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The Falcon & The Winter Soldier

Totenkindly

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I'm actually excited about this, even if it's more of a "back to Marvel" approach. The Winter Soldier is my favorite Marvel film (arguably, vs Infinity War), and Bucky's one of my favorite MCU heroes.

I'm also excited that they are bringing back Zemo and Agent 13 for this series, and revisiting Cap's decision to have Sam take his place. Bringing in USAgent / John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell, Kurt & Goldie's son) to deal with that whole mess is just pretty cool too -- although I think there's barely any clips of Walker in the various trailer footage out there. This series is six episodes, each about 50-55 minutes long. So far those who have seen the opener give it solid marks, but I guess we'll see. Comments have said it does try to deal with some more of the fallout (character wise) before Avengers 3 & 4 came around and kind of dwarfed everything else.

Which would be great if Marvel feels comfortable enough now to pursue more character depth in their shows and maybe their films. They've typically tried but I hope they dig in further, to make things more than just a 'comic book' movie.
 

Totenkindly

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Final Trailer


This actually makes Sam/Falcon look pretty awesome. It's like being Hawkeye -- "oh, that's the guy who shoots arrows." Here Sam has mostly just been "the guy who could fly" -- and he has to use his wings to do it. So he often feels kind of low-powered and they've done little to really expand on his ability since "The Winter Soldier" (he gets about a minute to show his stuff with the ending heli-carrier sequence).

The trailers here seem to be doing a lot more with him, ability-wise, and trying to merge his wings even more into a unique strategic fighting style. So that is pretty welcome.
 

Totenkindly

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Dependable pilot, basically establishing this is going to be a series with dependable action pieces as well as explorations of civilian life when someone's not being an Avenger per se. It's also Marvel's attempt to be responsible and explore questions that we've always wondered, like how the world is reintegrating after "the blip" or how superheroes make a living, etc.

The opener was okay for me. Flying sequences don't do a lot for me, tension-wise; I much prefer personal combat style set pieces; but it's clear Marvel's going to invest in some decent set pieces throughout season 1. And I appreciate knowing Marvel is going to treat their leads as people and explore back stories / personal issues; it's just I found the bank loan / gotta fix the boat + hey let's go on a date of episode 1 to be a little too low-energy for me right now.

I think I enjoyed most Bucky's therapy session, mainly because his therapist wasn't afraid to press him when he kept providing fluff/evasive answers. She's got his number and she doesn't let up, even when he's persistent in blowing off her questions. I think the biggest thing to realize is that Bucky yes is still having nightmares from his times as the Winter Soldier, and feels guilt over the things he's done in his life... and the experience still isolates him even if he is technically free of everything now.

THe other big questions is Sam coming to terms about whether he can truly be Captain America. He sets this aside at the beginning, but when the government decides to move ahead without him, well, we see him reevaluating.

Also there's a character that might suggest where this season is going, and I don't mean John Walker:

 

Totenkindly

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I've been kind of disappointed in the first two episodes, they are generally unmemorable. The action sequences have been okay. Everything feels pretty muted and low-key.

I think thematically in episode #2, the interesting aspect were the race-related themes -- namely the scene with Isaiah Bradley, and then what follows when Sam and Bucky are accosted on the Baltimore streets by white police. That was pretty unsettling to watch and how each responds.

So far most of the creative decisions have been the worse of their options, so I am not sure where this series is going. For example, they played up Walker as a decent, unpowered, just slightly shallow but well-meaning guy in the first two episodes. The only dubious thing he has done was pull a gun on one of the Flag Smashers, which you don't expect to see from Captain America. Where I'm hoping this goes, with the introduction of the Power Broker, is that he ends up feeling incapable to keeping pace in a super-powered world and ends up taking the serum himself, getting the benefits of that but also then maybe we'll see him slip a bit morally once he isn't accountable to anyone. I feel like they should have made him more extreme and played things bigger, so there is some dramatic tension -- "well, at least he's not super-powered"... and then he is, so now what? There's a few moments where you wonder about him (like with the gun, or when he tells Sam and Bucky to stay out of his way if they aren't going to help -- but TBH S&B have been pretty cold to him and rather unfair, due to their loyalties to Steve, so it's understandable if after trying to befriend them numerous times, he finally decides they are not worth the effort...)

I dunno. it's kind of run-of-the-mill, middle-road, currently, with nothing accentuated or larger than life. So much in "The Winter Soldier" was memorable, whereas much of what's been in the series doesn't really stick out either way. Some of the friction with Bucky and Sam feels contrived for the series, although Bucky's honest response to Sam giving up the shield resulting in Walker's hiring is one of the better moments.
 

