Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier reviews roundup: What the critics are saying

The six-part series – which debuts its first episode today (19 March) – takes place in the immediate aftermath of Captain America’s last stand in Avengers: Endgame.

Following the monumental success ofWandaVision – a tonal experiment for the studio that dabbled in self-referential wit and puzzle box-mystery – is a daunting prospect, and director Kari Skogland very well may have stepped up to the plate with Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Although, as the overwhelmingly three-star reviews suggest, perhaps not straight off the bat. 

The reviews are in for the first episode of Marvel’s second TV series. You can find a roundup below:

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will leave you neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed. To steal a line from 10 Things I Hate About You, it is the TV embodiment of “whelmed” – a sturdy, functional and generally not-bad vehicle for a handful of the studio’s B-listers.”

“Structurally, this feels like a full-length feature film chopped up into segments. Whereas WandaVision made the most of its 30-minute runtimes, with each of its early episodes more or less self-contained riffs on classic comedy shows, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s introductory segment plays less like a pilot than a first act.”

“It’s a sturdy start, strongly anchored by Mackie who’s deserved something of his own for too long now, singlehandedly lifting subpar Netflix action movies without breaking a sweat, biding time until he’s now been granted the spotlight. His inherent movie star charisma keeps us engaged throughout even when the many parts around him don’t move with quite the same ease and I’ll be curious to see how Spellman’s promised buddy comedy dynamic plays out between him and Stan, who ably performs his more limited side of the first episode.”

“The first episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier ends up feeling just a tiny bit underwhelming. What’s here is good, but it’s meat-and-potatoes Marvel storytelling, slowly putting its plot elements in place but unlikely to get you rushing to your nearest digital watercooler.”

“Let’s hope the suspense — and comedy — will build and build. Just don’t expect a first episode that moves at Falcon speed.”

“That premise sounds full of promise and it will be exciting to see the leads eventually come together on screen. Yet, the opening instalment drags more than any Marvel outing since the especially rubbish Thor films. Sam and Bucky are too busy patching up their broken lives to cross paths, much less get up to anything interesting.”

“Any complaints over the slow, expository nature of this first episode will likely seem petty in the weeks to come. Marvel has the track record to be trusted with these characters. And the questions the show appears to be raising are intriguing ones. When it’s all said and done, the entire Falcon and The Winter Soldier experience could be as satisfying as any major Marvel movie.

“Whether The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has something meaningful to say from a political standpoint remains to be seen. What is clear, one episode in, is that Skogland directs with skill and polish and that Mackie and Stan are instantly comfortable sliding back into these roles they already know so well. In short, this series seems poised to keep Marvel fans engaged for exactly the amount of time it will take for the next Marvel tentpole to come along, just as the Lord of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, intends.”

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available to stream on Disney Plus.

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