In comparison to 'WandaVision', it's surprising how much of the finale of 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' feels earned, but in a way, highlights some of the problems with the whole series.
It's not that Sam Wilson becoming Captain America wasn't expected, it's that it had to take so long for it to happen and the events that led up to it felt sort of hollow. Much like the movies themselves, the ending is filled with some decent fight sequences, a big flourish, followed by an emotional, heart-tugging coda wherein the wrongs have all been righted and now, Captain America can continue on the work.
So, what did we get out of this finale?
Karli Morgenthau wasn't a good enough villain and never really gave any sense of a threat from her and, when she does eventually die, it doesn't feel like there's any weight to it. John Walker, meanwhile, gets a late-season rehab before he turns into US Agent? Sure, whatever. Zemo, meanwhile, has turned from a psychological manipulator into a suave agent who likes to party? Fine, sure. The big reveal of Sharon Carter as the Power Broker, however, is a intriguing one.
Going by the after-credits scene, it's going to be interesting to see if they actually commit to a new season or even a movie. The idea of a blonde, white, American woman being a supervillain who's going to use government power for her own nefarious ends might be pretty common in these days, but in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that's almost subversive. Yet, like Sam Wilson and the very concept of Captain America, times have to change and the world is much more different than when Captain America was first conceived of.
Coming up with an intriguing idea and then not going the whole way with it, however, has always been the Marvel Cinematic Universe way to some degree up until now. 'Doctor Strange', for example, was initially pitched as a kind of psychedelic horror but ended up being a rehash of 'Iron Man'. Likewise, 'Iron Man 3' was going to be far more provocative and was eventually flipped over a few times in the pre-production stages. It's a credit to Shane Black that it's still as enjoyable and entertaining as it was.
Overall, 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' felt like it was a stepping stone rather than its own thing. It was always about Sam Wilson taking up the shield, dealing with that complicated legacy of a black man becoming the symbol of America, and then trying to craft some kind of story around it. Getting two out of three right isn't bad.
- If they do commit to a second season, please bring in Julia Louis-Dreyfuss more
- Power Broker was revealed, we owe you €20
- How likely is it that Bucky hooks up with Sam's sister at that party?
- US Agent's suit is pretty cool, in fairness