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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier - on Disney+ from 19 March


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I think what I find interesting about it is that it’s on such a knife edge. Depending on where they’re going with the story, it’s either going to have to tackle the fact that Sam really isn’t that different from Bucky and has also been brainwashed into decades of murder for someone else’s purposes or try to make some sort of ham fisted excuse for the fact that they’re both killers but Sam is a good one. The weird “Bucky killed people who were powerless to stop him like an innocent scientist which is totally different from Sam using his robot suit to slaughter 20 regular soldiers” stuff makes me think it’s the latter, but Carly is quite interesting and the stuff she’s saying makes way more sense than the usual MCU “you wronged me once so MURDER” villain motivations. 
 

That first scene with Sam rescuing the hostage is either going to come back around and make a point about the American military which is genuinely quite brave or be the most tone deaf thing in the world. There’s not much room for shooting down the center. 

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I liked the way that the phrase used to describe the serum in this episode (I think it was "power makes you more of yourself") calls back to Erskine's original description of it in The First Avenger:

 

"The serum was not ready. But more important, the man. The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows... compassion."

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I just started watching this on Thursday and now up to date as of this morning.  I came in thinking I don't particularly like either of these characters but have been pleasantly surprised it's held my attention.  I like the fact it's put some meat on the bones of these two with some background stories and it's not always been just about fight scenes.  I'm not sure if the villains of the programme are particularly interesting to be fair but they seem to have been worked in to give Bucky and Sam a reason to be together.  I'm a Marvel fan, have been since being a kid but not to the point I know a lot about the side characters and I do find the idea of Captain America being replaced a little crap to be fair.  The other problem is he has a massively punchable face, so I hope he becomes a bad guy and gets his arse served to him time and time again!

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I'm a big MCU fan. Winter Soldier and Civil War are in my top 3 MCU movies.

 

Four out of six episodes in- and I'm giving this a fail rating. It has very little time to redeem itself, and I'm not expecting it to do so.

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Just watched the 4th episode. 

 

This is pish. So much stupid writing and situations that I'm failing to give a fuck where it goes next. 

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4 hours ago, GwiDan said:

Who else didn’t realise that new Captain America is Kurt Russell’s son?


At this point probably very few, but I suspect this is a career making role. He’s not the guy from the zombie nazi movie anymore.

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I’m up to date. This is weird. The core plot is  decent but it feels like it keeps going off on tangents, spending too long with them and then rushing the stuff that actually works really well.

 

Zemo is a really great character and I hope this is just the start of a bigger role for him in the MCU, but he is also one of the problems in that his presence here creates a lot of necessary plot fluff. 
 

After 4 episodes its disappointing to say that it only now feels like it knows where it’s going but hopefully like Zemo this is just the start of what feels like it could be a brilliant step into the next phase.

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There's so many interesting concepts to explore here, the concept behind the flag smashers for example, but it all feels so mindless. For me the biggest problem is that it's assuming too much knowledge from previous MCU films, including Winter Soldier, which I haven't seen since it was released in 2014. 

Certain characters have returned and I've got no clue who they are so a lot of the dialogue is lost on me. 

 

I'm also finding the two leads unengaging, neither of their characters being particularly strong and the lack of chemistry means it isn't greater than the sum of its parts. 

 

I'll keep going. At this point you can't really miss any MCU content otherwise you get even more lost, so I'm watching for continuity rather than pure enjoyment. 

 

That said the last ten minutes of the latest episode did grab my attention so hopefully it'll start picking up. 

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This is getting worse by the week. The plot is wafer thin and boring. The characters are tedious, from the leads to the rubbish flag-shaggers. The lead supersoldier is just meh, a mediocre actress with no real screen presence, absolutely zero air of authority, and really flat line delivery. Such a weak villain.

 

And then there’s Homelander, sorry Poundlander. He’s a bit rubs too.

 

This is going nowhere. It’s crap. Roll on Loki.

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2 hours ago, PeteJ said:

 For me the biggest problem is that it's assuming too much knowledge from previous MCU films, including Winter Soldier, which I haven't seen since it was released in 2014. 

 

Is it? I've watched them all recently but I can't think of anything in it that expects you to have watched Winter Soldier to understand it?

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5 hours ago, Broker said:

 

Is it? I've watched them all recently but I can't think of anything in it that expects you to have watched Winter Soldier to understand it?

I have zero recollection of the character Sharon as an example. I literally don't ever remember seeing her before. I don't even know how much she shows up in Winter Soldier, I can just see she appears in it via IMDB. 

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34 minutes ago, PeteJ said:

I have zero recollection of the character Sharon as an example. I literally don't ever remember seeing her before. I don't even know how much she shows up in Winter Soldier, I can just see she appears in it via IMDB. 


