The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) s01e02 – The Star-Spangled Man

So I don’t think the new Captain America (Wyatt Russell) is going to be a Neo-Nazi. Though I don’t think his supporting cast of BIPOC friends and loved ones is going to make it through the series because he’s going to need a inciting incident somewhere near episode four or five to send him on a confrontation path with the heroes because right now he’s just a bland, blond, blue-eyed do-gooder. Albeit one working for the GRC (Global Rebuilding Council) and the U.S. government.

“Falcon and Winter Soldier” obviously has a story bible on the deal with the GRC, which has countries trying to revert back to pre-Snap social structures, but they’re just peppering it into conversation.

They should’ve done Jamie Lee Curtis speaking over a wire-frame map.

Anyway.

This episode’s a lot better than the first one. Russell’s fine. Cle Bennett comes in as his partner, which had me remembering them from the comic; at least they don’t call him Bucky but “Battlestar” comes off goofier than it ever did in the comics.

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan get some of their bicker banter going and it’s magic, whether them just going off one another or during an action scene or during the silly but fun impromptu therapy session with Amy Aquino.

There’s good action direction—albeit kind of boring Bond-ish action set pieces—from Kari Skogland this outing. No more kills for Mackie or flashback ones for Stan. Not sure when we’ll get to restart the body counter (though Russell’s clearly gonna start popping combatants soon enough and not just when they’re heat-visioning tourists). It’s kind of nice not to have one.

Though the villains—the millennial gang known as the Flag Smashers (sure, Jan), who got used to eating avocado toast without xenophobia during the Blip (so post-Snap, pre-I’m Iron Man)—are eighties missing the point bad.

For comic readers, there’s a very big surprise inclusion, involving phenomenal guest star Carl Lumbly, and there’s a chance the show might do something with it. It’s a big door to open without going through.

However… the show got renewed for a second season, which sort of spoils whether or not they’re resolving Who Will Wield the Shield? in the next four episodes.

But it’s a lot better than before. Mackie and Stan are so fun together, though Stan gets all the character work; last episode feels like a tacked-on beginning to give Mackie some extra scenes at this point.

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