Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson Reviews Falcon and Winter Soldier and gets a Little Nostalgic
The Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, is easily one my Top 5 things the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us. It’s been over a week since the series finale, so SPOILERS moving forward.
The chemistry between our two leads, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, is Gibson/Glover level quality. There was always something there going all the way back to Captain America: Civil War. I’d even go so far as to say they may be the best action/comedy duo since Tango and Cash. And that’s high praise coming from the Odinson.
Sam – “So all this time you’ve been rich?”
Helmut – “I’m a Baron.”
Baron Zemo is now officially my favorite MCU villain. Daniel Bruhl delivers a performance that is devilishly charming, mirthfully dangerous, and has such refrained darkness that as a viewer, I got so swept up that there were moments when I found myself actually rooting for the bad guy. From comic books to cartoons to film, that is one of the main things Marvel does better than anybody else. They give us great villains like Magneto and Thanos who have motivations we can actually sympathize with and we understand their point of view, though we will never agree with the way they go about their business.
The MCU is fantastic when it comes to world building. Even amongst the exciting set pieces, drama, humor, mystery, and intrigue of the overall story, they still found time to drop Easter eggs and hints of things to come that may or may not involve Wolverine, Madame Hydra, the Thunderbolts, and Secret Invasion! And, Holy Moley! Sam Wilson’s picture perfect Captain America costume was beyond satisfying. If I had one grievance it’s that I don’t like that they killed off Batroc. One, I like that character, two, I like Georges St-Pierre’s portrayal of the character, and three, I feel like it’s a missed opportunity to have humorous recurring appearances by him, even if only as cameos.
I cannot believe I live in a world where John Walker appeared in a live action series. Even though he took a lot of flak, both from internet trolls and in character, Wyatt Russell nailed this role. John Walker comes out of The Captain storyline from the 1980s, one of the Odinson’s All-Time favorite Cap tales (and one I have talked about before HERE), and Falcon and the Winter Soldier borrowed heavily from this classic story. Walker’s character arc is timeless. A man that wants to be the hero so bad that he is willing to do anything, even sell his soul. But he crumbles under the pressure of that responsibility and crosses the line. Then, he has a choice to make, continue down that dark path, or seek redemption through action and deeds.
There is even a scene during the final showdown when Walker has a choice to make, save lives or go after the glory. I actually said out loud, “This is your moment!” And Walker did not let me down.
Odinson Rating: 5 out of 5 Hammers
I enjoyed The Falcon and the Winter Soldier so much and I was so appreciative that they would lean so heavily on and respect the source material that it got me feeling a little nostalgic. I started thinking back to the first time I was introduced to my All-Time favorite comic book heroes.
Like most fanboys and girls, the Odinson has a Mount Rushmore of super heroes. Though there may be others out there I love, these are the four that, hands down, epitomize what a comic book super hero is in the eyes of the Odinson. Those four heroes are Captain America, Thor, Superman, and ROM Spaceknight.
And, if my memory serves me right, this is how I met these characters on the page.
1 – Captain America and the Falcon #168 (the Book and Record Set edition to be more accurate) – The best comic book covers in history tell a story and make you want to pick up the book to find out what happens next, and oh boy is this one a doozy! Our hero is strapped to a death trap showing his never say die spirit as he is beginning to burst his bonds even while the maniacal villain frantically screams vengeance and fires his weapon wildly. All this and the hero’s partner arrives, hopefully in the nick of time for the save.
There is so much to unpack there. Needless to say, this is the very first comic book I can remember that I had that starred the Sentinel of Liberty. And it just coincidentally features many of the characters that would play major roles in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier Disney+ series. This was also my introduction to the Falcon, who I have always thought was a visually interesting and under used character. Plus, here we meet the Phoenix! No, not Jean Grey. Who is the Phoenix you ask, and why does he hate our hero so much?
We learn here he is Helmut Zemo the son of Heinrich Zemo, Steve Roger’s arch foe from World War II. You know, the man responsible for the death of Bucky and Cap ending up on ice for decades. Helmut would, of course, go onto huge things by taking up his father’s mantle as Baron Zemo and orchestrating the events of Under Siege and assemble the Thunderbolts.
2 – The Mighty Thor King-Size Annual #5 – I was made aware of the thunder god by my father who had told me Thor was his favorite hero when he was a kid. I have always had a fascination with fantasy and especially mythology, so naturally I gravitated toward the character. And when it comes to myths and legends, it does not come anymore epic than this King-Size tome.
Through the deceptions of Loki, Mount Olympus and Asgard declare war on each other. Yes, you heard that right. The Greek and Norse gods face off on a bloody battlefield to decide just who the mightiest pantheon in the heavens is! Thor vs. Hercules! Tyr vs. Ares! All-Father Odin coming face-to-face with Lord Zeus! And it is all gorgeously rendered by the great John Buscema, a true master of his craft.
3 – Superman: Alien Creatures – I was first introduced to the Man of Steel through old B&W George Reeves reruns and the Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon. And Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve is one of the very first movies I ever saw in the theatres. So I was an enormous Superman fan before I ever even experienced him in the four color medium. The very first Superman comic I can remember getting is this Book and Record set. You follow the action in comic book format while a record emits voices and sound effects.
Someday, I really must talk about all those fantastic Book and Record sets. They were truly amazing. From Hulk to Spider-Man, Superman to Star Trek, I had so many of those and they played a huge role in turning a young Odinson into a comic book fan for life.
4 – ROM #45 – I had already been introduced to the Soviet Super Soldiers in the pages of Incredible Hulk #258-259. So, when I saw them on this cover I was intrigued and bought this issue of a series starring a hero whom I only vaguely remembered was a toy my next door neighbor had a few years earlier. Within these pages, I was introduced to the noble ROM, greatest of the Spaceknights of shining Galador. And, I was also introduced to the horrible Dire Wraiths.
When I say the last page cliffhanger of this comic book had me salivating for more I mean I was beside myself with anticipation until ROM #46 hit the spinner rack a month later. I must have driven that poor store clerk crazy coming in nearly every day for a month asking if the new issue of ROM had arrived yet. When it did, I dashed home faster than the Flash in order to find out what became of ROM and those Russian super heroes.
Over the next few months, ROM #47-49 built a momentum that reached an apex in the pages of ROM #50. This is one of the single most traumatizing comic books I ever read in my childhood. I learned that nobody was safe and anyone could perish in the fight against evil. It blew my young mind! Longtime supporting cast members and even a super hero falls to the evil machinations ROM’s enemies. A fan was born and I made it my mission to hunt down every Spaceknight back issue I could find at my local comic shop (though local comic book dungeon would be more accurate because that’s what they looked like back then). I devoured them all with a ravenous appetite.
NOTE: My original copy of ROM #50 was taken away by my 4th grade teacher because I was disrupting class with my exuberant description of the mind-blowing events that had taken place within its pages. Though it has since been replaced, I never got that original copy back.
There you have it, folks. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is A++ and one of the finest things the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us. Plus, I shared how I met my four All-Time favorite super heroes in the four color medium. Hopefully, this will inspire thee to seek out some of your old favorites and revisit the magic that started it all for you.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE