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Review: “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” provides a final jab instead of a punch in its season finale

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes’ story comes to an end as the crime-fighters seek to put a stop to a dangerous escalation from their season-long aggressors.

By Matthew Royer, Staff Writer

Anthony Mackie stars as Sam Wilson in the Marvel TV show "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" on Disney+. (Photo Courtesy of Marvel)

Star-spangled and action packed.

In Marvel Studios’ “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” sixth and final episode of the season, heroes Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) embark on a final battle with Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) and the Flagsmashers, who have finally put the pieces together on their master plan of complete anarchy.

Titled “One World, One People,” this episode takes two different ideals throughout. First, the message of Wilson and Barnes, who are looking to provide peace onto the world by compromising with Morgenthau. Second, the motive behind Morgenthau’s actions, who has had enough of society displacing people like her after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” and has amassed an army of individuals who feel the same way. These opposing ideas collide in the almost hourlong runtime.

The episode kicks off quickly with sequences filled to the brim with action in which viewers can see Wilson and Barnes fight to save hostages with the help of John Walker (Wyatt Russell) and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp).

While fun to watch, the first half of the episode felt rushed in both the plot and character development. Providing a finale type impact felt primary, while the progress made throughout the series through different plot points were made secondary. Whether it were Carter’s adventures in the pirate-run town of Madripoor or the heartbreaking story of Korean War super-soldier Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), some plot threads did not get the complete exploration they deserved.

With a movie’s worth of content packed into this chapter of Wilson and Barnes’ story, the main focuses of the plot tend to get lost, but director Kari Skogland promptly picks it back up through one device or another. This allows for an inkling of togetherness to be found, which is sorely needed throughout.

Mackie’s acting is sure to be highlighted. Through multiple monologues and inspiring dialogue, Mackie is able to connect with the audiences watching him within the show and those viewing at home. Years of build-up finally paid off for Mackie and the character of Wilson as many will be excited to see what comes next for the high-flying hero.

While Wilson will be a character for many to look out for in future Marvel Studios’ and Disney+ projects, Walker and Carter are sure to be seen in multiple projects soon. This is especially true with the notes in which “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” leaves their storylines on. Whether it is a second season of the show, or an upcoming movie as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel has an extensive catalogue of names to pick from.

The series as a whole gets the job done. Mackie and Stan shine when allowed to enter the spotlight as the titular heroes. With additions to the story such as Morgenthau or Walker, viewers are also made aware of new arising threats in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While it feels Marvel and Skogland could have done more with the medium that is television, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is good fun in the end, presenting audiences new and old with more moments to cheer for than those to groan.


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