I’m the same with her; dimly remember seeing her before but have no recollection of who she was or what apparently-horrible-but-also-justifiable crime she’d committed that caused her to be hiding out in crime city.

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She helped them get out of The Raft (is it The Raft in the MCU) but i don't remember seeing that happen maybe it was the end credits scene in El Capitan 2 but i haven't watched it since the cinema and all i remember from it really is the El Capitan Hates Walls memes. 

 

I thought they all got pardoned for breaking out but maybe that don't extend to her, i don't

know?

 

I'll be honest i'm not really sure i care much about her character either. 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Broker said:

Is it? I've watched them all recently but I can't think of anything in it that expects you to have watched Winter Soldier to understand it?

 

Without having watched Winter Soldier and also Civil War, none of this series can make much sense at all, can it? You have no idea who Falcon or the Winter Soldier are, you don't know Zemo or Sharon. Even having watched every Marvel movie, I don't really understand Zemo's perspective on things, or really remember who he was/what he was doing. I don't recall if that's Winter Soldier or Civil War, mind you.

 

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40 minutes ago, Arn X Treme said:

She helped them get out of The Raft (is it The Raft in the MCU) but i don't remember seeing that happen maybe it was the end credits scene in El Capitan 2 but i haven't watched it since the cinema and all i remember from it really is the El Capitan Hates Walls memes. 

 

I thought they all got pardoned for breaking out but maybe that don't extend to her, i don't

know?

 

I'll be honest i'm not really sure i care much about her character either. 

 

Sharon steals Cap's shield and Falcon's wings and gives them back to them after they are arrested for trying to help Bucky escape/stop Black Panther killing him, after the U.N bombing in Zurich in Civil War.  She also provides them with intel on where to find him before her bosses get to it, allowing them to find him and setting up the final run to the airport that results in the big fight, injuring of Rhodey and the discovery of the Stark/Winter Soldier link that ultimately sees Zemo's plan succeed.

It would appear that despite being on the run for a couple of years, working as the Secret Avengers, both Sam and Bucky eventually get Presidential Pardons and are allowed to come back to the U.S and even, in Sam's case, start working for the Govt again. Bucky... I have no idea what he does. He's literally a man out of time and I have no idea how he lives. Maybe he had shares from the 1930's that have matured well and he's living off them.

Anyway, Sharon  - if you believe here, not sure I do - appears to have gone on the run after the aforementioned stealing in Civil War and settled in Madripoor where she has NOT for a Presedential Pardon. Seems weird she wouldn't when Bucky was a literal assassin for hire for Hydra but hey ho. 

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1 hour ago, Uncle Mike said:

 

Without having watched Winter Soldier and also Civil War, none of this series can make much sense at all, can it? You have no idea who Falcon or the Winter Soldier are, you don't know Zemo or Sharon. Even having watched every Marvel movie, I don't really understand Zemo's perspective on things, or really remember who he was/what he was doing. I don't recall if that's Winter Soldier or Civil War, mind you.

 

 

I think there's a difference between "having watched those two movies" (which I had, and could recall the broad beats of the Winter Soldier's storyline) and "remembering every detail of those two movies, which is necessary to understand this new TV series". Ultimately both Sharon and Zemo are relatively minor characters in the MCU (she's a two-movie bit part, he's an underwhelming one-movie bad guy) but this show expects you to know exactly who they are. I can understand why people are confused. Especially as that knowledge only became necessary in episode 3.

 

I see Disney+ have added recaps of both characters to the "Marvel Legends" section of the service, I wish I'd known that as they're probably helpful for getting people back up to speed.

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54 minutes ago, Arn X Treme said:

Yeah, I have a few ideas on what Agent-13 is up to but knowing this TV show she'll be up to nothing.

 

She may be:

 

Spoiler

The Powerbroker

 

This week's episode was a lot of fun, and Wyatt Russell is a much better villain than the really weak, probably-in-Hollyoaks actress who has zero screen presence. But maybe that's the point, who knows? Anyway, it doesn't seem like 6 episodes is really enough for this, given that we only just now seem to be getting to some compelling stuff. The fights this week were decent and well staged, though. I like Bucky and Zemo a lot, but the massive elephant in the room is that Sam is soooooooooo bland as a lead. I was hoping they would make a lot more of him in this show but they really haven't so far. Anything interesting, like the question of whether there could or should be a black Captain America, is only interesting as a general idea, not because it potentially applies to Sam who is the magnolia wall of the MCU.

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The Falcon is flightless after episode 1, and the winter soldier isn't the winter soldier any more, so it's a weird title. Might I suggest Rod Dull and Emu instead?

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2 hours ago, Uncle Mike said:

 

Without having watched Winter Soldier and also Civil War, none of this series can make much sense at all, can it? You have no idea who Falcon or the Winter Soldier are, you don't know Zemo or Sharon. Even having watched every Marvel movie, I don't really understand Zemo's perspective on things, or really remember who he was/what he was doing. I don't recall if that's Winter Soldier or Civil War, mind you.

