Main cast: Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Solder), Wyatt Russell (John Walker), Clé Bennett (Lemar Hoskins/Battlestar), Erin Kellyman (Karli Morgenthau), Carl Lumbly (Isaiah Bradley), Danny Ramirez (Joaquin Torres), and Amy Aquino (Dr Christina Raynor)
Director: Kari Skogland
Hey, things are looking up now! If only The Star-Spangled Man had been the first episode of this series, really, then things would have started off with a bigger bang. The previous episode was the epitome of try-hard, with it throwing so many tired, overblown action scenes as if to remind me non-stop that I am watching an MCU spin-off. In this episode, however, the pacing is better, and I get to know the main characters better. While what I get here isn’t mind-blowing great, it’s still much better than the season opener.
With Steve Rogers gone from the picture, Sam Wilson decided to give away the shield Steve passed on to him—much to the ire of Steve’s BFF, Bucky. The two men start to grit their teeth when they see whom the government had appointed to be the new Captain America – the much-decorated soldier John Walker, who embodies a more suave version of Steve’s earnest desire to always do the right thing. Both men feel that they have a close bond with Steve, and now their memories of their friend is now being violated by this… this…
Unfortunately, Sam and Bucky have difficulties taking down the terrorists, the unfortunately-named Flag Smashers, especially when these terrorists turn out to be serum-powered super-soldiers. Even the new Captain America and his sidekick Battlestar can’t take them down, so these two try to get Sam and Bucky to work with them. The latter two are not keen, however. Bucky also resents Sam for giving away the shield in the first place, as he feels that Sam has somehow failed Steve in some way.
Don’t worry, this is still a MCU movie, so all these issues are superficially explored, practically in high-school play-like exposition in a therapy session. There’s nothing too deep or troubling here, because remember, nobody is allowed to feel sad for more than three minutes in the MCU. Nonetheless, there are ample chemistry between all the main men involved to make their interactions an enjoyable one, notably between Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. I get Common Law vibes from these two—I’m not the only one that watched, enjoyed, and remembered that sadly prematurely-cancelled TV show, am I?—and I really like seeing their characters do that love-hate bromance thing between them. Oh, and they’re hot, and that doesn’t hurt one bit.
Plot-wise, so far the show is mired in the standard faceless villains versus the good guys thing, and there is probably a twist or two coming down the road. There’s nothing really notable or interesting there, and if I were to be honest, there is nothing in the plot so far to suggest that I need to watch the next episode. It is as if the people behind this show expected people to watch it religiously just because of the MCU brand, and if the rumors about the tepid viewership of this show were true, then maybe it’s time these people start focusing on good stories as well as proper character development. The MCU brand name isn’t as strong as Disney would imagine it to be, it looks like, and it’s time to get their act together.
Anyway, this episode is much better than the previous episode, yes, but at the same time, it could have stepped up more and deliver something that would make me go, “Yes! I must watch the rest of the season because it’s so exciting!”