The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
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The MCU sets up yet another film with Falcon and the Winter Soldier, carefully waiting for the end to announce Captain America 4 - well good, because it left, not to say generated, a lot of loose ends. (It just hit me that the title almost accidentally evokes The Falcon and the Snowman, and there are similarities there...) Strong action beats, but what's most interesting is the exploration of what the mantle of Captain American MEANS, as a question hangs over the the six-part series - who will be the next Cap? All three leads (Sam, Bucky and Walker) have taken up the shield in the comics, after all. Which American ideals must be represented? I think they make a good choice (though not a fan of the new costume), and the final speech(es) gave me the right feels. Of particular interest is what it would mean for a black man to wear the stars and stripes when so much of American history is erasure of Black achievement. Bucky's counterpoint - a man trying to make amends for the wrongs he's done - makes him an interesting symbol for another facet of America. What doesn't work so well for me is the way characters are introduced in the series structure. In the middle there, it just feels like they're bringing in guest star (returning and new) after guest star. While it's not uninteresting to catch up with various characters, or build upon what the "blip" did to the world, it felt a little loose for me, especially in a contained series. The banter didn't always work for me either, and felt overlong and indulgent. On the action front, starts better than it ends; in every other way, ends better than it started.
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