‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ — Episode 1 Review (Spoiler-Free)

ust two weeks after the success of Marvel’s first Disney+ original TV series, WandaVision, their next miniseries is hitting the streaming service. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a superhero series starring Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.

The team at Disney+ was nice enough to send me the first episode of the miniseries to watch a few days early, and I am going to give you some of my spoiler-free thoughts on the series premiere of Marvel’s newest buddy-cop action-comedy show.

For those of you who have kept up with the millions of trailers Marvel has released for this show in recent weeks, this series's tone is pretty easy to predict: a lighthearted series with a mismatched duo as the two leads, mixed with exciting action sequences.

Now, the series premiere offers us a taste of what is to come. If this show were a full-course meal, this episode would be the appetizer, setting up the world six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes do not interact in this episode, and the episode instead focuses on their individual stories.

Sam is grappling with how to uphold the legacy of Captain America’s shield, and Bucky is dealing with the trauma of his past as the Winter Soldier. The episode is mainly character-driven, doing a fantastic job of setting up these two heroes who have lost their way.

We have gotten to see hints of Sam and Bucky’s chemistry so far, namely in Captain America: Civil War, and we are sure to see more of it later on in the series. This episode establishes who they are as people first, and it does a great job of grounding these two superheroes.

It’s always fascinating to see how the world was affected by half of all life vanishing and coming back in the Blip. Spider-Man: Far From Home gave us a humorous perspective, episode 4 of WandaVision gave us the shock of the event, and this episode takes a new approach to it.

We learn more about how Sam’s family was affected by the Snap financially. There is a lot of tension in these effects, and it’s intriguing to see how this catastrophic event impacted regular people. The episode is another example of how the MCU excels at making its quieter moments interesting.

But this isn’t just a quiet episode — as you must have expected, this episode features an incredible action setpiece with the Falcon. The people behind this episode were definitely going for a large amount of spectacle, which pays off in volumes.

There is a sequence in this episode on a plane, and it is one of the most thrilling MCU scenes in recent memory. It feels right out of the Russo Brothers’ Captain America films, as we can practically feel the wind whipping through the air as Falcon flies at remarkable speeds.

Kari Skogland, the director of this episode, deserves praise for crafting what feels like a classic ’90s action film with 2021 special effects. The episode accentuates what these miniseries are all about: giving the supporting characters of the MCU a chance to be in the spotlight.

And so far, the show is off to a good start. The episode may be a bit more drama-heavy than people may have been expecting, but it’s a welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throw in a few familiar faces (which they did), and you have yourself a damn good series premiere.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” debuts on Disney+ March 19, 2021.

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings. For business inquiries: jonathansim6703@gmail.com

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