It’s the Hypocrisy for Me
The first thing I would like to mention is that there must be a recognition on the part of everybody in this nation that America is still a racist country. Now however unpleasant that sounds, it is the truth. And we will never solve the problem of racism until there is a recognition of the fact that racism still stands at the center of so much of our nation and we must see racism for what it is.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Other America
When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve learned to brace for the worst and hope for the best. Although Falcon and the Winter Soldier had the elements and potential to deliver a game-changer of a narrative, it doesn’t mean that the Disney Plus superhero series would.
Deliver they did, with each episode in fact. Joining the ranks of Luke Cage, The Coulson-May Power Hour (billed in some regions as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Daredevil, and even Daughters of the Dragon (the apology tour that was the second season of Iron Fist), Falcon and the Winter Soldier is not only one of the best MCU television series to date, but also one of the best shows to grace the small screen.
Taking place six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson struggles with being handed the mantle of Captain America, which he initially rejects. However, a new threat emerges which forces Wilson and former Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, to team up and embark on a global adventure. Part superhero drama, part political thriller, part noir, part espionage, part action buddy comedy, this miniseries’ masterstroke is that it defies genres and is interwoven with commentary on racism, antiblackness, and other forms of related systemic oppression.
Evaluating Falcon and the Winter Soldier
How impressive is Falcon and the Winter Soldier? It’s so impressive that I’m almost ready to forgive showrunner Malcolm Spellman for his involvement in that Rape of Thrones/Confederate fustercluck from a few years back. But if a critique of systemic oppression is to be had, sometimes it’s necessary to examine the source delivering the message. From homophobia, to racism, to antiblackness, the MCU, Marvel, and parent company Disney have substantial amounts of red on their ledgers:
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is now claiming the world is ready for LGBTQ superheroes. Both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther featured scenes that confirmed both Valkyrie and Ayo are LGBTQs, yet Feige had said scenes removed from both films. So to see Marvel attempt to cash in on LGBTQ dollars opportunistically is peak caucacity.
MCU stans getting six feet in their fee fees because the MCU’s bigotry is exposed is to be expected.
Let movies be movies and characters be represented like they should and want. Not be forced into an agenda.Humberto Lozada
There is no need of forceful intrusion of LGBTQ community into a storyline. Just keep in mind it's a film.Sayantan Bhowmick
Actually LGBT isn't under represented. To match with real world percent of LGBT people and in fiction. It is about the same. LGBT on CW shows are over represented. Unless we have a higher percent of queer, queer people are a special type of community with one or 2 people at the most being queer in movies. Any more will be pandering. People dislike pandering.Whykayl Warren
As previously stated, it’s always a fascinating to see how far society will go to defend white power fantasies, as evidenced here and here. The attitudes of these commenters are a reflection of our culture which sadly reveals far more.
Hypocrisy, oppression, and bigotry are as American as red, white, and blue—lest we forget that Hitler's Final Solution was inspired by Andrew Jackson's genocide of Indigenous Americans. Thus America played a key role in the development of Nazi ideology. Asian and Indigenous citizens were imprisoned in U.S. internment camps.
Black soldiers went overseas to defend the United States only to return home and find burning crosses in their yards—a point made by fellow super soldier and Captain America, Isaiah Bradley.
They were worried my story might get out. So, they erased me. My history. But they've been doing that for five hundred years. Pledge allegiance to that, my brother. They will never let a black man be Captain America. And even if they did, no self-respecting black man would ever wanna be.Isaiah Bradley to Sam Wilson
It’s also fascinating to watch how the public in the MCU canonized Captain America’s shield and deified Steve Rogers once he retired. Very much similar to how Dr. King and President Obama were dehumanized and hated but were immediately loved by the American public once these great leaders were murdered or out of the Oval Office and no longer considered a threat.
From the time he was rescued from his icy prison, Captain Rogers spent much of his time being framed, hunted, and nearly assassinated by his own government. Why? Because he planted his boots, stood tall, and told the rest of the world to move. It was reiterated throughout the miniseries that Captain America’s shield was an important and vital symbol.
This is telling, given that said symbol is composed of vibranium that was columbussed from the African kingdom of Wakanda. Said symbol Rogers himself threw away. Because Rogers spoke out against the Sokovia Accords—a registration act that is analagous to racial profiling—he and his supporters were on the run for two years. Rogers fought for what America is supposed to be. As a result, he was frequently deemed an enemy of the state. People love the idea of heroes until they actually take a stand and fight evil.
Even Captain John Walker, Steve’s replacement, the golden boy of Uncle Sam, had what Paul Mooney would call the Negro Wakeup Call. When he was other than honorably discharged at the U.S. Capitol hearing, Walker was shocked at how quickly he was discarded by the very corrupt system who created him.
I lived my life by your mandates! I dedicated my life to your mandates! I only ever did what you asked of me, what you told me to be, and trained me to do, and I did it. And I did it well…..You built me Senator. I am Captain America.John Walker
As the current Captain America, Sam Wilson is now on borrowed time. After all, Captain Americas tend not to take. Just the same, the events of
Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I mean, Captain America and the Winter Soldier herald the dawn of a new era in the MCU.
All of this is exactly why Captain America and Winter Soldier is a triumph. It masterfully delivered a complex, sophisticated, entertaining epic which not only casts a reflection on its characters and the company that released it but also our culture as well. The very piece you’re reading is evidence of that. True artistry is ultimately a paradox. It’s essentially a lie that unveils the deepest truths. It forces us to examine ourselves, the world around us, it entertains and inspires us to be better and to do the impossible.
Excelsior true believers!