Renée Elise Goldsberry, perhaps best known for her role in Hamilton, will appear in the upcoming Marvel Studios series ‘She-Hulk’ for Disney+.
Goldsberry earned a Grammy Award and Tony Award for her role in Hamilton, the hit musical from Lin Manuel Miranda. She has also appeared in Altered Carbon, Waves, and The House With a Clock in its Walls.
She-Hulk is described as a legal comedy/drama with 30 minute episodes, similar in length to the recently concluded WandaVision. Maslany plays the title character, Jennifer Walters, who has powers similar to her cousin, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). She-Hulk will be directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia. Jessica Gao is head writer on the series.
No release date has been set for the series. There are several other Marvel projects in active development for Disney+, including Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, What If?, Moon Knight, and more. After The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which is currently airing, the next Marvel series on the streamer is set to be Loki, which premieres this June.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 3
The second MCU series on Disney+ hit its halfway mark this week with an engaging, somewhat choppy installment. The third episode, titled Power Broker, sees Sam and Bucky team up with their former nemesis, turned ally Zemo as they continue their investigation into the super-powered Flag Smashers.
Power Broker is the longest episode of The Falcon and the Winter to date, yet it still feels like the pacing of the series is off. A hell of a lot transpires in this third episode, with a prison interview and breakout occuring only within the five minutes before the title card even appears. The pace is breakneck, which, while it is refreshing relative to the slow pilot, doesn’t leave you with much time to really sit with the unfolding plot and characters’ journeys. The characters often hop from one location to the next and so much plot is contained within the 52 minute episode that it made me wish they slowed things down a bit. At times, this just felt jarring. Questions like “Wait, who are they referring to here?”, “Where are they going now?” and “Why did they do that exactly?” often arose, but there simply isn’t enough time to mentally wrap your head around these questions before you’re thrown into the next scene and, in turn, the next bout of questions. This doesn’t mean The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is confusing or convoluted – the plot is actually very straightforward so far. It just seems that the show still struggles with pacing issues.
Easily the standout of this episode is the return of the excellent Daniel Brühl as Zemo, reprising his role from Captain America: Civil War. Brühl deftly plays the fine line between friend and foe to our titular characters, an unexpected twist given that Zemo was billed as the series’ big bad. Despite a stellar performance, I couldn’t help but think this was a different character than the Zemo we saw in Captain America: Civil War. The Zemo in that film was an extremely logical and reasonable Sovokian soldier, hardened by the loss of his family at the hands of the Avengers’ battle with Ultron. But the Zemo we see in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is different – he’s lavish, arrogant, a wealthy Baron with connections to the criminal underworld. Something didn’t feel quite right with the continuity of Brühl’s character.
Nonetheless, Power Broker played out like a James Bond spy thriller in the best possible way. Identities are concealed as they travel to the underworld of Madripoor to uncover more information about this new batch of Super Soldiers. The production design of the city, streets, and club was beautiful and, when compared to other settings like Louisiana and Baltimore so far, really add to the global, political thriller aesthetic of the series. Seeing Bucky (a little too easily) get back into the mindset of the Winter Soldier was awesome to see, as was the tension while Sam took the phone call from his sister.
As the plot continues to unfold, we’re introduced to Sharon Carter, played once again by Emily VanCamp. VanCamp always felt a little shortchanged in the films, with appearances in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War before pretty much vanishing from the MCU for five years. It was an interesting twist to see Sharon gone rogue, on the run from the U.S. government and resentful over the consequences of her alliance with Steve. VanCamp also delivers the series’ best action sequence so far as she expertly takes out a myriad of the Power Broker’s goons in true John Wick style.
With the episode winding down, we know a bit more about what’s going on with the Flag Smashers, but not much. Sam and Bucky continue to play detective, picking up crumbs along their way, but not putting the puzzle fully together yet. It seems inevitable that Zemo will turn full bad guy again, while the Flag Smashers will be revealed as well-intentioned. Perhaps the most intriguing moment of the episode was the final moments, featuring the unexpected appearance of Ayo, the second in-command of Dora Milaj played by Florence Kasumba reprising her role from Civil War, Black Panther, and Infinity War. This adds a different spin on things as we’re going to see the aftermath of Zemo’s murder of King T’Chaka. Ayo’s appearance also lays the foundation for a greater exploration of Bucky’s role as the White Wolf. His time in Wakanda has been referenced briefly, but it’ll be interesting to see what effects this sabbatical had on the former HYDRA agent.
