Disney + Recommendation: THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER – A Story of War and Peace

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When The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Disney + last year, it had a powerful and visceral effect on viewers as it ironically mirrored the political and racial tensions that the United States of America and what the world had dealt with during the pandemic, holding a mirror almost against American and worldwide audiences.
Before I dive deep into season one of Marvel Studios The Falcon an the Winter Soldier and the aftermath, I believe there has always been two things that have separated Marvel and DC Comics in the presentation of their characters. In my opinion, Marvel represents men trying to become Gods and DC has represented Gods trying to become and live among men. This is showcased through Wonder Woman, an Amazonian princess born with the powers of Greek gods; Superman, an alien being the last of his kind born with almost invulnerable powers; and Batman, a man born into a family legacy of extreme wealth, peak human genetics and intellect. All are trying to blend into society as average human beings and being heroes in secret. From Marvel, we have Captain America, a soldier with compassion in his heart given the super serum; Spider-Man, a genius teen bitten by a radioactive spider ang given enhanced abilities; and Iron-Man, a genius tech billionaire who upon being fatally injured creates a high-tech suit of armour that keeps him alive and arms him with state of the art weapons, flight, and strength. This is the perception I have always felt that both Comic giants have shown. Men trying to become Gods is something The Falcon and the Winter Soldier really explores.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, when a now elderly Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) retired as Captain America has now handed the shield to Sam Wilson aka The Falcon (Anthony Mackie). He is passing on the mantle of Captain America. We begin with Sam Wilson deciding that the US is not ready for a Black Captain America. Sam gives the shield back to the US Government as he has a lot of internal struggle as a Black man in modern day America while also dealing with its shameful, disgraceful, embarrassing racial history and himself having served in the military. Meanwhile Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) must deal with the ghosts of his past as the former legendary assassin, the Winter Soldier, and the consequences of his actions and finally face them head on. Bucky and Sam have to also hunt down a rebel group of super soldiers causing havoc around the world. We are introduced to John Walker, a decorated soldier given the mantle of ‘Captain America’ who begins his own dark journey. Daniel Bruhl returns as Baron Zemo and Sharon Carter/Agent 13 is played by Emily Vancamp. We meet the original Captain America aka Isaiah Bradley, played with heart and convincingly by Carl Lumbly, the story of the Black Super-Soldier whom was erased from history.

Below from left to right: Wyatt Russell as John Walker/US Agent and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/TheFalcon/Captain America

The irony of this article being published serendipitously on July 4th, celebrating America’s independence day has not gone unnoticed by myself. Arguably the biggest holiday on the United states of America’s calendar, the countries past history and current socioeconomic status, along with recent upheaval regarding race, systematic racism, rights of individuals and more during the last couple of years of a worldwide pandemic have been of immense importance for not just the USA, but also the rest of the world. In having these honest discussions, this show puts these issues on to deal with in a nuanced way if possible. In a interview with Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show Anthony Mackie discussed the subject matter below.

Anthony Mackie:

“All of that had to do with Malcolm Spellman… He really went down that road and fought for the acknowledgement of that turbulent relationship between Black men and America. The question that we kept asking each other, every page, every scene, every time we would talk is ‘how do you deal?” As a black man, you’re in an abusive relationship with America, so how do you fight for, stand up, risk your life for a country that’s never given you any love, support, appreciation, or trust… Then Kari, she is the most down female I have ever met in my life. And every time we’d try and pull a punch she’s like, ‘nah, we going all the way in.’ And so it was an amazing group of people from different perspectives and different backgrounds to be able to make it a realistic situation for the character and not something that was made up or fictitious when put on the screen.”

Music is always so important in film and television, and the Falcon theme (Louisiana Hero) composed by the gifted and renowned composer Henry Jackman is no exception. It brilliantly captures the military history with and Louisiana roots of Sam Wilson – a beautiful combination of rock, jazz and military like drums.

In an interview with Screenrant.com Henry Jackman explains:

Again, for people who are sufficiently interested to really get into the detail, in Winter Soldier there is actually a little Falcon motif. But because he didn’t have that much real estate in his heroic actions, because it had to be shared with so many other characters, I never got past the fanfare – and then cut. I always thought that was the beginning of something, but I had to crack on and finish that score, and not spend a week working on a separate superhero Falcon tune.

So, it was really satisfying to take that first motif and let it be the first phrase of what is now a complete superhero tune. So, when you listen to “Louisiana Hero,” that first brass tune is in fact the same as that original Falcon tune. But now it progresses, and it keeps going, and it’s surrounded. Also, the beginning of the track’s got a whole Louisiana guitar groove thing going on to try and depict Sam Wilson’s journey from where he’s coming from and where he’s going to. That’s really satisfying.

The writers on the shows are amazing in the MCU universe and how they have to take characters and evolve them. It’s a real privilege to be able to take things from 2014. In the same way, with the music, I can do a similar thing and take Sam Wilson to the sort of epic and wise place he gets to at the end of episode 6. Having come from where he came from, and trying to describe that musically, it’s a really cool thing to be able to do.

The Falcon and Winter Soldier is available to stream on Disney Plus.

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