I have to admit, I’m a little bit in awe. Full disclosure — Captain America: Civil War did not end up supplanting Captain America: The Winter Soldier as my favorite Marvel Studios movie, just because I still feel the cinematography and pacing of the former was superior — but in terms of difficulty level going in, there is no way the former movie should have worked as well as it did. A 150 minute movie that manages to juggle 12 superheroes and tell a coherent story while giving each of them memorable moments? That’s a concept born of masochism. That’s the writer equivalent of attempting a Dragonforce song in the Rock Band video game on Expert setting.
Now your mileage may vary (heh) on how well the screenwriters and directors did, but from where I’m sitting? Pretty damn impressive. Beyond that, I’m not sure how far I should go in this blog, since in the States the movie only just premiered and even outside the States it hasn’t been out too long, thus it reasonably remains within my window of consideration for spoilers. But I’m going to tread a little bit dangerously as I address my fringe topic. Fringe because everyone wants to talk about Spider-Man and Black Panther and such. I’d rather talk about how this guy, born out of the comics of the 1970s…
…evolved into this guy for a 2016 major feature film (I’m using the collectible figure image since the movie still selections are still being a bit stingy):
The Falcon was never an important superhero to me, though I know that was not the case for everyone. I like to think Adilifu Nama has been over the moon for the past few years, at least since Anthony Mackie first donned the wings for Winter Soldier. Actually he may not have even needed the movies, since on the comics side of things Sam Wilson actually ended up taking on the Captain America mantle.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t go that far (yet?), but Sam made a great impression on me (and many others) in his Winter Soldier debut, both as a character and as an action hero. I was never really interested in Falcon because eh, he was just some dude who could fly and talk to birds. But by that metric, my much beloved (and maligned and dismissed by the masses) Hawkeye is just some dude who shoots trick arrows.
The MCU continues its upward battle to make Hawkeye cool to the mainstream, which I appreciate, but with Falcon I’ll argue they’ve now succeeded. In the MCU he started off as a cool guy who then basically turned out to be The Rocketeer with machine pistols. Not bad, but still fairly limited and relatively drab in appearance. Comparisons to Wesley Snipes as Blade were made. What I forgot — what, perhaps, I didn’t even expect — was that the next time Falcon appeared, there would be upgrades. Although his time in Ant-Man as the ill-fated defender of the Avengers’ storehouse was brief (sorry, Ant-Man is well past my spoiler expiration date), his costume now had a lot more color to it and his goggles did more than just keep off the bugs (pardon the pun). “It’s okay, he can’t see me,” brags Ant-Man, and the Falcon almost instantly responds, “I can see you!” Sitting next to me in the theater, Dawn states, “Well duh, Falcons have good eyes.”
Mind kinda blown at that connection. Probably shouldn’t have been, but it was. Suddenly Falcon wasn’t just the guy with wings, he was the guy you couldn’t hide from. Run through the tall grass all you want, little mouse (ant), he’s still gonna getcha.
Falcon loses the fight in the end, but doesn’t do too badly for facing a completely unknown quantity.
Still, it took Civil War to make me a true believer. Civil War has reached a fever pitch of Falconosity where he’s doing things that are so cool and yet so obvious at the same time you wonder why no one thought of them before. Okay, perhaps that’s not fair since the original concept didn’t have metal feathers, but Falcon is hands down the best flier in the MCU right now and… augh, I really can’t say more without venturing into spoiler territory, but they’ve brought back basically all the elements a Falcon fan could probably wish for and then some, just imaginitively adapted for a new era. He’s a great character, he has a unique and badass fighting style, and even if Markus, McFeely and the Russos aren’t the biggest Falcon fans in the world, you’d never know it with the amount of thought that’s gone into presenting that while still preserving the essence. Non-Falcon partisans like me walk out fans, and I can only imagine the high any existing fans would have.
And yet none of it is at the expense of any other character, or the story itself.
That’s a damn good adaptation. And just damn good writing, period.