What would the state of entertainment be without Marvel? That’s not to say the Marvel Cinematic Universe carries Hollywood on its back, but creator Malcolm Spellman has surely used every tool he can to create superhero-centric TV and movies that make up most of the demographics. Marvels new series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes the idea of representation in superhero stories up a notch.
Throughout the hour-long pilot, the series delivers the usual Marvel tropes: action, witty dialogue, and man-versus-villain fight scenes. It might seem repetitive and overwhelming, especially if those who are hoping Marvel will tell their typical story a little differently. Still, there are a few themes beyond the action that work more subtly to keep the viewer engaged.
The series picks up after the festivities of Avengers: Endgame when Captain America (Chris Evans, Defending Jacob) passes the baton or, in this case, his iconic shield to Sam Wilson, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie, Outside the Wire). Hoping that whoever holds the shield becomes the new Captain America, Wilson dismisses the idea out of respect for his late friend and his feelings of unworthiness. Elsewhere, Bucky the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan, The Devil All the Time) deals with post-traumatic stress disorder from his days as a brainwashed assassin, and his main focus is to mend the pain it caused. .
Even though the first episode separates the main characters into their own plots, the series opens doors for conversations about the two characters as it builds its plot. In particular, the creators made sure to illustrate the idea of a black man becoming the face of America’s most beloved superhero and the underlying angst of taking on such a role due to the fear of the possibly racist reaction of the public.
It’s not as open and direct as it could have been, mainly because Marvels’ current role in the entertainment industry is to bring action and adventure to viewers, not discussions. on serious matters. Nevertheless, this raises two questions: was it done on purpose? Was it done to help people understand what it means to be in the shoes of a black man in America who has the opportunity to be in a position of extreme power?
Because the series portrays the significant trials and tribulations that black Americans often go through, such as when Sam and his sister are denied a loan under suspicious circumstances, this is one of Marvels’ most important projects. The fact that Marvel gets political in this story and still manages to keep the younger kids intrigued makes this show unlike the studios more apolitical. He doesn’t hesitate to describe the internal and external forces Sam faces while encouraging audiences to read between the lines.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier highlights one of the most significant themes of America’s current state, and that’s what makes the show powerful. It allows you to see it from different angles and opens doors for viewers’ own interpretations and questions regarding the representation of the black community in the world of superheroes.
Everyday Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at [email protected].
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