Tagged: mcu

Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale: Did they stick the landing?

Credit: Disney Plus

You know how sometimes you eat until you’re full, yet you’re still craving that something missing? That’s how I felt about the finale of Falcon and The Winter Soldier. This series was an origin story to ease us into seeing The Falcon, a black man, as the new Captain America. Falcon tried to walk away from the mantle after it was thrust upon him by Steve Rogers. In the process of the buddy cop redemption of Bucky, Sam Wilson came to learn the background behind the super soldier serum and wrestled with what was needed from him in the post-Blip era. In the end, he stepped up to the shield and accepted the conflict-filled idea of a black man carrying it.

The writers tried to do a lot– address racial justice, resettlement, wealth inequality, mental health, atonement, and the use and maltreatment of the military in six episodes. The finale ended up feeling rushed and anemic. Overall, I would give it an 7.5/10. But, seeing Isaiah Bradley properly honored for the injustices done to him makes up for any deficiencies in the rest of the story. It was almost cathartic to see him no longer be denied and in the shadows. Can we please get a a one-shot of the fight between Isaiah Bradley and Bucky? Please.

Seeing how many racists went running on the internet during every episode of this show, this miniseries was as much to make the fans comfortable with Sam as Captain America as anything else Marvel hoped to accomplish. Perhaps in Phase 4 of the MCU, we will not have to deal with people complaining about how they just can’t see anyone other than Steve Rogers as Captain America.

The series also set up the Young Avengers and, perhaps, the Thunderbolts. We’ll see if they show up in Phase 4. It clearly set up John Walker as US Agent, so we can expect to see him again. But, what about the other Flag Smashers? Are we sure Karli Morgenthau is dead? And, what of the Flag Smasher in the river at the end? Seems like that could be the start of the next Captain America movie.

Sam read the GRU’s leadership for filth for not questioning why the Flag Smashers had gained so much sympathy around the world. Given climate change, food and water insecurity, and growing wealth inequality, we all need to be giving thought to what the world looks like when borders and existing power structures are challenged. Can we be “One World, One People”, or are those only the musings of a misguided teenager?

As I said before, Marvel did well with this series. The whole Flag Smashers plot both took up too much bandwidth yet was inadequately serviced, but this was more about Sam’s journey. Though there was a lot of build up to Sharon as Power Broker, she felt pointless in the end. I just don’t buy her as a morally gray character. Aunt Peggy would be so disappointed. But, yo, she can fight and I am excited to see more of her and of Madripoor. Speaking of Madripoor, why does Marvel seem to have a singular view of Asian cultures??? Do they all have to be cyberpunk speedruns? The scenes in Black Panther wasn’t the best and neither were those in Madripoor. The only series that hasn’t had a ton of complaints was Daredevil and I am not even sure that I just didn’t see them. I am holding out a bit of hope that they do better with Shang-chi and The Ten Rings. I hope Marvel is listening to the fans.

*fingers crossed*

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Do Viewers Realize that Karli Morgenthau is Black?

Credit:@whereisthebuzztv

Everyone is enjoying The Falcon & Winter Soldier, right? The show has stimulated some good awareness of the atrocities committed against Black people (note, everything is not about the Tuskegee experiment.) Once one tragedy enters the public awareness, we have a tendency to run it into the ground. We still need to have a larger, deeper conversation about the treatment and atrocities committed against Black soldiers, which is really the lesson of the story of Isaiah Bradley. Black soldiers, still in the midst of the inhumane treatment during the Jim Crow era, were used, abused, and treated like cannon fodder in pursuit of the country’s anti-imperialist conflicts, while treating Black soldiers little better than beasts of burden. Many were left broken with little recompense and recognition for their monumental sacrifices. Carl Lumbly has done a superb job portraying the pain and resignation of a man who had his hope crushed and, then, turned in on itself. Resulting in him just trying to eek out the small, peaceful life of someone who just desires to be left alone. Everything was taken from him.

While we have been exploring and analyzing the racial context and messages in The Falcon and Winter Soldier, I haven’t seen anyone address Karli Morgenthau’s blackness/biracialness. On the innanets, people seem to really dislike the character and struggle to follow the Flag Smashers’ logic. Marvel Studios, to its credit, has built a fascinatingly diverse cast with chemistry that doesn’t feel forced in any way. Karli’s race has not been asserted in the show and I have to wonder how many viewers even realize that she is of Black/African descent. I knew she was Black right away, as I will assume most Black viewers did. We come in infinite combinations and most of us learn from a young age to identify each other in the most subtle ways. Interestingly, in the television show, Karli was intentionally gender-swapped and de-aged from the comics by the showrunners to provide more representation for young women.

The Flag Smashers represent an issue that doesn’t receive attention in the United States very often. Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are escaping crime, armed conflict, coups, food insecurity, and other threats to their survivals in their own countries, different than refugees. The most similar experience we have had in the United States is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the case of the Blip, all governmental and civil society infrastructure was disrupted for 5 years. When things came back, people understandably started to rebuild things as they had been, old power and wealth structures. Some of those who had been left behind didn’t want to go back to the old ways, instead they thought things were better during the Blip. In the show, the Patch Act is in the process of being voted on, which would return all of the stateless to their previous countries, which many did not want nor did the camps have the capacity to handle. The Flag Smashers were attempting to stop it, by violent means if necessary, and would perhaps be appropriately described as anarcho-terrorists.

