Some moments don't feel earned so early in the show, the B-storylines of the first episodes are totally absent. The villains are not interesting yet. And I think we deserve a big exposition scene to explain us what the situation is after the blip. Also what happened to Steve Rogers? It's strange that he would keep quiet, and I can't help thinking he'll have a cameo, and even if he doesn't, they're definitely trying to keep it as an option for the future.
So my issues are mostly about the fact that it's six episodes only, and the constraints of being part of a larger universe that isn't dramatized by a showrunner but by a producer who tries to keep doors opened for writers and directors, which will always be the limit of the MCU: that it has a hard time being more than the sum of its parts.
But lots of fun with the interactions between Stan and Mackie, and I enjoyed they had a all sequence about John Walker. In the end, for all its flaws, I enjoy it and look forward to the next episode.
Episode 4 is the best so far, they really take their time to develop the characters. For best and worse, this is the most DC, the MCU has ever been.
Something we're not used to with Marvel, we understand the long process that leads Walker down to the last scene of the episode. Despite the fans shitting on him on social media, he's actually a complex character, well-written for the most part, who isn't naive about american imperialism, and wonders how he can best help. The writing of Sam peaks in this episode, he wasn't very developed in the films, much less interesting than Bucky in TWS and CW but this episode builds him as an inspiring hero, filled with doubts, that he fights through a strong moral compass.
The Flagsmashers storyline is lacking any sense of agency. It's most likely due to the virus storyline being cut from the film but without it, the first episodes just felt like Flagsmashers are just wondering around most of the time while Sam, Bucky and Walker are overly concerned with them. They killed some people in the previous episode but before that it was just too awkward how interested the protagonists are in a couple of people with supersoldier serum. And now, after murdering a bunch of people in the last episode, the issue has flipped on its head as they are framing Karli as this lost soul that simply needs some talking to, instead of a mass killer, and the only people actively concerned over capturing (killing) her, are the two villains of the show (Zemo and Walker), whereas it's the heroes who are now going through the motions.
It just feels like the show is more concerned with the message they are trying to convey than with how they want to convey it, as they have some great ideas and moments but it's all lacking momentum.
Last edited by LelekPL on April 10th, 2021, 2:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
But I am not incredibly into this, and I’m disappointed that I even feel this way, because on paper, this should have been something I really was supposed to enjoy a lot. But a lot of it just doesn’t work for me on an emotional level. I mostly blame the movies that don’t really lay that groundwork for it to properly work.
The whole Sam dilemma with the shield/taking Cap’s mantle just... doesn’t really work for me. There are a lot of things the viewers are just supposed to accept because we’re told so. We know Steve wanted Sam to follow in his footsteps (and it’s canon). But ultimately, when you refer back to movies... why? Other than not turning his back away on Steve and Nat in WS, what exactly does Sam do throughout the series that makes him worthy? More worthy than anyone else? More worthy than even Bucky? Bucky doesn’t really do much (as Bucky, post WS) either, but at the very least he has years long close friendship with Steve so he isn’t as blank of a character (for a lack of better words) as Sam is in this context, because Sam has none of that emotional foundation. As the series starts, we’re supposed to think Bucky has been ghosting Sam’s attempts to reach out, and once they finally meet, they are reminiscent of an awkward couple who don’t know if they should be happy to see each other or should hate each other (which is like a trope for “they really do care for each other”). But the show takes place just a few months after Endgame (righ?), and throughout the entirety of the MCU movies up until this point - have we ever even seen Bucky and Sam... interact with each other that much..? I honestly cannot even recall which is pretty telling.
Basically my beef is not with the direction the show is going (Sam becoming next Cap), but with how there seems to be a big missing piece in this puzzle in terms of emotional core and character relationship building, and we’re just supposed to be fine with it, cuz whatever idk. There are some brilliant moments though - there’s a scene with a black kid wanting to call Sam “Black Falcon”, while Sam himself wants to be “just” Falcon. That was honestly great, and a great showcase of the disparity within the black communities in the US. Some want to acknowledge the pride in their black identities and tie said pride to their heroes, others like Sam, do not want their race to come before themselves, and be all other see when they see him; they want to be “just” heroes. Probably part of why he rejects the shield initially - he wouldn’t want to be a Black Captain America.
I also couldn’t care less about the villains, this Karli girl especially.
ALSO. This really does look like a TV show. To the point it feels like a con. Which, again, considering how TV-like Winter Soldier looked like (and yet, it’s TOP3 MCU for me), is pretty telling. I seriously want to love this, and I hope I will at some point, or maybe I’m totally wrong here and I’ll see the light and change my views eventually. But so far I’m okay with seeing it every week, but I’m not really over the moon about it.
In terms of its message being "muddled" it's not more of an issue here, than with TDK with its "is it pro or anti war on terror?" or TDKR with its "pro or anti stand on Capitalism?". The "muddling" is clearly done so with intent, although in Falcon and Winter Soldier, its politics tie much more to the human story of its protagonists, who are dealing with and discovering new examples of social inequality as well, whereas with Bruce the politics of Gotham was more additional to his struggle with grief.
Like I said, the issue here is the agency. The ending to the last episode might have created some and tension but I guess it will further sideline the Flagsmashers storyline.