Turns out forty-five minutes is the just right length for a Falcon and the Winter Soldier, even if Sebastian Stan gets startlingly little to do in the final episode of a show where his character’s name is in the title. Stan ends the series with less of a character arc than either extremely shallow villain Erin Kellyman or murderous Captain America Wyatt Russell (it’s really bad but I think Chris Pratt’s better than Russell, who manages to be worse with less than dialogue than with more here).
A lot of the episode is Anthony Mackie’s, which is fine and good and maybe even great, if it wasn’t all a bunch of respectability politics for the Black guy in the end and failing upward for the white one. No real spoilers but let’s just say there’s a Don Cheadle-sized hole in the episode, which seems to be more about setting up casting in subsequent Disney+ Marvel shows than resolving anything for the protagonists.
There’s a bunch of action; most of it’s really bland superpeople fighting in cities at night stuff—though I guess there are some cool flying sequences—before there’s a big warehouse fight section. The warehouse fight section, which involves a reveal I called last episode, is fairly bad. I was actually expecting it to be good—director Kari Skogland did what I thought was a Welles homage a couple episodes ago but I think it must’ve been a mistake. The action directing this episode wouldn’t fly on an Arrowverse show.
Good acting from Mackie, which is all that matters (mostly because no one else has enough dialogue for it to matter), and it’s nice to see Carl Lumbly but the resolution on him is peculiar.
Everything about the show, however, ends up being a cop out. There’s no significant character development—the entire cast (so Daniel Brühl, Adepero Oduye, Emily VanCamp, even Julia-Louis Dreyfus) pops up in the epilogue to remind viewers they were on the show (in Oduye’s case) and they can return for future MCU ventures (everyone else).
Last episode I thought Falcon and the Winter Soldier would’ve worked better as a movie, but not anymore; not with such a nothing finish.
There’s some cool technology special effects (who doesn’t want to see Iron Man-tech but from Wakanda) but it’s barely in it and doesn’t get a good showcase because Skogland’s really bad at the action scenes here.
Again, no spoilers, but there is no Poe and Finn get girlfriends at the last minute—even though there’s a threat—but there’s also no real resolve to Stan and Mackie’s character relationship arc because Stan’s not in the episode enough for them to do one. He and Mackie have like two and a half scenes together and I’m being generous counting one of them. The half is because there’s no dialogue just music for a montage. And the generous one is one of the boring action scenes.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier seems to be promising something more interesting will be coming for everyone involved—except Oduye (oh, wait, I don’t think she gets any dialogue here)—which is never a great way to end five hours and forty-five minutes.
Stay for the end credits if you want a whiff of a “surprise.” No wonder they ran WandaVision first.