 


I think it works pretty well at setting up stuff. If we assume that the viewer is a hypothetical person who has never watched any MCU productions before, there’s quite a lot of setup. Plot threads that I assumed would persist like Sam working for the government, his sister and Bucky’s psychiatrist seem to have only been there to provide exposition on who they are and what their history is.

 

Sam is introduced as a guy with wings who beats up terrorists. Bucky is introduced as a guy who used to be a spy but wasn’t in control of his actions and now feels guilty. Zemo is someone they’ve tangled with before, Sharon is an old contact of theirs who has had to go into hiding. None of that stuff is assumed knowledge, it’s all reiterated in dialogue. As someone with a pretty encyclopaedic knowledge of the MCU there’s been a number of scenes that just repeated stuff I already know for the benefit of new people or members of the audience with only a passing knowledge. They’ve explained the blip and stuff. Even who captain America is has kind of been reintroduced through Walker. The stuff that goes unexplained like the code words Zemo says to Bucky could be inferred and is then repeated through the flashback scene in Wakanda. The fact that Steve Rogers was the previous Captain America is mentioned at the Smithsonian. 
 

I don’t know if it’s having grown up with comics, but for me there’s nothing wrong with a story that implies a history you might not have seen. My introductions to these kind of stories were random issues of X-Men and Spider-Man which would often mention past events in passing with a little editors note telling you which other comic to read if you want to know more about that. I loved that stuff, the giant web of story that was all there if you wanted it but wasn’t needed. As a long time reader, a lot of the way it’s handled through clunky exposition where characters state things they both already know in conversation does nothing for you, it’s all there in case someone decides to start from Uncanny X-Men 341. I’d say this is pretty similar, though I think the exposition is handled better.

 

I honestly think one of the biggest problems with the MCU is that people assume they should remember everything and don’t engage with what they’re being shown in the same way they would if it was all fresh. If this was our first ever interaction with these characters I think a new viewer would be able to easily infer a lot of the history of the characters and setting, but people assume that because there’s previous stuff they’re supposed to know everything about it and so don’t pick over the details and their implications like they would if it was fresh. There’s nothing here as unfamiliar as Obi-Wan talking about the Clone Wars or Roy mentioning the Tanhauser Gate, but people understand that those things are world building because they know there’s no previous stories. 

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I think that set of points is largely fine. Like, yes you roughly know who everyone is, and I also assume the chance of people watching from cold is essentially zero.

 

But, especially with Zemo, I don't think I understand his motivation or characterisation really. He just dislikes superheroes? Maybe? But he doesn't seem to mind Bucky being one. He's helping so he can end them, and now he's done that and run away. And I think it's not always clear to the non-encyclopedic viewer how much of any given gap is in the current writing, the previous writing or knowledge you've been assumed to have. I feel like they've rewritten Zemo's motivations a bit, but I'm not confident.

 

More specifically for this series, his big contribution was to take them to an incredibly well-known island of ill-repute and introduce them to a widely-known international terrorist-funder. He didn't really need to be broken out for that.

 

I dunno. I think my main issue is that the leads aren't given roles where their apparent chemistry and charisma you see in their PR junkets is allowed to be on screen. It's sort of pitched as an odd couple cop buddy series, but isn't one.

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I think the problem is that I also don’t fully understand Zemo’s motivations, but I know that I’m not supposed to yet and/or they’re just badly written. As I’ve watched Civil War recently, I’m fully aware of exactly what his motivations were there and have mostly the same questions as you, but there’s no part of me that is worried that it’s due to me not remembering something from earlier on in the MCU. 
 

In Civil War he doesn’t like the avengers because his family died in Sokovia during Age of Ultron. His problem is specifically with the Avengers as a group, and he’s decided to turn them against each other rather than fighting them outright. At the end he finds some other Winter Soldiers but kills them because he doesn’t want more super people in the world.

 

It seems to me that in his time in prison that vendetta has turned into him being against the very concept of people with abilities. Bucky assumes that too, I guess based on him killing the other Winter Soldiers and so recruits him because he will be motivated to help them find the super soldiers. There’s a definite disconnect where his knowledge of hydra which was nominally why they broke him out hasn’t been relevant but his previously unstated underworld connections and access to money and travel have been what he has provided. That’s just bad writing I think.
 

Sam asks him the same question you had about Bucky in the new episode, though he doesn’t answer. I’d guess he’s either planning to kill Bucky later, or that he has decided Bucky is ok, possibly because he feels guilty for using him. He does acknowledge in the new one that Steve was ok despite having taken the serum which might suggest that he is willing to accept certain powered people if he thinks they’ve proven that they deserve it. 

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