How The Falcon Came To Be One of My Favorite Heroes In The MCU

When The Falcon was announced as being part of the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I was giddy with excitement. He is one of my favorite characters in Marvel Comics. Not going to lie either, I enjoy him because he is a black supehero as well. Though he was Captain America’s partner, he had his own gimmick. He also had a convoluted origin in the comics and no doubt that they were going to change that. Anthony Mackie was announced as playing the character and this was good news as he was a talented actor who has yet to get his break.

When we first meet Sam Wilson in The Winter Soldier, he is jogging around the capitol while Steve Rogers aka Captain America outpaces him numerous times. Sam takes it all in jest as he knows who Rogers is. The two quickly bond over their shared military background and hint that both suffer from some form of PTSD. Sam revealing he works at the local VA and is a counselor for traumatized soldiers. This is the first person that Steve can relate to since being unfrozen in the 21st century.

So when Captain America and Black Widow come knocking at his door for help, he immediately jumps at the call. Earlier mentioning that he flew but not in a pilot sense. The bond between Sam and Steve is infectious as they are relative strangers but immediately trust one another. This is solidified when Cap has to jump off of a flying carrier with no parachute with only the belief that Sam will catch him, which he does.

This scene also illustrates Sam’s skills. We see him dodging aircraft missiles and outmsarting gunship pilots. Captain America is a super soldier but all Sam has is a jetpack. By the end of the movie, Steve is out to search for his wayward friend, Bucky and tells Sam that he doesn’t have to help him. Sam knows this and really has no reason to do so but does so anyway. A perfect coda to end the movie and solidify the friendship and trust between the two.

Only making a cameo in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sam is seen at a party hosted by The Avengers. Still trying to get Steve into having something of a personal life. He is seen once again at the end of the movie as part of the new Avengers team. No doubt Captain America and Black Widow vouching his spot on the team. I was giddy seeing this as his absence in the movie was unexplained. There are certain tells that say he wasn’t supposed to be part of the movie but was added in reshoots. It was unexpected to see how the character become so popular because of The Winter Soldier.

Next appearing in an extended cameo in Ant-Man. This one was unexpected as I had no idea going into the movie. This movie really showed how you can put The Falcon in any MCU movie. Also showing how he has improved as a superhero. He’s not shocked when he sees Ant-Man’s size changing abilities. He also adapts pretty well to their fight even though he ultimately loses. This could have been a one off gag but plays off in Falcon’s next appearance in Captain America: Civil War. But he is the key player who brings Ant-Man in that movie as he was the only one who knows him.

Now Falcon is a certified superhero and has increased tech to even the playing field. Not only does he have his jetpack with wings, but now missile launchers and a drone dubbed Redbird which is used for scouting and offensively in a manner of ways you wouldn’t expect. The wings also come equipped in a way that they can be used as a shield. We see he and Cap have the best rapport with one another as they even have team up moves. The plot of the movie forces them to become fugitives on their quest to find Bucky which they ultimately do. Sam is the only openly cautious around Bucky and never forgets to remind Steve about this fact. Showing that while he more than likely sides with Steve, he is a man of his own opinion and not just following along.

During the climatic battle between the two teams of superheroes in the movie at the airport, Sam once again shows just how he has improved as a superhero. He is frequently squaring off against other heroes who outclass him. Spider-Man is a bonafide metahuman with increased strength and durability, Iron Man and War Machine are two heroes in walking weapons of mass destruction. Though most of the heroes on Cap’s side get captured, Falcon is the only one who manages to get away along with Cap and Bucky. Ultimately getting captured after War Machine suffers an injury and Sam shows genuine concern for his comrade but is taken out during this moment of vulnerability. Once again showing that he is a person who even though he disagreed with War Machine earlier, he was still a teammate and didn’t want him getting hurt in the manner that he did.

During his final scenes in the movie, Sam is locked up along with the rest of the heroes who sided with Cap. The prison that they are in is less than ideal. In fact when confronted by Tony Stark, Sam equates him to Mark Fuhrman, the police officer who was a center of attention during the OJ Simpson trial…one who was noted for his racist tendencies especially towards blacks. Sam ultimately tells Stark about where Cap is headed as he does want the best for his friend who he knows is not necessarily in the right head space at the moment. Once again showing that he is not blindly loyal to Steve but still loyal. In the final moments of the film as the heroes are being broken out of prison, Sam is the first one that Steve breaks out. The two sharing a smile with one another.

Sam Wilson has shown in his many film appearances that he is a valuable player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is a best friend of Captain America yet he is his own man. He can be serious when he needs to be and silly when he doesn’t have to be. He has his own opinions and will voice them. He has compassion even for people that may have tried to kill him in a previous movie or someone he was just fighting against just a few moments before. Sam Wilson is currently Captain America in the Marvel Comics universe. At this track, it would not be hard to see this Sam Wilson wielding the shield at one point.

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Captain America: Civil War Review

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Captain America: Civil War is both a sequel to 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Solider as well as 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The film picks up about a year after the end of the latter movie. The film picks up with the current Avengers and a disastrous mission that puts the team under the microscope. Tony Stark is faced with his conscious after his actions in Age of Ultron are called into question. This eventually leads to the Sokovia Accords which requires all heroes to sign under a UN legislation and if not, be considered criminals. Captain America is against it while Iron Man is for it and a schism is formed. Things are further complicated by the return of Captain America’s old friend, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier and an enigmatic figure, Zemo.

