On April 23, the sixth and final episode of Marvel’s short Falcon and the Winter Soldier series was released on Disney+, but unlike WandaVision, it didn’t have nearly as strong of a finish. The show follows its title characters, otherwise known as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, respectively, six months after the events of “Avengers: Endgame”. The story follows the two heroes as they team up against a group of rebels with terroristic methods who believe life was better during the “blip”, the five year period during which half of the human population was missing due to Thanos, which was reversed in the events of “Avengers:Endgame”. Meanwhile, Wilson struggles with the idea of taking on the mantle of Captain America, especially with what it would mean to become a symbol of America as a Black man, given that the country isn’t exactly free of racism.
Although the show has its good points, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. Unlike Marvel’s first TV series, WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Shoulder doesn’t have nearly as inventive of a format or storyline, and doesn’t deliver quite as well. Perhaps the largest flaw is that the story is spread across far too many conflicts and characters, and doesn’t spend enough time on any, leaving things feeling too undeveloped and the storyline spread too thin. One of the big advantages of a TV series format compared to a movie’s is the ability to slow down the pacing of a story so that it can be more fully fleshed out, but Marvel fails to take advantage of this with the show’s short length. If Marvel wanted to keep The Falcon and the Winter Soldier brief, they should have written a simpler story that could be effectively told within that time. Most significantly, despite the title, the series doesn’t spend as much time as it should with its two main characters. The main purpose of the show is to depict a transition that establishes Sam Wilson as the new Captain America, but with how much time the story spends away from that conflict, much of what we see on screen seems to only distract from that main purpose. Overall, the show is not overtly bad. However, in the end its shortcomings result in it being overshadowed by wasted potential.
Although the show fell short of what one would normally expect and hope for from Marvel, it still had its enjoyable moments. It’s definitely a show for Marvel fans only, since the show builds off of many of the preceding Marvel movies, and doesn’t make much sense without that additional context. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this show, I wouldn’t recommend against it, either. If someone goes into it with the appropriate expectations, they can definitely still enjoy themselves, but if you’re only interested in what it sets up for future Marvel films, reading a simple summary will do the show no less justice than actually watching it.