The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Disney+s Sam and Bucky show off to a flier

REVIEW: When we last saw Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Captain Americas shield had been left in his hands.
But the events of Avengers: Endgame also bequeathed him a world in turmoil. Over the course of five years, humans and the Earth had adjusted to a much smaller population, only for it double again overnight.

With governments struggling to deal with mass reintegration, alliances are failing and tensions are rising.

Everyone is looking for a symbol to unite behind, however, as the opening episode of this new six-part series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which begins streaming on Disney+ tonight, March 19) reveals, Sam would rather not step into Captns shoes.

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Handing it in to the Smithsonian, he tells those gathered for the ceremony that a new hero suited for the times we live in is needed. Hes happy to continue his government contract work as the Falcon, but he also has neglected personal responsibilities to attend to.

Sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye) has struggled to keep the family fishing business afloat and is now considering selling up, much to Sams chagrin. She, though, isnt sure whether hell be anymore reliable now, especially as ructions on the other side of the globe are starting to ramp up.

If the recent MCU left-turns towards multiverses and shape-shifting aliens has left you cold, then youll be delighted with the more down-to-Earth approach of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

A group calling itself the Flagsnatchers, believe the world was a better place during the blip, would prefer to see a world without borders and arent afraid to break a few laws to enact those plans. As Sam watches footage of their latest heist of a Swiss bank, he cant help but notice the similarities between some of those masked figures involved and rehabilitated former super soldier Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). He though, has been very much off the radar, attempting to atone for his past, while trying to assimilate into modern society as only a 106-year-old, who has been going from one fight to the other for 90 years, can.

Marvel fans who found WandaVisions sitcom and time-hopping theatrics a little too noodle-scratching will welcome the return to more traditional action here. Likewise, if the recent MCU left-turns towards multiverses and shape-shifting aliens has left you cold, then youll be delighted with this more down-to-Earth approach. Were back on the familiar, paranoid political thriller territory of the Captain America trilogy.

An opening, action-packed salvo above Tunisia almost feels more Mandalorian in style and just as thrilling as point-of-view shots and vertiginous cinematography draw you into a breathtaking chase to stop the abduction of a high-profile asset. Just as quickly though, the tone shifts to domestic dramas and character re-establishment, as we meet as a cadre of new characters who now inhabit our two Marvel sidekicks personal universes. We know it wont be long though before events bigger than themselves will require them back on duty and the trailer has already hinted at the return of beloved bit-players (both good and more nefarious) not seen since Civil War.

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their popular Marvel sidekicks in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Veteran Canadian director Kari Skogland (The Handmaids Tale) handles both kinds of action adroitly, while showrunner Malcolm Spellman (Empire) successfully adds some new flavour and diversity to ever-evolving Marvel mix.

Episode 1 is very much focused on character and tone-setting, but it also contains plenty of delights, from a drinking game version of Battleship to a surprise late twist. It all bodes well for the rest of the series.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins streaming on Disney+ on the evening of March 19.


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