First things first, this is a Captain America movie. It is his actions that drive the plot of the movie. Chris Evans shines once again in his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America. It is easy to see where his characters stands as his previous interactions with government have been less than desirable. He is a character who stands firm in his beliefs and when those beliefs conflict with others, he is still willing to listen and give the benefit of a doubt. This drives his effort in helping Bucky who is a wanted man. There are different sides to Cap shown here as though he is usually shown as the altruistic member of the Avengers, he is no saint. There were times where it was easy to see where people’s frustrations with him came from.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man takes his iconic role in a different path. As someone who has never been a fan of the quippy Stark that has become so prevalent, it was interesting to see a Stark who was much more morose. He still had his one liners and quips but there was a pain to the character that was there from his first scene. Guilt is what’s driving Stark now but he is still a Stark who acts first without really thinking about the consequences for later. There were times where I surprised myself by agreeing with Stark. The film provides a good balance between the two points as neither is in the right or the wrong.

Many of the other Avengers and other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters have parts to play, some smaller than others. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch probably gets the most. It is her actions which kick off the events in the movie. It is a definite improvement over her role in Age of Ultron as we learn what makes Wanda tick and where her future will take her. Scarlet Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow takes a somewhat backseat in this movie compared to her roles previously. Widow is conflicted as she sides with Stark, who she is not a fan of, on the state of registration while opposing Cap, who she has come to respect and care for. Anthony Mackie returns as Sam Wilson/The Falcon who and shows why he is an Avenger. His loyalty to Cap is steadfast and it extends to his fellow Avengers. His subtle competition with Bucky as who is Cap’s best friend brings a levity to the movie.

The other Avengers and MCU heroes play less of a role. Jeremy Renner returns as Clint Barton/Hawkeye and probably gets the short end of the stick. He is not in that many scenes but does make the most of them. He shows why he is the most personable and his everyman qualities play an important part later between a conversation between he and Stark. Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine fares a bit better. He gets a few more scenes but the scenes he does have do shine. There is an especially poignant moment between him and Stark that really conveys a friendship and love that never came across in the Iron Man movies. Ant-Man and Spider-Man are the two who gets the least scenes and could be considered glorified cameos at best. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man returns from his solo movie and is a welcome addition. His character is just happy to be along for the ride while still hinting at his anti-establishment characteristics. He brings about one of the more standout moments in the movie. Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man is in the same boat as Ant-Man. He is a teenage superhero who is happy to be along (and brought along under suspicious circumstances). He brings out the youth in Spider-Man such as his nonstop talking during battle but also showing just how dangerous Spider-Man can be. His character was a delight and it is only a bright future for this iteration of the character.

The two wild cards in the movie are The Winter Soldier and Black Panther. Sebastian Stan returns as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier and is now something of a combination of the friendly Bucky from the first Captain America movie and the cold blooded killer from The Winter Soldier. Stan conveys a man who is at best a man wanting to figure out his past but also a man who is at his worst a dangerous killer. His scenes with Evans shine as you are reminded of the friendship between the two and can understand why Cap is going the distance for him. Chadwick Boseman debuts as T’Challa/Black Panther. He is a new character whose origin is touched upon but you know what this man is all about. He is royalty and carries it through his actions. He is nobility and is serious when he needs to be but there is an affability to him when he needs to be. This is someone who is on par with Captain America when it comes to physicality and it shows every time he is on screen. The future is bright for his character.

When it comes to conflict, it stems from two sources. One of them being Thaddeus Ross aka General “Thunderbolt” Ross who was last seen eight years ago in “The Incredible Hulk”. He is now Secretary of State and is the main person pushing for the registration. Though he claims to be on the side of the Avengers, anyone familiar with the character and his last appearance knows that all may not be so simple with him. There is also Daniel Bruhl who plays Helmut Zemo. Zemo is a mysterious character and the less said about him the better. Zemo is not a showy type of role especially for a villain. At first I thought Zemo wasn’t that effective of a villain but on more thought, Zemo was actually a good villain and one with sympathetic reasons for doing what he does. Bruhl was a perfect actor to cast in this type of role.

The movie finds a great balance between plot, character development and action. The film never gets too bogged down in plot and exposition. It also never suffers from too much action either. There were only a few issues that I found with the plot where I found myself losing track of the characters’ motivations. Zemo’s plot is especially shaky when thinking about it too hard. The action scenes are phenomenal especially the confrontation between the two teams at the airport. This comes in the second act and the final action scene wisely takes a step back and makes it more intimate. This intimate final action scene is a good mix of plot and action and really highlights why this movie shines. The movie never loses track of why these characters are doing what they are doing.

Overall, Captain America: Civil War is a triumph. A movie that on paper with its many characters and heady themes could be easily pegged as destined to fail. Though there are a few bumps on the road, the ride was great and one that I will gladly take again. This movie not only a must see for comic book movie fans or superhero movie fans. This movie is a must see for movie fans.

Score: 10/10

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

First and foremost, I loved this movie. Thought it was absolutely incredible. I definitely feel that it was the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only was it a faithful if somewhat loose adaptation of my favorite Captain America storyline but it was just a great movie in general.

 

The story was super tight. It never really dragged. It definitely captured the nuance of Steve Rogers and the world that he lives in. While I’m still not a fan of hers, Scarlet Johanson as Black Widow, she does definitely step it up and make me like her much more. Still think she’s pointless but whatever. I was absolutely in love with The Falcon in this movie. Every time that guy was on screen, I had a big smile on my face. You finally get to see Nick Fury kick ass on screen and be an actual character.

One thing that has bugged me of the Marvel movies lately is all the unnecessary humor. Thor: The Dark World suffered majorly because of this. This movie was definitely a course correction. It does have it humor but usually just to add levity. These characters were in serious situations and treated it as such and that was definitely appreciated.
One of the only knocks I have against it, is that the CGI is a bit wonky especially towards the end. But it never really took me out of it but it did make me notice. Also even though he is in the title, The Winter Soldier is not really in the movie all the much but he is enough of a presence. But you can tell there is much more to come.

Score: 5/5