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5 takeaways from ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ premiere

‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ dropped its premiere episode Friday. Here’s what to expect

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Disney+ Media Relations, Marvel Studios

“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” will officially drop its first episode on Disney+ Friday morning. And just like that, we will be back with more Marvel.

“TFATWS” has been a much-hyped show because it’s actually a few months late. “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” was supposed to be the first new Marvel show to be released on Disney+ back in August 2020. But Disney stopped production of the show on March 10, 2020, due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” release was eventually pushed to March of this year after “WandaVision” got the early 2021 slate for a release date.

So we’re finally back on schedule from what Marvel planned. “WandaVision” was a risk for Marvel since it had a weird format to it — and since it focused on magic, alternate realities and more.

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in ‘Falcon and The Winter Soldier.’
Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”
Chuck Zlotnick, Marvel Studios

“TFATWS” is more of what you expect from Marvel — action, cliffhangers and cameos. It’s the show we’ve been waiting for, and it totally delivers.

Here’s the setup. Six months after “Avengers: Endgame,” Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) work together “in a global adventure that tests their abilities — and their patience,” according to Disney+.

So what happens and what should you expect? Here’s a breakdown:

It’s everything you want from Marvel.

“TFATWS” is a welcome return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we know and love. “WandaVision” may have scared some because of its weird format — showing three single episodes in a sitcom format before flipping to a traditional TV drama. But “TFATWS” is as typical MCU as it comes. It’s about superheroes navigating in the traditional world.

Anyone who loves Marvel will love this show.

It’s what you expect from a Marvel movie, only it’s clearly broken up into multiple episodes. There are enough twists, cameos and cliffhangers to keep you interested for a while and keep you hooked from week to week. I found myself craving for the second episode of the season, but I’ll have to wait another week. With “WandaVision,” I didn’t necessarily need to see the fourth episode after a three-episode binge.

“TFATWS” will make you want to be in a movie theater again. And I truly mean that. It will make you crave the days of popcorn and Marvel.

It’s ‘Iron Man’ meets ‘Captain America.’

The show has an interesting vibe to it that we haven’t really seen. It’s a mixture of two separate worlds pushed together. The first episode kicks off like an “Iron Man” movie — references to the desert, the military and technology. Soon, the episode leans more into its “Captain America” vibes with the Winter Soldier, Hydra, SHIELD, shadowy organizations.

Even though Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes both come from the “Captain America” trilogy, the series is definitely drawing something from the “Iron Man” films. In fact, Marvel Studious President Kevin Feige hinted at this during the global press conference for the show last week. He said the show draws from “Iron Man 3” in that it tackles PTSD.

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Mackie teased what’s to come in the new show
Disney+ Media Relations, Marvel Studios

“‘Iron Man 3’ was all about Tony Stark’s PTSD from ‘Avengers’ essentially. It’s always about exploring what’s great about the Marvel characters,” he said.

More of those “Iron Man” themes will likely be explored — the grief, the weight of changing the world. And at the same time, we know Winter Solider’s storyline will have the “Captain America” theme since it deals with his backstory, which included working as a shadow agent.

Get ready to see more of those “Captain America” and “Iron Man” vibes as we move forward in this show.

There’s more depth to these characters.

Falcon and The Winter Soldier were two superheroes who were featured prominently in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War.” They had some moments in the “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” too. But we never got the full story and depth that we got from Thor, Hulk, Iron Man or Captain America. You could argue we got more backstory on Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) than Falcon or Winter Soldier.

Now, that all changes. We’re getting a huge backstory of Sam Wilson’s home. We learn he’s from New Orleans, he has a sister and he has family struggles just like anyone. For Bucky, it’s less about his backstory and more about how he struggles with his past. Either way, the show adds a ton of depth to characters who were presented at a surface level during the earlier films.

It’s very different than ‘WandaVision.’

I know I’ll regret writing this, but “TFATWS” is vastly different than “WandaVision” in that it won’t inspire crazy, game-changing theories about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show is less cosmic and weird. It’s grounded in reality. It’s gritty with hand-to-hand combat, rather than about people floating in the air fighting with magic.

It shows off an interesting strategy for Marvel. We know the MCU will get more cosmic with upcoming films like “The Eternals,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Captain Marvel 2.” But at the same time, we see a little more gritty Marvel with “TFATWS” and “Black Widow.”

It’s a welcome change, too. “WandaVision” had so many philosophical questions, which spawned fan theory after fan theory after fan theory. Things got weird with Evan Peters. People talked about Mephisto and Magneto. We still don’t know who the aerospace engineer is. Things were just strange. “TFATWS” is a welcomed change of pace, focusing more on the normal world of the MCU and how the Avengers fit into it.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” writer Malcolm Spellman said the show is the “antithesis” to “WandaVision,” too, because it has such a different feel, according to ComicBook.com. So, don’t expect to see the same show.

I’m excited for where the show heads next.

There’s plenty to look forward to with “TFATWS.” We have so many mysteries to solve and a handful of questions to think about over the next week. I had to watch the final scene twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It’s a scene that will stand the test of the show. It sets the pace for what we can expect next in the series.

The final scene also gives us a clue about how Sam Wilson truly feels about his destiny and what will happen to him in the coming episodes.

I don’t know where “TFATWS” is going next. But I can’t wait to see where it takes us.