I was wondering how Falcon and the Winter Soldier would be received in the wake of the much weirder WandaVision, and now that episode one is here and has been watched by a number of critics and fans, we’re starting to get a sense of that.
The very disparate MCU shows are both scoring highly among critics and fans, meaning Disney has multiple hits on their hands, whether they want to be more experimental with WandaVision or more traditional with blockbuster fare like Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Here’s how the ratings are shaking out so far among critics and fans, with Falcon having a slight edge in most categories after the premiere:
Granted, it’s still early, and no one, not even critics, have scored reviews out past the first episode yet. It’s possible opinions change as Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs more episodes, but WandaVision’s score remained relatively consistent across its run, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen here.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been much more action-oriented right from the get-go here, where in the pilot we had a Falcon sequence that was on par with anything we’ve seen from the MCU movies in theaters. Then later, Bucky, as Winter Soldier, murdered a whole bunch of people in a shorter, but still solid shootout. WandaVision, meanwhile, took a long while to build up to those big moments, and was a more nuanced examination of Wanda’s mental state and a love letter to several decades of television sitcoms.
But I would say Falcon and the Winter Soldier isn’t coming across as just mindless action, either. We see Bucky struggling similarly to Wanda, laden with guilt over what he’s lost. Falcon believes he can’t live up to Cap’s legacy, and is struggling with civilian contractor life, about to lose his family’s business. And by the end of the episode, it seems pretty clear that the show is going to be dealing with some larger themes surrounding race and authoritarianism when (spoilers) it introduces a new, white Captain America after actively discouraging Sam from taking on the mantle. So even though yes, this may be more “traditional” MCU with high flying action scenes, I do think this show has the potential to be more introspective and important that a normal blockbuster feature. At least that’s the impression I got from the pilot. We’ll see how it pans out soon enough.
Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.