by Sam Acosta
The finale for “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” is finally here, and it does some things well while butchering others. While I didn’t feel completely let down by the ending of this series, everything is so rushed that some of the story beats end up feeling unresolved. Episodes four and five gave me a lot of hope for this finale, but this episode ultimately wastes that momentum and lands a little flat.
One thing I did love about the finale was Sam’s transition into the role of Captain America. First off, his new suit is just awesome, representing the perfect combination of the Falcon and Captain America styles. It also boasts some great upgrades thanks to Wakandan technology, making Sam formidable against even super soldiers. While the suit may not be a hundred percent comic accurate, it pays enough homage–and honestly is just plain cool enough–to make up for that.
The fights in this episode are extremely entertaining, with the action sequences being the one thing the series has been able to do well consistently. The fights between Sam, Bucky, Walker, and the Flag Smashers are engaging and help bridge the gaps between some of the weaker points in the episode. I even enjoyed the final showdown between Sam and Karli, which wasn’t so much of a fight as it was a demonstration of Sam’s unwavering dedication to true justice.
Speaking of which, I want to commend the speech that Sam gives to the GRC (and ultimately the world) when he makes his first public appearance as Captain America. It did a great job of laying a strong foundation for what Sam wants his title to mean for the world and what type of world he wants to help create. Plus, it didn’t come across as hokey or forced like such speeches normally do.
Sadly, however, this moment seems to be the only time a character is well developed in this episode. It feels as if every other character gets no time to actually be a character but is instead reduced to a body moving across the screen fulfilling their obligations to the plot. Even Bucky, whose name is in the title of the show, gets a lackluster conclusion. The scene where he reveals to Yori that he murdered his son as the Winter Soldier should have been a huge moment for Bucky’s character arc, yet the show breezes through it like it’s absolutely nothing!
Then there’s Walker’s turn away from evil, which happens so incredibly fast that I felt like it gave me whiplash. One minute, he’s brutally attacking the Flag Smashers and the next, he’s dropping all of that to save innocents. While I appreciate that he redeemed himself (kind of), his hero moment was so rushed that it felt artificial. I had no reason to believe or trust him besides the fact that there wasn’t enough time left in the episode for him to turn evil again. I do like that he is now the U.S Agent and will hopefully be coming back in the future. He is certainly an interesting enough character to be well-utilized in future projects.
Overall, this series represents a roundabout way to reach a conclusion that we all knew was coming: Sam becoming Captain America. While I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, I wish there was some greater takeaway or some major impact on the greater MCU. We did get introduced to a lot of new characters (U.S. Agent, Val, Sharon Carter as the Power Broker), but the show does so little with any of them. Instead, the show decides to merely put them on the shelf to be used later at the discretion of future writers. I wanted a glimpse at what would happen in the future, and I simply did not get that.
All that said, I am happy that Sam is the new Captain America; he fits the role well and will add a lot to future Marvel projects. I just wanted a bit more to come out of that development. While I was ultimately entertained, the best Marvel content does more than simply entertain: it gives us amazing stories to remember along the way. “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” (or as it is titled in the end credits, “Captain America and The Winter Soldier”) does not tell a memorable story. I am happy I watched it but feel absolutely no need to ever watch it again.
The new “Loki” series coming out later this year seems to be providing a different flavor of storytelling than its two predecessors. Looking at the range in quality between “WandaVision” and this series, I’m not going to try to predict whether Loki will live up to the growing hype. I want it to be successful and for Disney to keep being creative with the Marvel franchise. I know they can do it, I’ve seen them do it, and now they just need to actually keep doing it.
All episodes of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” are now streaming on Disney Plus.
Sam Acosta is a Sophomore Theatre Comprehensive Major and an A&E writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper, and writing plays.