Welcome back! It’s the final entry in our episode-by-episode examination of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As always, spoilers abound, and this article assumes you’ve seen the sixth and final episode of the series.
It strikes me, watching ‘One World, One People,’ how Falcon and the Winter Soldier serves as a microcosmic example of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large. Everything the MCU does well can be found in this series: the quality and charisma of its actors; the self-assured polish of its cinematic craft; its notions about heroism and responsibility; and the sheer joy of seeing the characters and concepts of Marvel Comics brought to life. Alas, the series also offers plenty of what the MCU doesn’t do well: low stakes and a general lack of any real peril or consequences; the glossy blandness of a well-worn narrative formula; and a Game of Thrones-like disregard for time and distance, and cause and effect. Like almost everything the MCU has ever offered up, it’s an uneven mix of excitement and disappointment: thrilling, gratifying, maddening, and frustrating all at the same time. As much fun as Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been — and it’s been a lot of fun, more often than not — very little of it holds up to even the most casual scrutiny, which pushes my particular needle closer to the maddening / frustrating end of the spectrum. Not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the series, but enough that I find myself constantly wishing that this or that thing was done just a little differently.