The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 1 – New World Order Review

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER is, obviously, a very different beast to WANDAVISION. Although it no doubt has surprises in store, it’s not setting out to deliver a mystery-box experience of weirdness and otherworldly shenanigans. In fact, from the moment the first episode – NEW WORLD ORDER – opens with a sly pun (INT: IRON, MAN) tonally we find ourselves rooted in the Marvel realpolitik world of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.

Captain America looms large in NEW WORLD ORDER, the first episode of the series, which deals with Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and, in small ways the rest of the world, picking up the pieces of their lives post-AVENGERS: ENDGAME while we get hints of the emergence of new threats both foreign and domestic.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 1 New World Order Review

First episodes can be tricky to judge in isolation, especially when, like this one, they form part of a mini-series of only six episodes. There’s a story to be told here and so things like structure and pacing can feel a little off, only to be retroactively enhanced by subsequent installments.

What’s not in doubt is the cinematic ambitions of the series, with the opening action sequence involving The Falcon easily a match for anything the MCU movies have delivered so far. There’s intrigue, too, in the drawing back of the curtain to peek into the domestic lives – and livelihoods – of our costumed heroes with particular pertinence to the question: who pays the Avengers? Time will tell whether this foray into a more grounded mundane reality really works or, indeed, whether there are deeper narrative reasons for bringing up a subject which, up until now, has probably generally been assumed to be covered by ‘Stark pays for it’. As it stands, it remains a sharply observed metaphor for the callous disdain with which America famously treats its feted and fetishized veterans once their wars have been fought.

Overall, the episode focus mostly on The Falcon, his decision to surrender custody of Cap’s shield and his work with the US Airforce as they investigate the rise of a new terrorist threat, and although it doesn’t ignore Bucky completely, our two heroes don’t actually meet at all during this series opener. We do learn that Bucky has received a conditional pardon for his many crimes as The Winter Soldier but he’s continuing to struggle with atoning for his dark past and come to terms with the modern world. He’s every bit the man out of time Steve Rogers was but without the ironclad certainty of honour and duty.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 1 New World Order Review

If the job of NEW WORLD ORDER was to leave the audience wanting more, then it’s certainly “mission accomplished” and it’ll be interesting to see how it weaves together the various threads its pulled loose to deliver on the next step in Marvel’s grand Phase 4 plans. That mask does Wyatt Russell absolutely no favours though.

score 7

7/10

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