Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four Re-Watch. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, part 2

It’s been a year since I last did a rewatch, ending Phase Three with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Now that the Infinity Saga is over and Thanos has turned to dust, our surviving heroes have moved on… with various degrees of success. Phase Four incorporates both Cinematic releases and television programs. For the television programs, I am limiting each article to three episodes each

Title:  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Characters created by:  Stan Lee, Gene Colon, Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary, David Michelinie, John Byrne, Bob Layton, Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, Sal Buscema, Dick Ayers, Jim Steranko

Returning characters (for the series):  Sam Wilson, James “Bucky” Barnes, Sharon Carter, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Baron Helmut Zemo, Georges Batroc, Ayo

Episode four:“The Whole World Is Watching” 

Director:   Karl Skogland

Writer:   Derek Kolstad 

US Release Date: April 9, 2021

Summary:  Bucky Barnes is confronted by Ayo of the Dora Milaje, who has come for Helmut Zemo, the terrorist that killed their king T’Chaka. As Barnes broke Zemo out of prison to help him find the terrorist group, the Flag Smashers, Ayo gives Barnes eight hours to use Zemo before the Wakandans come for him. Barnes, Zemo, and Sam Wilson investigate a camp in Latvia where Flag Smasher sympathizers are housing and teaching people that were displaced when half of all life returned from the Blip.

Zemo discovers where a memorial service is being held for Donya Madani, the adoptive mother of the Flag Smashers’ leader Karli Morgenthau. He, Wilson, and Barnes are confronted by John Walker / Captain America and his partner Lemar Hoskins, who Wilson convinces to let him speak to Morgenthau alone. Wilson attempts to persuade her to change her violent methods, but is interrupted by an impatient Walker, leading to a fight. Zemo shoots Morgenthau, causing her to drop vials of Super Soldier Serum, which he begins to smash. Walker stops Zemo and retrieves a single remaining vial while Morgenthau escapes.

Ayo and the Dora Milaje come for Zemo, but Walker refuses to hand him over. In the ensuing fight, Walker is humiliated while Zemo escapes. Walker later discusses the Super Soldier Serum with Hoskins, who suggests that Walker will always make the right decision and would be able to save lives if he had taken it. Morgenthau plans to divide the group and threatens Wilson’s sister Sarah and her family to lure him and Barnes to a meeting. Meanwhile, Walker and Hoskins attack other Flag Smashers. Wilson and Barnes rush to find them, leading to another fight wherein Wilson realizes that Walker has taken the serum.

Morgenthau follows Wilson and Barnes and joins the fight, accidentally killing Hoskins. Enraged by his friend’s death, Walker chases down one of the Flag Smashers, Nico, and uses his shield to violently beat him to death. With Nico’s blood on the shield, Walker realizes that he is surrounded by horrified bystanders who have filmed his actions, including Wilson, Barnes, and Morgenthau.

MCU Continuity Nods:  Zemo is wanted by Wakanda due to his actions in Captain America: Civil War.The phrase “The whole world is watching” is a line from Black Panther, when Okoye warns T’Challa of the exact same thing as he prepares to execute Ulysses Klau in front of a large crowd of bystanders who are all recording his actions on their smartphones.

When Ayo removes Bucky’s arm, the words she says to him in Wakandian are “Bast damn you”. Bast is the panther goddess that first led the original Black Panther to the heart-shaped herb. When Sam wants to reason with Karli, he tells John Walker that he used to counsel soldiers dealing with trauma, which was Sam’s job in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Easter Eggs: Bucky, as White Wolf, is different from the persona in the comics. White Wolf is the loyal adopted brother of Wakanda’s King T’Challa and is the Chieftain of the Hatut Zeraze, the country’s secret police, and a brutal warrior.

Episode five: “Truth”

Director:   Karl Skogland

Writer:   by Dalan Musson 

US Release Date: April 16, 2021

Summary:  After using Captain America’s shield to kill one of the Flag Smashers in public, John Walker flees, but is pursued by Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Wilson demands that Walker hand over the shield, but he refuses. In the ensuing fight, Walker destroys Wilson’s wingsuit, but Wilson and Barnes take the shield from him, breaking his arm in the process. Wilson then leaves his damaged wingsuit with Joaquin Torres and asks him to continue looking for the Flag Smashers.

Barnes finds Helmut Zemo at a memorial in Sokovia and hands him over to the Dora Milaje. While Ayo advises him not to return to Wakanda for some time, he asks her to forward a favor to the country. Meanwhile, Walker receives an other than honorable discharge and is stripped of his role as Captain America. Afterward, he is approached by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who tells him that taking the serum and killing the Flag Smasher was the right thing to do and says she will contact him in the future. Walker later visits his late partner Lemar Hoskins’ family, and claims that the man he killed is the one who killed Hoskins.

Wilson returns to Baltimore to visit Isaiah Bradley, who discusses his past as a Black super soldier and how he was imprisoned after rescuing fellow soldiers who had also been experimented on before stating that a Black man would never be allowed to become Captain America nor should one want to. Wilson then returns home to Louisiana and helps his sister Sarah fix the family boat, with assistance from several locals as well as Barnes, who delivers a briefcase from the Wakandans to Wilson. Wilson and Barnes train with the shield and agree to move on from their pasts and work together.

Meanwhile, the Flag Smashers plan an attack on a Global Repatriation Council (GRC) conference in New York City. They are joined by Georges Batroc, who wants to kill Wilson and was released from prison by Sharon Carter. When Torres contacts Wilson and tells him the Flag Smashers have been detected in New York City, Wilson decides to intervene and opens the briefcase.

In a mid-credits scene, Walker builds a new shield from scrap metal and his Medal of Honor.