Choppy pacing and odd in-universe continuity aside, Power Broker is a thoroughly entertaining, tension-filled, and globe-trotting installment of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Reintroductions to Zemo, Sharon Carter, and Ayo add interesting new angles to explore as the show really embraces its political thriller and spy film roots.
Russell Crowe will appear in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder in an unknown role, according to Deadline. His role is currently described as a cameo, and speculation was rampant that he would appear in Taika Waititi’s latest Marvel project after he was spotted around the cast and crew of the film.
Crowe is perhaps best known for his role in Gladiator, the 2000 Ridley Scott directed film that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Crowe won Best Actor for his performance in that film. He has also appeared in Man of Steel as Superman’s father, Jor-El, as well as Les Misérables and 3:10 to Yuma.
Crowe joins a cast led by Chris Hemsworth, returning for his fourth solo Thor film and his first since the events of Avengers: Endgame. Natalie Portman also returns for the first time since Thor: The Dark World, although she did appear in Endgame via archive footage. Christian Bale will play the villain, and is no stranger to comic book films after his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy.
Thor: Love and Thunder is filming now in Australia, and is slated for a May 6, 2022 release.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Episode 2
Following last week’s somewhat slow start, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier kicked it up a notch with a second episode full of action, suspense, emotion, and buddy-cop antics. Episode 2, titled The Star-Spangled Man, sees John Walker be named the new Captain America, much to the dismay of Bucky Barnes. The ex-Winter Soldier teams up with Sam Wilson, the man Steve Rogers passed the shield along to, on a mission to investigate the Flag Smashers.
The Star-Spangled Man feels like what we all wanted, but didn’t quite get, from the premiere episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. New World Order felt more like a re-introduction into the lives of Sam and Bucky than it did a full-fledged pilot to a big budget, MCU television series. And, while it was a nice change of pace to see Avengers like Falcon and the Winter Soldier tackle mundane, daily tasks, the episode fell a little flat. The series’ second episode, however, suffers from no such problems.
Picking up where New World Order left off, we’re introduced to John Walker – the new Captain America. I appreciated that the episode didn’t portray Walker in such a light as to make viewers immediately dislike him and root against him. Walker’s first scene is humanizing; he’s isolated and contemplative as the weight of the country rests on his shoulders, a stark contrast to the perhaps villainous depiction we might’ve expected. As the episode goes on, our perceptions of Walker remain muddled. Wyatt Russell portrays the character with a vulnerability and approachability, which is ingratiating, but one can’t help but feel like he’s arrogant and undeserving of the title of Captain America.
Episode 2 really excels when it expertly blends buddy-cop action with political thriller suspense. Excluding some occasionally awkward dialogue, the rapport between Sam and Bucky evokes the ‘love ‘em, but hate ‘em’ relationships we’ve seen and love from buddy-cop films like 48 Hours or Bad Boys. Meanwhile, the episode’s plot evokes the political thriller elements of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War in the best possible way. There’s a grand, James Bond-like feel to the episode, with our titular characters globetrotting to uncover the motivations and schemes of the seemingly villainous, super soldier Flag Smashers.
The Star-Spangled Man offered a closer examination of the shows ‘villains’ (villains in quotations as we suspect there may be some twists and turns to come with this group). Erin Kellyman is unmasked after her appearance in the premiere and seems to be playing a role eerily similar to Enfys Nest in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Not that we’re complaining, however, as Kellyman was a standout in Solo and always steals the scenes that she’s in, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier being no exception. Speaking of villains, we also get our first look at Daniel Brühl’s Zemo this season. Zemo is a terrific character from the comics and it was obvious that his journey in the MCU had not concluded with Captain America: Civil War. It’ll be interesting to see the paths of Zemo and Bucky converge again in what seems to be, at least initially, a collaboration.
The episode also offers a number of poignant moments that stand out amidst the thrills and action. The imagery of red and blue lights flashing as police officers approach Sam and Bucky in the street was bone-chilling in its resemblance to real world racial horrors. It was also touching to see Sam’s brief, yet intimate and playful conversation with a young boy who calls him ‘Black Falcon.’ In a show about the aftermath of Captain America featuring a black character as the lead, I really hope that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier continues to explore the state of the nation and racial tensions of the real world in similarly poignant ways.
The ‘couples therapy’ session with Sam and Bucky struck a great balance between despair and humor. Yes, seeing Sam and Bucky in a couples therapy session like this, getting uncomfortably close and exchanging sly insults, was hilarious, but seeing Bucky’s disappointment at Sam’s decision to relinquish the shield and seeing Sam’s attempts to defend his decision really stuck with me. After two episodes, the show’s exploration into concepts of legacy and expectations is really intriguing.