The Cat

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Dependable pilot, basically establishing this is going to be a series with dependable action pieces as well as explorations of civilian life when someone's not being an Avenger per se. It's also Marvel's attempt to be responsible and explore questions that we've always wondered, like how the world is reintegrating after "the blip" or how superheroes make a living, etc.

The opener was okay for me. Flying sequences don't do a lot for me, tension-wise; I much prefer personal combat style set pieces; but it's clear Marvel's going to invest in some decent set pieces throughout season 1. And I appreciate knowing Marvel is going to treat their leads as people and explore back stories / personal issues; it's just I found the bank loan / gotta fix the boat + hey let's go on a date of episode 1 to be a little too low-energy for me right now.

I think I enjoyed most Bucky's therapy session, mainly because his therapist wasn't afraid to press him when he kept providing fluff/evasive answers. She's got his number and she doesn't let up, even when he's persistent in blowing off her questions. I think the biggest thing to realize is that Bucky yes is still having nightmares from his times as the Winter Soldier, and feels guilt over the things he's done in his life... and the experience still isolates him even if he is technically free of everything now.

THe other big questions is Sam coming to terms about whether he can truly be Captain America. He sets this aside at the beginning, but when the government decides to move ahead without him, well, we see him reevaluating.

Also there's a character that might suggest where this season is going, and I don't mean John Walker:


A past like Bucky's...he'll never be free of that. He was forced to do things that he'll never forgive himself for.
 

Totenkindly

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A past like Bucky's...he'll never be free of that. He was forced to do things that he'll never forgive himself for.

True. The series actually opens with that. (I think it was episode #1?) The Starks were just one moment of many.

How do you ever trust yourself again?

The thing is, he also knows nothing else in life. He was fairly young when he was badly wounded and picked up by the Nazis and turned into the WS. This is the only life he's known -- one of mental confusion, time jumps so to speak, and always violence and fighting. When he's visited in Infinity War, he gives a resigned, "Yeah, okay -- where's the fight this time?"

How do you integrate back into society after all that? Not to mention that he's now actually over a hundred years old based on his birthday, even if not physically. Aside from his military service, he doesn't even own a career path. It's kind of inevitable that he falls back in with Sam -- he knows nothing else, it's the path of least resistance for him, and he won't be able to NOT look for that experience unless he is continually fighting it. I wish they played that up a little more.
 

Totenkindly

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Well, this series is now half over and still feels like they are setting up all the players rather than progressing directly.

The whole thing feels rushed unfortunately. You can see them cutting corners/personal conflict too quickly to progress the plot. I can't even say the plot is super exciting anyway.

This week did have a revisit with three characters we've seen before in the MCU (including Zemo). We're also seeing how Walker might start cutting corners himself, he seems to be quickly getting frustrated with the lack of compliance/respect he is receiving. He is breaking bad a bit, just on a compressed timeline.

so far I'm not super-impressed, partly due to how they are rushing things but also with a general lack of tension / compelling mystery. There are mysteries but nothing that feels super-thrilling. It's playing out like an espionage version of "House of Cards" with less drama.
 

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Well, this series is now half over and still feels like they are setting up all the players rather than progressing directly.

The whole thing feels rushed unfortunately. You can see them cutting corners/personal conflict too quickly to progress the plot. I can't even say the plot is super exciting anyway.

This week did have a revisit with three characters we've seen before in the MCU (including Zemo). We're also seeing how Walker might start cutting corners himself, he seems to be quickly getting frustrated with the lack of compliance/respect he is receiving. He is breaking bad a bit, just on a compressed timeline.

so far I'm not super-impressed, partly due to how they are rushing things but also with a general lack of tension / compelling mystery. There are mysteries but nothing that feels super-thrilling. It's playing out like an espionage version of "House of Cards" with less drama.

I think they are rushing it. Trying to fill the gap covid left, which isnt such a bad thing really they should have been writing instead of marketing during the quarantine. Wanda vision worked fine for an experiment, but it only worked because of the film length back stories we had for them, we dont really have that yet for sam and bucky. I was really hoping they were gonna give this project the respect it deserved instead of just praying lighting was going to strike twice just because the market is thirsty for new content. :shrug:
 

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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier': Steve Rogers Really Screwed Sharon Over

Honestly, I think it's just more an oversight by the writers, some of these complaints, because it was a different movie focused on a different plotline. There are probably lots of things that don't show up that might have occurred off-camera but we'll never know. And while they try to coordinate on this to make it one world as much as possible, the reality is that it was different writers and there's a limited screen-time.... and maybe they didn't know what they wanted to do with Sharon's character.

