One thing that Disney+ has been doing right for me since its launch is serve up the kinds of shows that I’m all-in for. First it was with Star Wars thanks to The Mandalorian and the final season of The Clone Wars and now it’s Marvel’s turn with a slate of shows and movies coming to the platform. The first two shows have just completed their season runs with both Wandavision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier having something different to bring even though they both also have something in common in that they’re starring characters who are still recovering from the traumas of the last two Avengers movies (Infinity War and Endgame). With Loki just around the corner too there’s no shortage of content coming our way, the hard part may be in keeping up with it!
Warning: spoilers ahead for those who haven’t watched both shows.
Apparently Wandavision was originally going to launch after The Falcon and The Winter Soldier but the pandemic changed plans substantially. Whatever the case may be, having this show as the opening series on MCU shows on Disney+ was really gutsy because for a lot of people watching it the first couple of episodes the first impressions may think WTF? All I can say is stick with it and it might start to make sense… ?
The basic idea of it is that the viewers are seeing what appears to be Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) trapped in a family sitcom which changes by the decade as the episodes continue. It doesn’t take long for the cracks to start showing and we soon find that it’s actually Wanda behind it as she tries to deal with the death of Vision by Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War) and her own past. Backed up by returning MCU characters in Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings, Thor) and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park, Ant-Man and The Wasp) plus great showings by both Katherine Hahn as Agnes and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, there’s a lot of potential in what these characters may bring in the future as a lot of potential future stories or series than can be spun off from this but the hard part is seeing a clear path as to when and where that might happen.
And that’s probably the one downside with Wandavision, if you can call it that. It plays out very much like a complete self contained story that doesn’t need a follow up. Anything that did follow would be a VERY different as there’s no chance they could repeat this again with similar success. Whether it would stick with the name or maybe even go old school with Vision and The Scarlet Witch is anyone’s guess too. Would I see more of it? For sure – it’s been an excellent start to TV MCU and it chose a path rarely traveled for our heroes and I think it’s better for it.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Being a massive fan of the Captain America movies I was really looking forward to see where it would go now that the shield was passed onto Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier didn’t disappoint there even if threw a few obstacles in the path we expected him to follow. From the start we can see that The Falcon is still on the job thanks to a thrilling opening but the real surprise is later seeing him donate Captain America’s shield to a museum. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) isn’t dealing so well with his past and is trying to make up for his wrongdoings.
When the shield is given to a new Captain America (Wyatt Russell) Bucky confronts Sam and gets pulled into a conflict with the Flag Smashers: a group of enhanced people who believe the world was a better place before the events of Endgame when half the world was gone and borders were the least of their worries. When the pair find themselves short of leads after a loss they turn to an old enemy in Zemo (Daniel Brühl) in the hopes of catching the them. When that also brings out an exiled Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) a big can of worms is dumped on the heroes as well as some expected and unexpected heel turns too. Zemo turns out to be a great addition with the villain (?) playing the heroes as much as they are using him and it works so well. Might also be why his dance moves have received as much attention too.
Ultimately the story is about Sam becoming Captain America and with all of the underpinnings that comes from that are what what’s dished up to the the character to help him find his best choice to move forward. Having a “bad” example of what Captain America could be coupled with a country’s checkered history with past super soldiers might be the negatives but there was also the positives such as Bucky’s faith that Steve Rogers made the right choice too. I think there were signs of the impact Sam had on Steve with one being the counseling session in Avengers: Endgame – we see something similar in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Sam counseling veterans so seeing the roles reversed may have been a subtle clue. Regardless of that it was great to finally see the new Captain America (suit and all!) delivering with a great finale and better yet, there’s going to be a new movie in the works too. 🙂
There’s potential again for more spin offs and sequels too but as much as I’d like to see more of Sam and Bucky if this series was there only to make Sam’s transition from Falcon to Captain America work then I think it did that well and I’m looking forward to what’s next. Still, it looks like I won’t be cancelling my Disney+ subscription any time soon…