The Star-Spangled Man wasn’t without its faults, however. The pacing of the episode feels somewhat off at times, largely attributable to several scenes that seem like they last a bit too long. This issue is exacerbated by dialogue that doesn’t always flow as well as one would hope and expect, especially given the MCU’s impressive track record in this department. But, perhaps what was most unusual about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s second episode, was how disconnected, in many ways, it felt from the previous episode. Central plot lines from the previous episode, like Sam trying to save the family boat and Bucky trying to make amends, are left entirely unaddressed in this episode. It’s obvious and inevitable that the series will circle back to these plot points, but it felt a little off-putting that these threads were entirely neglected, albeit in favor of a much more enthralling, plot-focused episode. Finally, the writers made a bold decision in not showing our titular characters together in the first of only six episodes, which built anticipation for their inevitable meeting in the following installment. However, when Bucky approaches Sam at the hangar, their first meeting in the series just fell kind of flat. These are characters who we’ve seen together in the likes of The Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame, but it didn’t feel right that Sam and Bucky meet up once again in such an underwhelming fashion.
A significant improvement over the series’ pilot, The Star-Spangled Man sees our leads team up in an episode that brilliantly blends buddy-cop action and political thriller suspense. As the plot thickens and new elements, like John Walker and the Flag Smashers, are added to the chess board, the show continues to unfold in a fun, tense, and emotional way, despite some hiccups with pacing and dialogue.
Black Widow has moved release dates once again, this time to July 9, and will now premiere on Disney+ as well as in theaters. This has proven to be Disney’s preferred model during the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced movie theaters to close for months. This month, LA and New York state theaters finally reopened for the first time in months, yet Disney seems to believe that moving the latest Marvel Studios film back two months gives it the highest chance of success.
Like Raya and the Last Dragon, the latest Disney film, Black Widow will premiere on Disney+ through the premiere access model, in which subscribers pay a fee to watch the movie on top of the monthly subscription fee.
Elsewhere, Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings moves to September 3. Shang Chi previously occupied the July 9 spot before Black Widow was pushed back. There’s no word yet on whether or not Shang Chi will also have premiere access.
Until then, Marvel fans can look forward to the latest episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, as well as Loki, which premieres June 11.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier premiered last Friday to great reviews from critics and fans alike. The highly anticipated show was clearly a smash hit in terms of viewership, with Disney officially announcing that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier had the most watched premiere in the steamer’s history.
TFATWS beats out other popular shows on Disney+, such as The Mandalorian and WandaVision. The first episode of the show, titled ‘New World Order’, was praised for its grounded approach, showing Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes engage in regular, everyday activities. Although later episodes of the season will, in all likelihood, increase the action and scale of the show, the pilot allowed for fans to understand these two titular heroes on a deeper level, seeing their lives in a different light. No wonder fans can’t get enough.
Episode 2 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier premieres Friday on Disney+.
The upcoming Hawkeye series may already be getting a spin-off series, according to Variety. Echo, a deaf and Native American character that will be played by Alaqua Cox in Hawkeye, is said to be the focus of this spin-off.
In the comics, Echo works closely with Daredevil and other Marvel characters, and was the first to go by the name Ronin, a mantle that Hawkeye took on in Avengers: Endgame after the death of his family.
Hawkeye is slated to release in the fall of 2021, and stars Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Tony Dalton, and Alaqua Cox. Steinfeld will play Kate Bishop, a young archer who becomes an apprentice to Renner’s Hawkeye.
Marvel fans have plenty of other projects to look forward to. There are several shows in active development for Disney+, including Loki (releasing this June), Ms. Marvel, What If?, Moon Knight, and She Hulk. These are in addition to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which is currently airing weekly on the streaming service.
by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh for @mar_tesseract
Lieutenant Joaquin Torres
Torres was in Tunisia with Sam Wilson as the latter fought back against the plane hijackers in the big action sequence of the first episode. He later appears undercover in the episode as he attempts to stop a bank robbery, and reports his findings on these serial thieves to Wilson. In the comics, Torres becomes The Falcon to Sam Wilson’s Captain America. Expect to see more of him in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and the MCU in general.
Sam uses Redwing in the air battle in Tunisia, and later repairs his electronic sidekick to make sure it’s good to go again. Redwing first made an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and is Sam Wilson’s sidekick in the comics. In the source material, Redwing is an actual bird, compared to technology in the MCU.
