TV Review – The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 6

The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 6 (Disney+)
Written by Malcolm Spellman & Josef Sawyer
Directed by Kari Skogland

So the second MCU mini-series on Disney+ has come to an end, and I was severely underwhelmed by this one. If you have been following my reviews here, you already know I have had significant problems with the show on character & thematic level. All of my dislikes sort of came together in this disappointing final episode which goes back to well-tread moral territory that Marvel has trafficked in since they became filmmakers. There is the illusion that progress is being made, but any rudimentary look at what actually happens in this episode affirms that nothing has really changed.

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TV Review – The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 5

The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 5 (2021)
Written by Dalan Musson
Directed by Kari Skogland

This episode was a bit of an improvement from the last couple, but the show is still far from being as good as it could be. One of the most glaring problems with the mini-series is how bloated the narrative has become with characters. In this one episode, we have scenes with Sam, Bucky, Isaiah Bradley, his grandson Elijah, John Walker, John Walker’s wife, Lamar’s family, Sam’s sister, and his nephews, Zemo, the Dora Milaje, Joaquin Torres, Batroc, Sharon Carter, Karli Morgenthau & the Flag Smashers. Plus, they introduce a new character, the Contessa de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The Zemo narrative appears to be over as he’s taken into Wakandan custody, but I just don’t see a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to all these arcs next episode.

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TV Review – The Falcon and Winter Soldier

The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 4 (Disney+)
Written by Derek Kolstad
Directed by Kari Skogland

With only two episodes left in this mini-series, it has gotten to the point where the story feels utterly bloated with characters and subplots that can’t possibly be resolved by the end. WandaVision had a tight focus on a single storyline; here, we have too many characters with a too complicated web of relationships. If this was a whole television season and characters were given spotlights, it could work. However, we’re getting established characters written to fit the plot (Sam Wilson), other characters having their arcs rushed (Zemo), and a bunch of other people not given room to breathe and showcase who they are in this narrative.

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TV Review – The Falcon and Winter Soldier

The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 3 (Disney+)
Written by Derek Kolstad
Directed by Kari Skogland

I overwhelmingly disliked this third entry of the series for a multitude of reasons and I’ve been reflecting on some of the race issues brought up by the first two episodes. We’ve reached the halfway point in The Falcon and Winter Soldier, so now we have an idea of what this is shaping into and I have to say it is not looking great. This episode especially felt like a mess in every possible aspect from dialogue to characterization to the plot. 

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts

For a little while there, it looked like this movie might be made by Sony and take place outside of the MCU. Thankfully Marvel and Sony talked, and so we get this Spider-Man and one more appearance in another property before they go back to the negotiating table again. Marvel cleverly weaves Spider-Man even deeper into the MCU lore with this picture almost as a failsafe to keep the IP integrated. I think you’ll agree there has never been such a cameo-heavy MCU film to date, and it’s almost to the point of frustration. So many characters show up for a scene but then don’t feel integrated into the overall story.

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TV Review – The Falcon and Winter Soldier

The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 2 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Kastelstein
Directed by Kari Skogland

It should be literally impossible to discuss a piece of Captain America media without the conversation becoming political. This is something that’s annoyed me about the candy-consumption of so much fandom is that they want their entertainment divorced entirely from a discussion about current events and the state of the world. That might work to an extent with Guardians of the Galaxy or the Silver Surfer, but when the characters are very much tied to the government and foreign policy, you cannot avoid it. The fundamental nature of Captain America is a product of World War II-era jingoism. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been used to tell nuanced stories that make critiques of the United States, but we are simply not going to ever get something like that from Marvel. Marvel has repeatedly partnered with the American military-industrial complex to help mythologize “the soldier” in popular culture. In Black Panther, they couldn’t let Wakanda be autonomous; they had to inject a CIA agent in as one of the good guys. So it is literally impossible to talk about this Disney+ series without getting political.

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TV Review – The Falcon and Winter Solider Episode 1

The Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode 1 (Disney+)
Written by Malcolm Spellman
Directed by Kari Skogland

Wandavision set the bar for Marvel series on Disney+ and we are getting our look at the next one fairly quickly. The Falcon and Winter Soldier directly continues events from Avengers: Endgame, mainly the passing of the torch from Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson. With a Captain America story, the expectations are going to be very different from something like Wandavision. One episode in and it appears the showrunners know the tone and type of story that works best with these characters so we’ll see where things go.

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TV Review – Wandavision Episode 9

Wandavision Episode 9 (Disney+)
Written by Jac Schaeffer
Directed by Matt Shakman

So the first of the Marvel series has come to an end in rather a standard way. All of the grand fan theories really didn’t add up to much, with the writers choosing to not go too deep into the next phase of the MCU. There’s an exact resolution for Wanda here, the story told over these episodes comes to a definite ending, but we see a new path opened up for her leading into the next Doctor Strange film. The same can be said for Vision, who has a new lease on life. I’m not sure if we will see him again when Wanda returns, but I am sure there are plans for a reunion somewhere down the line. 

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TV Review – Wandavision Episode 8

Wandavision Episode 8 (Disney+)
Written by Laura Donney
Directed by Matt Shakman

By the end of this episode, I concluded that this might have been the best thing ever made in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ll admit, Wandavision has been a little hit & miss for me. The plot has seemed fairly clear-cut despite my desire for more twists and turns. It looks like the story will end up being much more straightforward than fans would have guessed. Even the Pietro reveal gets undercut by Agatha this episode, squashing some fan theories that sprung up with his appearance. What worked so well about this episode is the depth of character & emotion it gave to Wanda Maximoff. In the films, she’s been continually sidelined as a supporting player, but finally, she has received the spotlight she deserves.

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TV Review – Wandavision Episode 7

Wandavision Episode 7 (Disney+)
Written by Cameron Squires
Directed by Matt Shakman

Episode seven of Wandavision reveals many things, but I would argue it is not one of the best-written episodes in the bunch we’ve seen. It’s honestly a little clunky and awkward at moments and clearly was flagged as one to push the plot forward without doing much character development. These sorts of episodes are likely to be the standard from now on in the MCU shows because I doubt they will spend much time letting characters sit around and talk. While I love the reveals we got, it also felt like The Vision’s delay was as much a part of the in-universe mechanisms around Wanda as it was the writers padding out the show to hit nine episodes.

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