A lot happens in this episode, some of it good, some of it not so good. Here’s your Falcon and Winter Soldier review, “The Star-Spangled Man”.
We start with a look at John Walker, a highly decorated and extremely fit soldier that was hand-picked from his exemplary service. Unlike the comics, Walker is a good man who understands the weight of what he’s been given. While he has no superpowers, he is at Batman levels of human performance.
We immediately enter in on Sam ready to start a mission where they are working on a lead for the Flag Smashers. Bucky comes in to berate Sam for giving up the shield. He tags along with Sam to continue trying to understand what Sam was thinking.
They find their target and begin your requisite fight, this time on moving semis. The Flag Smasher is all enhanced. When things look bad, the new Captain America and his new sidekick, Battlestar. (Galactica?) come in to help them out, with similar results.
After the bad guys (or ARE they?) manage to get away, Walker reaches out to Sam and Bucky but are rebuffed. I can understand Bucky’s and Sam’s unwillingness but really, Walker seems like a good guy and they kinda come across like dicks.
Meanwhile, the two Avengers need to track down where these guys are getting their powers. The Flag Smashers have problems of their own as they take the supplies they stole but are nearly captured by the Powerbroker. One of them sacrifices himself so the others can get away. They are treated like Robin Hood by people who hide them and are seriously beloved.
Bucky knows a guy that might be able to help and that’s when we are introduced to Isaiah Bradley, a former super-soldier who’s pretty bitter about the whole thing. He has an issue with Bucky as when they met during the Korean War, Bucky was still all Hydrasized. He refuses to help them and kicks them out of his house.
That’s when the police show up and we get an on the nose moment where the police try to help the white guy by leaning on Sam until they realize who they both are. Then Bucky gets arrested, politely and apologetically.
Bucky’s shrink shows up thanks to Captain America’s intervention and she brings Sam and Buck in for an impromptu session for trailer purposes.
Walker again reaches out to them and they again refuse so he finally washes his hands of them and tells them just don’t get in his way. Meanwhile, Bucky and Sam decide to talk to Helmut Zemo in hopes of getting some information.
Where do I begin? The story itself is fine, I really have no issues with the plot basics, it’s all in the execution. Unlike the last episode, the character interactions feel forced. Bucky and Sam banter because it’s a buddy cop movie. They act immature when the script needs them to.
The insta-therapy session was really cringing. While it did get to the meat of the matter, Buck’s objections to Sam giving up the shield, everything else in that scene is eye-rolling.
Then the police showing up made no sense. I don’t know why they showed up in the neighborhood as Sam and Bucky weren’t really doing anything to draw any attention to themselves.
It was all to have a ham-fisted social justice moment and then PLOT TWIST, it’s BUCKY that gets arrested. Yes, they were nice to him because they realized they were Avengers, but the subtext wasn’t subtle.
I did like Flag Smashers, there’s obviously a lot more going on there, what with the Powerbroker name drop and all. I would like to see more of that and less of what we got.
Making Sam and Bucky look like douchebags when we know Walker shouldn’t be Cap doesn’t help.
We’ll see if it improves next week.