In the scene in which The Flag Smashers cause chaos and steal yet again (and Torres gets hurt), one of these villainous individuals is seen putting on her mask. The audience can see her red, curly hair, and this actress is Erin Kellyman, who will go on to have a bigger role in TFATWS. Kellyman is best known for her role as Enfys Nest in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
One of the hijackers seen early on in the episode is Georges Batroc, who is seen in the opening action scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and fights Steve Rogers. Batroc is played by Georges St. Pierre, a famed UFC fighter.
On Your Left
A recurring theme in the relationship between Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers was the way in which both kept saying “on your left” to each other, a trend that started in the second chapter of the Captain America trilogy. As many fans pointed out after a trailer reveal for the show, Sam Wilson stands beside a photo of Captain America, which is on his left.
The Captain America Museum’s Endgame Reference
Rhodey and Wilson walk through the Captain America museum early on in the premiere, and fans can see a section dedicated to Cap’s “final mission”, which describes the events of Avengers: Endgame and the return of the infinity stones across time and space.
Bucky on the Floor
“Your bed. It’s too soft. When I was over there, I’d sleep on the ground and use rocks for pillows like a caveman. Now I’m home, lying in bed, and it’s like-“
“Lying on a marshmallow. Feel like I’m gonna sink right to the floor.”
The first episode of TFATWS had many callbacks to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, including a reference to his exchange between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson. Bucky wakes up from his nightmare sleeping on the floor, highlighting that he too feels uncomfortable in his own bed, instead choosing to lay on the hard ground. This only adds to Bucky’s internal struggles and guilt in this episode.
Paul Walter Hauser
Sebastian Stan is best known for his role as Bucky Barnes in the MCU, but has also appeared in several non-Marvel films, including the critically acclaimed “I Tonya”, in which he appeared alongside Margot Robbie and Paul Walter Hauser. On Bucky’s list of those he wanted to make amends with, the name “P.W. Hauser” appears, a reference to his costar from that film.
Bucky stops a fight between Yori and a man named Unique in an alleyway, a callback to Steve Rogers fighting a group of bullies in an alley in 1940’s New York, as seen in Captain America: The First Avenger.
The end credits of the episode have many hidden references and call backs, one of which being Zemo’s notes from Captain America: Civil War that make Bucky turn into the Winter Soldier. Seventeen, daybreak, and furnace all appear in the credits, and are all part of the sequence of words that Zemo used against Bucky.
Warning: This review contains spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier – Episode 1
“How does it feel?”
“Like it’s someone else’s.”
The final words exchanged between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson hold weight and are explored more deeply in the debut episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Fresh off of the season finale of WandaVision, the highly anticipated second Disney+ series from Marvel Studios premiered this week with a solid, albeit slow start.
The episode, titled New World Order, kicks off with a relentless action sequence that feels like it’s straight out of an MCU film, once again showing the cinematic qualities of the series released on Disney+ so far. The action is fast paced and reminiscent of some of the more bandheld work seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Speaking of that film, it’s a cool little parallel to see both Cap and Sam fight Batroc at the start of their respective projects. The sequence seems to last just a tad too long, but it serves as a great, tension-filled jumpstart to the series.
Perhaps a little unusually, however, that ends up being the only real action sequence of the whole episode. After his escapades in the Middle East, Sam repairs his tech and heads back to Washington, D.C., where he gives away the Cap shield to the U.S. government, believing that it would be put in a museum. This scene gives us the first surprise cameo of the show, as Rhodey (Don Cheadle) enters and he and Sam have an important conversation about taking up the Captain America mantle. Like the first scene of the episode, Sam’s internal conflict regarding his worthiness for the shield and title of Captain America shows and affirms that this thread is the most interesting part of his screentime in the premiere debut. He feels that being Cap is too much pressure and that he won’t be able to live up to Steve Rogers’ heroics, thus believing that the only way forward is to retire the mantle all together. This inner conflict is one that is ripe for a TV show, and is bound to be explored in later episodes of TFATWS. With the total runtime of the series expected to be around six hours, that’s a lot of time for Sam’s conflict to truly be explored and, ultimately, resolved. There’s a lot of potential here with this, although the premiere only touches the surface of Sam’s decision.
Unfortunately, the other Sam-centric content in the episode falls a little flat. It was inevitable that Sam was going to be given quite a bit more characterization in this series relative to his role in the MCU films, but none of it is particularly captivating, especially for a premiere episode. Sam’s relationships with his sister and her children, in addition to attempts to save the family business, are explored in a manner that really isn’t too gripping. It’s unique to see an Avenger like Sam taken out of the battlefield and into his personal lie, where the audience gets a look at him in a way we haven’t before. And it’s unique to see an Avenger do something as seemingly menial as going to the bank, but it ultimately results in a series of choppy, unadventurous scenes in which the audience is left wondering where it’s going or what effect this plot will have on the show overall.
