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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 1 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode one of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it move their story forward, here’s our review.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the latest MCU series streaming on Disney Plus. It is set a few months after the events of both Avengers: Endgame and WandaVision. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier picks up from the departure of Steve Rogers. It chronicles the stories of his closest friends in the MCU, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes.

At first glance, it seems to be simply an opportunity to develop their backstories in a way that they probably couldn’t in a normal movie. But it is also acting as a way of finding the new Captain America. And introducing new characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you found the stylistic aspects of WandaVision completely at odds with everything else you’d seen previously in the MCU, then you’ll be far more comfortable here. This was much closer in tone to the Marvel movies you know and love. After a COVID-enforced gap in releases, this is like a cinematic comfort blanket.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

After Endgame

This first episode focuses more on Sam Wilson and Falcon than it does Bucky, but it was the latter’s scenes I found much more interesting. We open with one of the most extraordinary action sequences I’ve ever seen on television. It sees Falcon rescuing a kidnapped American soldier from the clutches of LAF and Georges Batroc. It was the type that only Marvel could make for TV, and made me think that we are essentially watching a movie in 6 self-contained acts. Zack Snyder will be fuming!

He has made the difficult decision to return Captain America’s shield to the US Government. Wilson does this despite obvious misgivings about doing so that only grow by the end of the episode. He clearly feels the pressure of taking on that mantle from Steve Rogers despite James Rhodes’ attempts to reassure him. He tries to settle his conscience by returning to Louisiana to help his sister who is struggling to keep their family business afloat.

Paying debts

Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes is attempting to get his life back on track, after his time as a brainwashed assassin working for Hydra. My favourite scene from this episode is his government-mandated therapy session. We get our first real insight into his obvious struggles and attempts to rationalise his crimes. The director was obviously having some fun with the invasive camera angles and lighting. All those elements, all made for some obvious tension between Bucky and his therapist. The dichotomy of Bucky trying to right his wrongs while wrestling with what he did is going to be an incredibly interesting aspect of this series.

Part of that will be his relationship with his elderly neighbour Yori, whose son Bucky killed while working for Hydra. There’s already a lovely buddy romance developing between them, including Yori asking out Leah on Bucky’s behalf. How will Bucky and Yori’s relationship survive that inevitable bombshell when his murderous past comes to light?

The Flag Smashers

Away from Bucky and Sam, The Falcon’s military colleague Joaquin Torres is in Switzerland on some sort of reconnaissance mission. His task is to infiltrate the Flag-Smashers, an anti-patriotism group who look set to be the main antagonists of the series. It appears that they have members who possess powers like The Avengers. In the comics, Torres becomes The Falcon after Wilson becomes Captain America.

The emergence of the Flag-Smashers will almost certainly result in a showdown with the new Captain America. Steve Rogers successor John Walker who looks likely to team up with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier later in the series. The new holder of the vibranium shield is tasked with extolling American values around the world. He seems expected to do that in a more overt way than Steve Rogers was perhaps perceived to have done. We will have to watch to see whether he becomes his comic book alter ego US Agent in this series. Needless to say with Marvel, there’s a subplot of friction with authority, despite Sam Wilson and James Rhodes’ close ties with the military.

Short run

As this series is only six episodes rather than WandaVision’s nine, we can expect the plot to move a bit quicker. There’s clearly a much stronger emphasis on action than mystery. It also looks like there’s a very clear plan for character development. In particular that development means rehabilitation for Bucky so he can become a key character in the next phases of the MCU.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier aren’t the first names that spring to mind when you think of the most interesting characters in the MCU. But there’s more than enough to suggest that this will be a really enjoyable series to watch. Expect more cameos than we saw in WandaVision and more breathtaking action sequences. Equally, I’d expect more WOW moments and fewer WTF ones. With Marvel’s incredible production values and attention to detail, this series will still provide plenty for us to talk about over the next six weeks.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


Thank you for reading our review of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode one. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our WandaVision episode nine review HERE.

Read IMDB information about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier HERE.

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Loki Episode 6 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

More to come

The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.

Introducing the big bad

We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.

She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.

Loki fight

Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.

Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.

Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.

Setting up season two

Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.

Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.

I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.

Phase 4 groundwork

It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.

There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.

But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our Loki episode five review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

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