The writer also has a bone to pick with Steve returning to 1940's and effectively retiring. I understand that; at the same time, that was his arc because he was always ultra-responsible, and there will ALWAYS be problems to solve and wars happening and conflicts occurring. Where does one's responsibility end? One can debate it, but it's not necessarily a loss of moral fiber to draw an arbitrary personal line after which one considers one's work completed and they need to move on. Iron Man retired with his family and raising his daughter, he was always good at being self-focused; but his arc involved giving that up to make a larger sacrifice; Steve's arc was the contrast to that.
 

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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier': Steve Rogers Really Screwed Sharon Over

Honestly, I think it's just more an oversight by the writers, some of these complaints, because it was a different movie focused on a different plotline. There are probably lots of things that don't show up that might have occurred off-camera but we'll never know. And while they try to coordinate on this to make it one world as much as possible, the reality is that it was different writers and there's a limited screen-time.... and maybe they didn't know what they wanted to do with Sharon's character.

The writer also has a bone to pick with Steve returning to 1940's and effectively retiring. I understand that; at the same time, that was his arc because he was always ultra-responsible, and there will ALWAYS be problems to solve and wars happening and conflicts occurring. Where does one's responsibility end? One can debate it, but it's not necessarily a loss of moral fiber to draw an arbitrary personal line after which one considers one's work completed and they need to move on. Iron Man retired with his family and raising his daughter, he was always good at being self-focused; but his arc involved giving that up to make a larger sacrifice; Steve's arc was the contrast to that.

It felt really uncharacteristic of Steve Rogers, and yes I suppose the argument could have been made that Tony rubbed off on him, but why then and why that specificallyI get going back for that dance and spending some time with peggy, but even that would fundamentally change the entire MCU from that point on. It just feels so irresponsible and selfish, not Steve Rogers more pre iron man Tony Stark.
 

Totenkindly

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It felt really uncharacteristic of Steve Rogers, and yes I suppose the argument could have been made that Tony rubbed off on him, but why then and why that specificallyI get going back for that dance and spending some time with peggy, but even that would fundamentally change the entire MCU from that point on. It just feels so irresponsible and selfish, not Steve Rogers more pre iron man Tony Stark.

I dunno. How much do we expect one man to give in the service to others? It seems rather selfish for us to demand that kind of existence from one person, to make himself not a human being but just an empty vessel for a lifetime longer than most. It's like telling Jesus he sucks for leaving the planet at 33 when there was so much else he should have done, if you believe in that kind of thing. There is always more to do, and Steve gave it all and more.

Besides, isn't that what this TV series is about? The dangers of putting men like him on a pedestal? This was even deal with during the Avengers run -- the existence of heroes automatically generates the rising up of opposing forces of similar power. (Or wait, am I mixing Avengers with Nolan's Batman? ROFLMAO.)
 

The Cat

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I dunno. How much do we expect one man to give in the service to others? It seems rather selfish for us to demand that kind of existence from one person, to make himself not a human being but just an empty vessel for a lifetime longer than most. It's like telling Jesus he sucks for leaving the planet at 33 when there was so much else he should have done, if you believe in that kind of thing. There is always more to do, and Steve gave it all and more.

Besides, isn't that what this TV series is about? The dangers of putting men like him on a pedestal? This was even deal with during the Avengers run -- the existence of heroes automatically generates the rising up of opposing forces of similar power. (Or wait, am I mixing Avengers with Nolan's Batman? ROFLMAO.)

No I totally get it, and I dont blame Steve, Im team Cap all the way especially during civl war, this is just my snarky way of saying id like a brief streaming series of how how that played out. Ive still not forgiven them for making me go through life without his true love thing the first time, seeing it would have been nice and i am kind of thirsty for content, but i want it to be character driven and that totally would be. Imagine the extra depth he gains as a character and we could see chris evan show that range. it could be done like a history documentary hosted by keith david...idk
 

Totenkindly

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Okay, so I have to say this show has a problem with gravitas. Nothing matters personally, none of the characters. I've got kind of a big shrug going on.

I liked the opening to this episode, since it actually started to dig into emotional wells set up by prior story lines -- about damn time, why did it take four episode to get something this powerful, aside from maybe 1-2 other moments out of 135 minutes of story? -- but the rest drops into the predictable.

There's some sense of chaos, at least, because you've got about 5-6 different little factions each with their own aims who are momentary allies of some and enemies of others. So there's a number of breakout fights here.