MCU Continuity Nods:  The fight in the factory between Captain America (John Walker), Falcon and Bucky is a reverse of the final fight in Captain America: Civil War where Bucky and Captain America (Steve Rogers) fought Iron Man, a non-powered hero with tech. The shield drop at the end of the fight is also a call back to “Civil War” except now it’s Sam taking the title instead of Steve laying it down. This fight is also loosely adapted from the comics “Captain America” (vol. 1) #350, where The Captain (Steve Rogers) had to fight Captain America (John Walker) to get him to lay down the shield.

The Sokovian memorial that Zemo stands looking at features the Sokovian flag, which was only ever seen in the background of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The memorial also features a family, which is a nod to Zemo’s family, the Maximoffs and all of the other families lost. The memorial is also made on the lip of a large crater made by Ultron.

Ayo tells Bucky that the Dora Milaje are taking Baron Zemo to the Raft, a water-based prison for super powered people that made its MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War where it was last seen being supervised by Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. In the comics, Ross created his own team of ex-criminals, the Thunderbolts, who were originally lead by Zemo.

When the Dora Milaje arrives to arrest Baron Zemo, they are traveling in the Royal Talon Fighter that was first seen in Black Panther.

Easter Eggs: Contessa Valentina Allegra De Fontaine in the comics was a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. operative and sometime lover of Nick Fury. She was also a high-level HYDRA agent known as Madame Hydra. The black and white calling card may be an homage to her appearance in the comics in which she had black hair with a white streak.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus cameos as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, an espionage agent who first appeared in Strange Tales #159. In talking about the cameo leading up to the episode, a producer said he wants Fontaine to team up with Thor in the future of the MCU. In an article published in Vanity Fair about the episode, it was revealed Louis-Dreyfus was supposed to make her first appearance as Fontaine in Black Widow, however that film was delayed

Music:During John Walker’s panel trial outburst a sad theme from Captain America: Civil War (2016) can be heard.When Bucky finds Zemo at a Sokovian memorial, Zemo’s theme from Captain America: Civil War (2016) can be heard in the background.

Episode six:One World, One People

Director:   Karl Skogland

Writer:   Malcolm Spellman and Josef Sawyer

US Release Date: April 23, 2021

Summary:  Wearing a new Captain America uniform and flight suit from the Wakandans, Sam Wilson flies to New York to save the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) from the Flag Smashers’ attack, with the help of Bucky Barnes and Sharon Carter, who had secretly traveled to New York. While Wilson fights Georges Batroc, the Flag Smashers take several GRC representatives as hostages. Wilson pursues a group of hostages taken in a helicopter, while Barnes pursues and intercepts a group in trucks. Karli Morgenthau sets one of the vehicles on fire to keep Barnes busy and escape with the other, but John Walker arrives and intervenes. Barnes succeeds in freeing the hostages from the burning truck and joins Walker in battling the Flag Smashers but is knocked into the pit of a construction site. Walker is overcome as well, and Morgenthau drives the remaining truck into the site. Walker chooses to let Morgenthau go to stop the truck from falling. Morgenthau and the remaining Flag Smashers attack him, and they all fall to the ground, but Wilson, having saved the hostages in the helicopter, arrives and catches the truck. As the hostages are freed, Batroc arrives and uses smoke grenades to allow the Flag Smashers to flee into the tunnels around the construction site.

Carter separates Morgenthau from the others and confronts Morgenthau for betraying her, revealing her identity as the Power Broker. Batroc attempts to blackmail Carter, but she kills him. Wilson comes to reason with Morgenthau, but Morgenthau refuses to listen to Wilson’s pleas and fights with him once more, but when Morgenthau is about to shoot Wilson, Carter shoots her. Before dying, a tearful Morgenthau apologizes to Wilson. After the attack, Wilson convinces the GRC to postpone the vote to force the relocation of the Blip-displaced people that Morgenthau died fighting for and instead make efforts to help them.

The remaining Super Soldier Serum-enhanced Flag Smashers are captured, but they are killed by Helmut Zemo’s butler Oeznik via a vehicle explosion while en-route to the Raft. Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine gives Walker a new suit and asks him to become a U.S. Agent for tasks where they cannot use Captain America. Wilson takes Isaiah Bradley and his grandson Eli to the Smithsonian’s Captain America exhibit, where he had a memorial dedicated to Bradley installed. Barnes makes amends with his friend, Yori Nakajima, telling him that he killed his son while he was the Winter Soldier and crosses off every other name on his list of people who needed closure from him. Leaving New York for Louisiana, he then joins Wilson and his friends and family for a celebratory cookout.

In a mid-credits scene, Carter receives a pardon from the United States government and is reinstated to her former position in the CIA. She later makes a phone call, informing someone that the Power Broker now has full access to the government’s secrets.

MCU Continuity Nods:  When Sharon Carter shows up at the GRC siege, she is wearing an electronic face mask. This kind of mask was first used by Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but they became a major story device in the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Easter Eggs: The final scene with John Walker, who has received his U.S. Agent costume, has the final line “I’m back!”. That mirrors the cover of “Captain America” (vol.1) #354 which features Walker in his comic debut as U.S. Agent saying that line in costume while punching the comic’s title as Captain America in the traditional masthead picture in the left-hand corner flinches.

Music:In the scene where John Walker decides to help people instead of going for revenge, his theme switches from a minor key to a major key to give it a more heroic sound.

Personal connection: The woman who hands Bucky the cell phone is played by Jennifer Christa Palmer, a classmate of mine from Penn State. She is awesome.

My Take:  The things I liked about this show had to do with Sam and Bucky in Louisiana. I thought Walker’s turn back to the good guys and their acceptance of him was a little too quick.

I am honestly more excited to see what this is going to lead to. It looks like we’re going to get the Thunderbolts and the Young Avengers

Next: Loki