‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ addresses social issues

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Sophie Talbert

The newest television show in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” tackles uncomfortable political and social issues in the midst of its cinematic action sequences, while following fan-favorite characters, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes.

The six-episode series features Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, who play Sam and Bucky, respectively. 

Together, they navigate a world following the turmoil of both “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), where half of the world’s population was eliminated by Thanos before being brought back with the Avengers’ help.

While Sam struggles to deal with being a Black man who has been handed the legacy of Captain America by Steve Rogers himself, Bucky attends therapy to attempt to reconcile his past as an assassin. 

Sam and Bucky are then forced to team up against the Flag-Smashers, an extremist group who work to recreate a world without nationalist borders. Along the way, audiences are introduced to the new captain America, John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell, who clashes with Sam and Bucky. 

Fans see familiar faces including Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, the former SHIELD agent, and Daniel Brühl as Zemo, the vengeful villain of “Captain America: Civil War” (2016).

However, the most memorable aspects of the show are not the seamlessly choreographed fight scenes nor the impressive cinematography. 

Instead, it’s treatment of uncomfortable social issues such as racism, mental health, the treatment of veterans and displaced refugees. 

Malcolm Spellman, the head writer of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” spoke with Variety about the intentional narrative surrounding such timely topics.

“I think this is going to be an extremely relevant show in a lot of ways, and that is not by accident,” Spellman said. “Those moments…are pointed, and we dig deeper and deeper and deeper as the series progresses.”

Although greatly differing in tone and plot from the previous success of “Wandavision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” continues to prove that the medium of television allows for greater character development of the beloved MCU Characters. 

“Seeing storylines of them both struggling with mental health and life issues is something to look forward to in the series just because superheroes are typically one-dimensional,” FSC sophomore Gabbie Zweidenger said.

The first four episodes of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” are currently available on Disney+, with new episodes airing Fridays at 3 a.m. EST.

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