics so don’t really know how the story arcs compare in the different media.

Anthony Mackie is fine. A good dramatic actor, but I wouldn’t put him in the top 10 for charisma from Infinity War/End Game. And his power set, such as it is, isn’t really all that useful or decisive in these battles. His backstory was basically yadda yadda yadda-ed and they have never really shown his non-Avengers life at all before now.

They haven’t officially confirmed which, if any, of the new Marvel shows will get second seasons, but I have a pretty strong suspicion that the Power Broker story arc won’t be resolved in the last episode.

I can’t remember if we talked about it here, but there’s a lot of speculation that the script originally was focused around some kind of plague and the medicines the flag smashers have been stealing were vaccines, that that lady who died died of that disease. I’m ok with this show but I don’t love it and I wonder if things were different if I’d have liked the original plan for the show.

I liked WandaVision better, but its last episode was retooled due to covid and it kind of was meh for me too. So I don’t expect every show to be great, but how much things are disappointing might be out of their control… but I also did hate Iron Fist, The Defenders, and a bunch of those other shows. Pretty much everything but the first seasons of Jessica Jones and daredevil.

Yes, it was covered it in quite a bit of detail. I personally find the theory pretty compelling. It would explain a lot of things about the choppiness of the plot and vagueness of the villain’s motives. If it turns out as true I really hope someone will explain what the original story was planned to be.

Enough to keep watching but an order of magnitude less than WandaVision which had me enthralled and hooked from the first ep. (Even though it didn’t quite stick the landing.)

Isaiah is a very well done character. Walker too. Sam gets fleshed out some and has some small growth arc. But the plot is pretty boring to dumb with no mystery or problem to solve that I have been made to care about, the humor and chemistries between the characters pretty dull, and it is a disappointment to take on the meaningful themes as potentially illustrated in the Raft of Medusa without any sense of thesis for those themes.

Yes Bucky will have heard Sam’s sagacity and apologize to the man whose son he killed as Winter Soldier. That’s Bucky’s big growth. Yawn.

I just crashed through all five episodes.

Its good so far, but something right off the top bothered me; at the beginning of the very first fight sequence, on the plane, Falcon briefly looks in the cockpit. The amazed hijacker pilot glances him and tried to tell his boss about it. His boss reacts with incredulity and acts as if the pilot is nuts.

Well, in the real universe he would be. But this is the MARVEL universe, right? Dudes fly all over the place. Flying monsters emerge from space portals. There’s flying superheroes and such all over the place, people capable of supernatural feats of all sorts, and they are not a secret; some are very famous. Some work for the US government, the government those hijackers were in the midst of angering. Why would a man outside the plane be in any way hard to believe?

The villain’s motives seem very clear to me. Her methods are not. I thought I understood her plan to be that she was going to turn other refugees into supersoldiers, but then the serum was smashed. But she seems very determined to do something now even though no alternative serum sources has been indicated.

The Medal of Honor actually says “VALOR” on it, so that would make sense. It is an honor that is awarded for acts of valor.

As to this, here’s the thing; this show has way too much punching in it.

A thing I dislike about most Marvel movies is that when it’s time for action, they don’t seem to have much for the characters to do except punch and kick each other. The punching and kicking invariably goes on too long and is usually inconsequential. There isn’t nearly enough originality in terms of having people do something in action sequences besides punch, or run to and from punching.

This isn’t ALWAYS true, but it’s true a lot, and there have been some egregious examples in this show. The scene you reference is just horribly stupid. The scene where Barnes pretends to me a mind controlled Winter Soldier in the not-Singapore bar goes on three times longer than necessary. The fight scene between New Captain and Falcon/WS at the start of Episode 5 is just horrible, absolutely five minutes of predictable, pointless garbage.

Action is harder than you think to work into a narrative in a show.

Maybe the worst action sequence so far, though, was the other overplayed hand, Shooting. When they escape from the shipping container and kill (counting Sharon’s slaughter beforehand) ike 15, 20 guys… none of that contributed anything to the story and it was a boring, overlong sequence. It would have been such a nice change of pace if they had actually had to ESCAPE, to use subterfuge to escape an overwhelming opposing force. (Instead they defeat a numerically superior force that is armed with vastly superior weapons, which makes no goddamn sense.)

It can be hard to convince people there’s someone outside the plane.


There’s quote a bit of content out in the world that covers this much better, but the main argument is that her goals are silly and childish. They want “a world without borders” and a “return to how it was during the blip”. A return to how it was basically means she wants to be Thanos, murdering about 3B people. How she would achieve this through the serum is never stated. A world without borders means destroying every single nation state. Again, we don’t know exactly what the world was like during the blip, but we can be pretty sure it didn’t become a One World Order with every nation sharing resources and living in peace and harmony. In fact in the first half of End Game the remaining Avengers seemed pretty fucking frazzled. Everyone lost loved ones…so again, these people imagining that circumstance as some utopia is downright psychotic.