Given that Karli’s racial identity hasn’t been addressed in the show, but assuming that she is mixed race from the UK as the actor is, it stands to wonder whether there is another story to be told. Is there an expected allegiance between Sam and Karli because of their potentially similar experiences with discrimination? Does she hold back on harming him and his family because of familiarity? What does it mean to her to see a Black Captain America, especially given her experiences with imperialism and authoritarianism. Sam empathizes with her motivations, but not her tactics. He connected with her, but the conversation was cut short, unfortunately. He explores his shared experiences regarding Isaiah, but what about with Karli? Is he willing to end her life to stop her?

They chose Erin Kellyman to play this role for a reason. In Episode 4, her compatriot said that he didn’t think there could be another Captain America until he met her. As the old saying goes, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It didn’t resonate on the first watch, but looking at it through the dual lenses of race and gender, she was another Black Captain America. As Sam wrestled with John Walker, Bucky, and Isaiah Bradley, it just feels like the writers left something on the table. But, in six episodes, that would have been asking a lot.

Overall, the writers have knocked it out of the park so far. You know you dun gud when racist fans are mad and calling you SJWs all over the internet, as if social justice hasn’t been at the core of Marvel since the beginning. Fun fact, over half of the series’ writing staff are Black.

So, what say say you? Does her background matter? Do you want to know more about Karli and the rest of the Flag Smashers? Do you empathize with their goals?

One more episode left. The finale is April 23, 2021 at 3:01AM EST. Are you staying up to watch?

P.S.

In a March 18, 2021 Deadline interview between Anthony D’Alessandro and Malcolm Spellman, Malcolm said this:

Can you tell us about the specific details of the pitch you fumbled?
I’ll tell you at the end of the season. I really want somebody to get Kevin to talk about the original run because it was so on point. It was so on point it was like ‘Oh, no, we can’t do that.’

WTheck does this mean??? Are we going to get the Spellman cut at some point???

The Dora Milaje vs. John Walker aka Don’t Touch My Hair

Aka When They Try to Touch Your Hair. Get ’em, Ayo!

This scene spoke to my soul. How many times has someone invaded your personal space without permission? These “pointy sticks” are made of vibranium, Great Value Captain America. And, Bucky thinking his interceding would somehow stop the fight? Nope, you can catch these hands too, Buck. LOL

Thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me in a long time, but I still have shower moments when the memory of when I didn’t check someone for stroking my hair. It was in a professional context, so I was caught a little off balance. The act sent an actual shiver down my spine. I let the whole culture down by not saying something. I’m sorry y’all.

May we all bring this Solange energy into 2021.

The New Mutants: Whew lawd

You ever watch a movie that was so bad that it made you mad??? I remember hearing about this movie when it was in development. Peeps were a little excited because, let’s be honest, we all yearn for a good X-men movie. This was initially marketed that way. I’m convinced that rumor got started before anyone saw the actual storyboards for this. In fact, I choose to believe that the studio greenlit this movie without talking to any of the comic creators. Yes, it was that bad, and I’m trying to be fair.

How do you take a cast studded with extremely talented young actors and just waste them? How do you make a movie seem like it was given a huge budget and not enough money all at the same time? Who was the audience for this movie? I just can’t.

Plot synopsis: Five powered young people whose powers have caused death and mayhem find themselves in an institution to learn to control their powers. It is somewhat suggested that they are being trained to be X-men, though this is less clear in the movie. In reality, they are being assessed by the Essex Corporation to determine whether their powers are useful or dangerous. The main character’s powers (Dani) were left unexplained for most of the movie, but she is eventually deemed too dangerous to live. They live in a creepy, abandoned hospital that they slowly realize they can’t leave of their own volition. They go through emotional breakdowns, they kiss, they fight, and, then, they team up to try to overthrow the evil doctor to escape. Smiling men, puppets, and demon bears, oh my! The End.

New Mutants is supposed to be a horror trilogy, but it is more teenage angst-y. It’s like someone got lit and said, “What if we make Twilight meets Legion?” Alas, Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Magik is passable, but it was like she was in an entirely different movie. Thankfully, the sequels were cancelled, so there won’t be any followups.

It’s a pandemic and I didn’t have anything better to do, so I finished it. But, yo, they put this out in theaters in 2020; could you imagine catching the ‘Rona for this?

And, since this is BlackTrekkie, let’s talk about representation. First, there are no black actors in this movie. The main character is Native American, a group that often suffers from the same lack of depth and reliance on stereotypes in their portrayals in the media. In this movie, her cultural background is simply used as a plot device and is barely shown. This is an inexcusable shame, given the opportunity to offer viewers a glimpse into a culture we rarely see. Second, Sunspot is supposed to be Afro-Brazilian and dark-skinned and Dr. Reyes is a Black woman in the comics. One of the creators, Bob McLeod, has gone on record criticizing their inaccurate portrayals. The movie was shelved for three years, but it had been in development since 2009. Someone at some point should have spoken up and said that this would be unwise with fans. Even in 2009, we knew better right?

1 out of 4 stars. I kinda want you to watch it so that we can compare notes. Actually, nah, don’t.

(but, I know you’re going to watch it anyway because it has Mutants in the name. I see you.)