Though it’s not seemed to be quite the water cooler phenomenon that WandaVision rapidly became – thanks to its drip-fed mystery structure – The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is […]
Though it’s not seemed to be quite the water cooler phenomenon that WandaVision rapidly became – thanks to its drip-fed mystery structure – The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is still getting some traction online thanks to some meme-worthy moments (Awkwardly Dancing Zemo for one, which Marvel published an extended clip of this week – sending the internet into a further frenzy in advance of episode 4) and a shared dislike of Nu-Cap, John Walker (which has unfortunately tipped over into harassment of actor Wyatt Russell, with people clearly missing the point that he’s doing a fantastic job because you don’t like him – that’s the reaction you’re supposed to have to the heavy-handed Steve Rogers-replacement!).
Following the Wakandan revelation of the cliffhanger in episode three, Sam, Bucky and Zemo encounter complications in their hunt for Karli Morgenthau. With the creator of the improved super soldier serum dead and Morgenthau in possession of the last remaining doses, John Walker and Lamar Hoskins track down our heroes – and things go from bad, to worse, to very, very bad.
This week’s episode feels a lot smaller in scale to last week’s sightseeing, globetrotting jaunt – and there’s no meme-worthy Zemo moments here. It’s all very grim and gritty, with a number of suitably impactful fight scenes. There are quieter moments though; tense conversations and stand-offs that work well to shine a light on the grey areas that many of the new characters, on both sides, are finding themselves in (with Anthony Mackie proving once again why he’s one of the most underrated actors in the MCU and, frankly, in general). Despite the talk of super soldier serums, the physics-defying shield and a character with wings, the tone does feel a lot darker and more mature than has previously been seen in the MCU. It’s got a really hard edge, continuing the political spy thriller tone set up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier – but definitely with more violent scenes than I was expecting (as we saw last week, with Sharon’s fight on the Madripoor docks – Marvel aren’t holding a lot back, even though things don’t get too graphic).
And on that theme, there’s one hell of a shocking finale here – a real gut punch that explains the episode’s title and sets us up for some incredibly riveting stuff as we head into the season’s final act. It’s a familiar refrain from me in these reviews, but it’s nonetheless true to say that next Friday’s episode can’t come soon enough.
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