The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has incredible action scenes, but also packs an emotional punch. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) try to pick up the pieces of their lives after the Blip. Reappearing after five years would be difficult for anyone. It is especially hard for superheroes with significant emotional and psychological issues. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier addresses their personal problems with thoughtful consideration. But doesn't let the drama overtake the high-octane storyline. The premier episode is brilliant across the board and a great start to the series.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier opens with a soaring fight scene that kicks your ass and breaks a foot doing it. Director Kari Skogland and showrunner/writer Malcolm Spellman come out of the gate swinging. They set the tone early for big-budget special effects and hardcore action. It's not bloody, but there's loads of gunplay and a legitimate body count. Sam Wilson is back to help out the Air Force against a new enemy. He's a better fighter, but burdened by a special gift from a dear friend.
Bucky Barnes is haunted by his decades of murderous deeds as a pawn of Hydra. He's an old man, alone in the world, and psychologically tormented by the blood on the Winter Soldier's hands. Bucky's been given a new lease on life. He's finally free, but struggles mightily with that freedom. He and Sam are facing different demons with little success. Sam's return to his childhood home and family does not go as planned. Even worse, a dark force is rising in the aftermath of the Blip. The government's plan to counter these new threats comes as a shocking surprise to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The tone of the series looks to be in line with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There's political subterfuge, a focus on deep character exposition, but at its core, the show is an ass-kicking action flick. Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, had previously commented that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a huge action movie broken down into six chapters. His description is right on the money after seeing the first episode.
The secondary characters look to play an important part in the show's development. And they are not the ones fans are expecting. The first episode introduces several new characters, brings back an old villain, and an important ally. None of which were seen in any of the trailer footage or one-sheets. Marvel Studios, once again, never reveals any important details. Much like WandaVision, you're going to have to strap in for the entire ride to get the complete picture.
I watched the premiere twice in a row. The opening is stupefyingly awesome. We've seen the Falcon do amazing things before, but nothing even remotely like this. If that's just the beginning, you can only imagine the insane action to come. The dramatic depth was also quite interesting. Kari Skogland is a veteran TV director who's done everything from The Walking Dead to The Handmaid's Tale. She and Malcolm Spellman (Empire, The Sopranos) are major talents behind the camera. Coupled with the star power of Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, the formula is there for greatness. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a production of Marvel Studios. New episodes launch every Friday exclusively on Disney+.