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'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Pilot Episode REVIEW: Back in Action

Marvel Studios' latest venture has been testing the waters of television, and the comic book behemoth is off to a strong start for their latest look while bringing back old heroes in new ways.

Hot on the heels of Avengers: Endgame (2019), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021-) is quick to leap into the action that Marvel is known for. Contrasting the calm that WandaVision (2021-) introduced itself with, this supersoldier series is gunning to pack a punch from its getgo. There is more of a classic Marvel feel with this show, with an establishing shot ensures more ferocity to follow. The concentration of the pilot episode is not purely for the flashiness of high-speed chase scenes and pulse-pounding fistfights, but to catch up with Sam "Falcon" Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky "The Winter Soldier" Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they adjust to modern life and the responsibilities that come with it.

Wilson, still at odds with himself while facing the implication of accepting Steve "Captain America" Rogers' (Chris Evans) shield, is presented with the challenges of balancing life not only as an Avenger but as an everyday civilian. There's a more in-depth look at his pre-Avengers days and his family history as more details of his past are unearthed, adding dimensions to the hero's backstory. Insight to who he truly is shown through his morals, values, and ethics. He is asked to separate himself from his alter-ego of Falcon and asks those around him to do the same.

This may be the most personality that Barnes has been given within the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Recovering from his time as a human weapon, Barnes is more mortal than he's ever been as he is forced to face his traumas and adjust to the reality of the modern-day. Still, in separation from Wilson, Barnes is set up to face his own woes, and to take on the world for himself, even if the two are to cross paths once more. It's been ten years since he's been able to stand on his own, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier asks for him to do just that.

The lines between cinema and television are blurred as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier feels more of an extension of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), straying away from an episodic formula and defaulting on Marvel's well-known tactics of three-act setups for a glaring, teasing cliffhanger. Considering the nature of the series, and how it prepares to sink into societal issues of race, chauvinistic nationalism, politics, and prejudice, there is the expectation that similar themes from The Winter Soldier are the crux of the series. Comics have been political and provocative since their creation; The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is sure to be a reflection of the world outside of fiction.

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