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.