Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made its debut today on Disney+ and has received stellar reviews. The show is currently sitting at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics proclaiming it’s the perfect balance between action and depth. AwardsWatch gave the first episode of the series 4.5 out of 5 stars. What stood out was the approach this series appears to be taking towards these characters. However, the series does make a conscious effort to hook everyone right from the start.
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said as much at a press conference promoting the series for journalists, stating, “If we’re gonna do a series with Falcon and Winter Soldier in it, we need to at least start with the best action that we’ve ever seen.” Anyone who has seen that first episode will attest to the sheer majesty of that sequence involving Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).
One thing critics did pick up on almost immediately is how the series digs deep into Bucky and Sam. What events shaped them? How has the trauma of the last 5 years impacted these two? Award-winning series director Kari Skogland (The Handmaid’s Tale) noted, “It was important, I think, that we respected that we were gonna be into peoples’ perspectives and so we really had to go in deep character and be able to sustain that.” What makes the series click, though, is how balanced it is. For every deep moment, there are another two that give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier a Lethal Weapon vibe. Head Writer Malcolm Spellman acknowledged the connection the series has to the film.
There’s no denying that the chemistry of Sebastian and Anthony does evoke that of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. It doesn’t seem that they are trying to mimic Riggs and Murtaugh, however. As Mackie explains it, “We allow ourselves to be our best selves and we correct ourselves when we’re not our best selves.” The highlight of the press conference came when some asked the panel that after Don Cheadle’s surprise appearance in episode 1 if fans were in for any more cameos in store. Head writer Malcolm Spellman explained that while he can’t say who they are, be prepared for many pleasant surprises to come. Let the speculation begin.
The first episode of the six-part The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney+. New episodes drop Fridays.
Photo by Chuck Zlotnick