NEW YORK – The action is lively but the drama dull in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."
The first episode of this small-screen extension of the Marvel Comics Universe is currently streaming on Disney+. The five remaining installments will become available each Friday through April 23.
Series creator Malcolm Spellman picks up where the 2019 film "Avengers: Endgame" concluded. The fast-paced opening sequence finds Sam Wilson, aka bewinged superhero Falcon (Anthony Mackie), battling generic terrorists in the air over Tunisia.
While it's not very clearly explained to viewers just who the baddies are or what they're up to, it hardly matters. Sam serves them up their undoubtedly just deserts in a satisfying manner. Back on the ground, however, more exposition is needed.
It's taken for granted, for instance, that viewers know that the other half of the titular duo, the alter ego of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), was once a brainwashed assassin. Now intent on making amends, to the extent he can, he's also in therapy with an unnamed psychiatrist (Amy Aquino).
With Steve Rogers, alias Captain America, out of the picture and perhaps dead, Sam, the heir to his trademark shield, pays tribute to Cap before ceremoniously enshrining his impenetrable piece of armor in a display case at the Smithsonian Institution. It's not destined to remain there long, however.
As far as Sam's private life goes, we're shown his close but quarrelsome relationship with his sister, Sarah (Adepero Oduye). The two are at loggerheads over whether to sell the fishing boat their parents once owned or try to raise the money to repair it. This is not exactly edge-of-your-seat material.
Based on the episode reviewed, the dust-ups are stylized with only the aftereffects of one bone-crunching attack approaching anything like gore. But the occasional vulgar expression makes this best for adults and only possible acceptable for older teens. The show is rated TV-14 – parents strongly cautioned.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.