And finally an expected part of the storyline has occurred, involving Walker (both parts).

But I think the story has been mismanaged in general. it's not a bad show. it's not a good show. Meanwhile, it had the potential to be great.

Part of it is how it's dealt with Walker. We barely get any backstory on the guy. We don't really get a true sense of how his INTERNAL compass is tortured and negative, it's merely an indicator or two on the surface level. So when everything goes down this episode, who cares? it's like they leaned into the comic books doing all the work, so they didn't bother to really make the character come alive on the screen. Basically, instead of wasting time on so much pointless junk and chess pieces moving about a boring stage, why not do some character development on him, so that even if you don't agree with him, his fall from grace seems tragic and you feel some sympathy for the guy? Remember, CARING about a character means they continue to generate emotion, even if you end up hating him. The worst thing for a story is having the audience remain indifferent to everyone, including a potential villain.

(Compare to the Incredibles -- we see how Buddy was a good even if annoying kid early -- he had aspirations to be heroic. He eventually becomes vile, but we understand why because what Bob did to him was a hurtful wound and disillusionment. We even understand why Bob did what he did, and like with many parental figures and heroes, Bob's callousness had nothing to do with Buddy and he had his own issues to work out. Anyway, we actually get a back story, can see how a guy took a villainous turn, and even empathize with him a bit. But this show can't be bothered with making you care about John Walker at all.)

This is just a forgettable series I feel like I'm watching so I understand the logistics of how everyone ended up where they got, so I am prepared for later stories. At least there was an underlying sense of melancholy, hope, loss, and love in Wandavision, even if the finale kind of dropped most of the ball aside from Wanda and Vision's last scene together.
 

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Episode 5 -- it was a little better in some ways because it feels like they are actually trying to pull together what they wanted to say now. However, much of the episode feels like ambling small talk. I wish the series had had better defined goals versus just a few abstracted ones where they ended up just then trying to fill the rest of the episode with noise / chatter.

The highlights for me were the training session with the shield, as well as the conversation between Bucky and Sam -- I feel like they finally had the characters explain what both of their issues had been, they came to terms, and now they're good. A moment of clarity. But JC man, why did it take this long? I feel like they haven't really had a story to tell. It's hard to tell who the villain is, what they want, whether it makes any sense, what anyone wants in this series. And honestly the action has felt kind of boring. Even the opening fight to this episode seemed a little "eh, I guess it's time for a fight now."

Still pretty disappointed in the Walker thing, it's all been pretty much on the nose, without showing much internal struggle or tragedy. This episode, we get an unexpected guest star (ROFL) but I have no idea what direction they'll be taking that character.

All in all, I feel like this series occurred because they wanted to set up certain things for other series / future of Phase 4, without anyone actually having a SPECIFIC story they wanted to tell. So they then just tried to sketch in a bunch of stuff to get all the pieces into position. But there was no story idea in place. There's been a few "BIG IDEAS" and one of them comes out in Episode 5 -- YOu can't look to others to tell you what you are or what you want to be, you have to decide that for yourself or you'll always be adrift -- but is there much else of import here? Oh, and Bucky is reminded that he was doing a list to help himself, but if he really wants to make amends, he needs to be of service to others and forget about salving his own conscience. But we didn't need six hours to say that.


I can't believe I've been forced to depend on LOKI being decent, to salve my disappointment. The trailers have looked good, but... not really a character I've ever been much interested in.
 

Totenkindly

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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier stumbled under the weight of Captain America’s legacy

A bit of a different perspective with the same conclusions, that the show has been kind of all over the place without saying anything clearly (or only saying the obvious without questioning it much). Every so often it raises a great idea, then goes back to derivative and even confusing plotting.

I do think at least that the Cap stance of Civil War (where I know some people were confused about why Iron Man was preaching accountability and Cap was preaching going his own way) is strongly justified by remembering that Cap was primarily against bullies, a shield and not a gun. He always wanted to have responsibility for his own actions (and thus moral responsibility) versus being an extension of a government, which invariably means one is just a tool being used by whoever is in power. This is entirely what CA&TWS was about, where SHIELD as an extension of the government invariably was corrupted, and Cap and Widow responded by dumping EVERYONE'S secrets out on the Internet so everyone could make their own decisions for themselves with proper information.

I think this helps justify his choice to not support the Sokovia Accords, overall, which was just another form of making heroes accountable to a particular ruling body but then also their tool. When you are a tool, you are being used by others and no longer have a choice over your own actions.