Meanwhile, as the title suggests, the other half of the episode focuses on Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier. Similar to the episode’s approach to Sam, there is a very purposeful, slow-paced tone employed to highlight Bucky’s life beyond the battlefield. Bucky is seen dealing with the guilt of his past and his work with Hydra, waking up from a dream which sees him raid a public space and kill everyone in his vicinity (a scene beautifully reminiscent of his endeavors as the Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America; Civil War). Bucky visits a therapist later in the episode, another example of a hero doing a regular, everyday task. Although he denies having a nightmare, his horrific acts still weigh on his mind as he woke up in such a fright and even goes as far to befriend Mr. Nakajima, an older man whose son Bucky killed in the past, and is one of many on a list of individuals that Barnes hopes to make amends with. The scenes with Mr. Nakajima and Bucky really highlight the latter’s humanity and just how far he’s come in this universe. The audience really gets inside Bucky’s head in these scenes in a manner more interesting than Sam’s so far. It’s difficult to not empathize with Bucky as his guilt is so palpable. It was always assumed that he had this feeling of guilt in Civil War, Infinity War, and even Endgame, yet those movies had so many other moving parts that they were unable to truly focus on what was going on inside Bucky’s head. In TFATWS, the audience can really see his guilt and conflict, along with the way in which he’s trying to make amends. Overall, Bucky’s scenes are the best parts of this episode.
Towards the end of the episode, there is a tease of what is to come, as Sam communicates with a military colleague named Torres (who fans may recognize from the comics) seen earlier in the episode who outlines a bank robbery in Switzerland that was committed by a group of serial thieves. This is bound to come up again this season, and the set up is interesting enough to keep the audience’s attention. Also at the end of the episode, a new Captain America is revealed, played by Wyatt Russell, which only adds to Sam’s internal conflict. Mackie delivers the best acting episode of the episode in this scene, as he conveys complex emotions of regret, grief, loss, and fear all in a single moment without saying a word.
Overall, New World Order is an unexpectedly slow-burn of an inaugural episode. The premiere largely serves as a check-in with these two Avengers before we get into the meat of the show. Given that TFATWS is only six episodes, it’s slightly surprising to see the first chapter start slowly, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It gives the creators’ time to introduce the individual arcs for the two title characters, in Sam’s decision to hand over the shield and Bucky’s guilt about the lives he’s taken. It’s just a shame that the episode isn’t a bit more gripping and a bit less choppy.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier gets off to a solid start as it reintroduces us to Sam and Bucky, while providing new looks at their backstories. Although the episode struggles to find its footing, it provides enough interesting set-ups to have us eagerly awaiting next week’s installment.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is nearly here. This week, the highly anticipated second Marvel Studios series will debut on Disney+. But, before that, we’re here to showcase what to watch in preparation for the next installment of the MCU:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This film introduces many of the characters and plot elements that will be carried into TFATWS. The new series will go in depth into the legacy of Captain America, including his successor, Sam Wilson, and/or US Agent. So, going back to watch the second of this trilogy is a good idea heading into Friday. This film also marks the first appearance of Wilson alongside Sharon Carter, and reintroduces fans to Bucky Barnes, this time under the alias The Winter Solider.
Captain America: Civil War
Civil War is the conclusion of the Captain America trilogy and deals with Bucky’s problems head on. Barnes is said to have committed a series of terrorist attacks in Europe, which leads to a continent wide manhunt, yet was actually framed by Baron Zemo, a Sokovian psychologist whose family was killed in the final battle of Age of Ultron. Zemo appears once again in TFATWS, and seems to be the main villain of the series, this time sporting his iconic purple mask from the comics. Zemo has a grudge against the Avengers and used Bucky to get revenge, so the events of Civil War are bound to come up in the new show. This is also the first time we really see the rapport between Bucky and Sam. Their back and forth in Civil War is hilarious and captivating, particularly during their altercation with Spider-Man.
Avengers: Infinity War
Infinity War is the first of two truly game changing films in the MCU. The world is forever altered at the end of Infinity War, in which Thanos snaps his fingers to kill off half of all life in the universe, including Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Infinity War provides some great Falcon and Winter Soldier moments, giving us a preview of what is hopefully to come with the Disney+ series.
Endgame is the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, and the film that says goodbye to Captain America after he’s reunited with Peggy Carter. TFATWS will deal with the fallout of Cap’s choice to go back in time, and will also directly address his decision to give the shield to Wilson, making it essential viewing before Friday.