They had 20 vials of the serum and had no obvious way to get more. They weren’t seeking out Nagel to have him mass produce it for them. Their plan most definitely was not to make every refugee a super soldier. Their little clique of refugees all took the serum and they were eventually hoping to find 13 more like minded refugees, but 20 super soldiers out in the world was not going to overthrow 300-odd governments.

They seem to be setting up some big terrorist attack in the finale after their meeting with Baltroc but this plan appears to be something they decided to do just in this episode. In the prior episodes, before Cap II when all aggro, they were pretty unsure about what their next steps were and how far to take things. They are completely winging it, at least that’s what the show has shown so far.

But I was saying her MOTIVES are clear, which is a different concept from a goal. Your goal is what you want; your motive is why. Her motive is that she and many others like her are being treated with immense unfairness - that the world as they know it is being yanked from under their feet. That is a highly relatable and reasonable motive, and you cannot say it’s not really, really clear.

Her goals, and corresponding plans, are not at all clear, to the point of incoherence. As a result, I also don’t understand why Falcon and the WS give a shit, or are so motivated to stop her. She killed a few people, but shit, people kill other people all the time. Since we cannot tell what she is actually planning, we don’t know what the stakes are.

Yeah, this is why I think the VaccineCut rumor is so compelling. Usually Marvel is pretty good at giving you a villain that has both a point and a plan.

I disagree that her motive is clear. Essentially saying you have been treated unfairly is the basic human condition for 95% of the world. They just sound like whiny entitled shits. We have no idea what specific injustice has been done to them apart from feeling marginalized. I’m unhappy and mad isn’t a motive, it’s the opening lyric to a country song.

I don’t think (though it isn’t clear) that they want half of the population dead. I think that when they say they want the world the way it was, they just mean loose to non-existent borders. Again, they’re not really clear and I could be wrong - but I think they’re fine with all the people, they just want the freedom to go where they like, when they like without regard to which government runs the land where they happen to be at the time. (Possibly without any governments at all) Not (initially or altogether) monstrous, just incredibly naïve.

I would agree that it isn’t clear how 10 or so supersoldiers are going to get her from the point where they are now to their version of a better world.

Replying to myself - I am guessing that during the blip there was a lot of united nations - multi-government type groups that put aside their differences to try to hold the world together. Depending on who you were and where you stood (and a woman with a British accent was likely standing in a good-ish place) this could have been a positive thing.

Sometimes people are oblivious. When ADM and other companies were conspiring to fix prices, there was a federal informant in the room with them, but the conspirators didn’t take the idea that they might be caught seriously. At one point, an FBI agent (pretending to be a hotel employee) knocks on the door to deliver something to the guy who was wired, and one of the conspirators says “FTC?” as if it’s a joke to even think that the government could be working against them at that moment - even thought they are aware that the government would be opposed to them in general.

Sure, we can fanwank a lot of justifications. But that all these are, fanwanks.

And some people react violently. Her motive is unambiguous. You seem to be saying it’s not because either her reaction is extreme and wrong or because her plan makes no sense. Well, the latter is bad writing but is a different issue, and the former is very common amongst terrorists.

It’s right in the name, “Flag Smashers.”

They’re living in refugee camps, which is quite a bit more than just “feeling marginalized.”

I guess there’s a fine line between fanwanking and reading subtext, but I don’t find the Flag Smasher’s motives hard to figure out at all. They’re the people who, before the Snap, were at the bottom of society, and in the post-Snap world, found their fortunes improving. They’re people who were living in shitty apartments, or on the streets, who suddenly had nice houses, because there was so much property that was just abandoned. They were people who were poor, who now have access to the material riches owned by the half the planet that suddenly died. They’re workers who found themselves in a market were labor was suddenly the hardest resource to find - and therefore, the most valuable.

Then the Snap is undone, and everything goes back to how it was before, or worse - the original owner of the house you’re in wants it back, but the apartment you lived in before is gone and maybe was in a different country, so you end up on the streets. There’s a big push to get people back in their old jobs, and not much care given to the people who they’re displacing. We’ve seen the show that resources meant to go to people displaced by the unSnap aren’t getting to the people who need it, although we don’t really know why.

Basically, they’re people who were treated like trash before the Snap, were briefly important when there weren’t enough people around to do everything, and are now being treated like trash again now that things are back to normal, and they’re pissed about that.

They don’t seem to have a coherent plan about how to redress their grievances, but I don’t think that’s really a flaw. Most terrorist groups don’t really have a strong idea about how to realize their long term goals. The way the Flag Smashers have been sort of flailing about, trying to find actions they can take that would actually further their goals, and becoming more and more radical in the process, strikes me as fairly realistic.