I really wish this series had picked just a few ideas and revolved the plot around them.
- What was the world like in the Five Year Lull and do the Flag Smashers have a legitimate point? Can we really return to the old world and should we?
- Was Cap right about Bucky? is he redeemable or is he truly broken in some way? It all revolves around his arm as a symbol too.
- What does it mean to represent the ideals of the US in practical terms, in terms of the symbols we wear? How do you honor that legacy in reality?

THe show occasionally veers towards this but never quite takes it up. I do think they got a little closer with John but never really dove straight in. He was like a King Saul -- he was chosen because he looked good and was proven a tool -- but then he did something that made the government look bad, so they threw him away. But his comments at the Senate hearing were not wrong; this is exactly what they wanted from him, except he got caught doing it, so he can't be the public face. So what does it mean for Sam if he becomes Captain America? What is his relationship to the American government, specifically? What role would he actually play? And so on.
 

Totenkindly

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I sometimes wonder when I watch shows like this is how the writers managed to stave off the boredom of writing them.

Like, this show has been so boring to watch. Even things that should have been more interesting are typically uninteresting. Here, you get a finale with a lot of flight sequences, but they're all generally boring to watch, not much suspense, outcome is preordained and predictable. How could they make a movie like The Winter Soldier and then make a show that is this flat?

I'm still left with my thought is that they (1) wanted to position a bunch of characters for later films and shows, so this show staged many of them, and (2) they wanted to say something by the black experience and give a final speech about that, to summarize the show, but (3) they had no real compelling story to tell.

This story is bad. It's either boring, or it doesn't make sense / logically follow very often, or the characters just are not consistent and have no internal life, they're just pawns of the story itself as it exists. Take Sharon Carter for example. This is not the earlier Sharon Carter we knew, nor do we really understand why she is behaving the way she is. It's so fake. It's so bad. It's so not Marvel... except apparently now this is Marvel. They did their 22-film run, and now they're just running out of gas.

The villains were not really dug into and half the time didn't feel like villains.

John Walker wasn't really explained well. His behavior in the finale didn't gel with the behavior from prior episodes. Like, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? The series did nothing to create a believable, understandable character arc for these people, that you can empathize with or feel deeply about.

So freaking boring. There is no rewatch value here.

I can't believe I am now depending on Loki to be better.
 

The Cat

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I sometimes wonder when I watch shows like this is how the writers managed to stave off the boredom of writing them.

Like, this show has been so boring to watch. Even things that should have been more interesting are typically uninteresting. Here, you get a finale with a lot of flight sequences, but they're all generally boring to watch, not much suspense, outcome is preordained and predictable. How could they make a movie like The Winter Soldier and then make a show that is this flat?

I'm still left with my thought is that they (1) wanted to position a bunch of characters for later films and shows, so this show staged many of them, and (2) they wanted to say something by the black experience and give a final speech about that, to summarize the show, but (3) they had no real compelling story to tell.

This story is bad. It's either boring, or it doesn't make sense / logically follow very often, or the characters just are not consistent and have no internal life, they're just pawns of the story itself as it exists. Take Sharon Carter for example. This is not the earlier Sharon Carter we knew, nor do we really understand why she is behaving the way she is. It's so fake. It's so bad. It's so not Marvel... except apparently now this is Marvel. They did their 22-film run, and now they're just running out of gas.

The villains were not really dug into and half the time didn't feel like villains.

John Walker wasn't really explained well. His behavior in the finale didn't gel with the behavior from prior episodes. Like, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? The series did nothing to create a believable, understandable character arc for these people, that you can empathize with or feel deeply about.

So freaking boring. There is no rewatch value here.

I can't believe I am now depending on Loki to be better.

Pretty sure this show was just a place holder for Loki after Wanda Vision; i think in the writers minds they still think of Sam and Bucky as Steve's Side kicks.
 

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I have sporadic thoughts about the show.

I really liked it but also I am piece of shit who reads Bucky's every movement as signs of bisexuality. It's just amusing how he immediately has sexual tension with every male character he interacts with. Could be the teenage shipper in me though, I dunno.

This show was extremely underwhelming for anyone who reads the comics. The fact that "who's gonna get the shield??" was even a question shows that it wasn't really for neckbeard losers who knew already.

I think the show could've used a few more episodes because I agree, US Agent's character arc was random as fuck.

I guess Spiderman is on the run so that's why we didn't see anything of him? Little weird that the ending was set in New York and not even an easter egg about the little dude.

I enjoyed this more than Wandavision. The power a decent ending has is crazy.

Karli deserved better.
 
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