An illustration of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.
Although Marvel has been criticized for its lack of creativity in the past, two of their latest series on Disney+ prove these haters wrong. (Illustration by Alicia Paauwe, Oakland University)

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ and ‘WandaVision’ Mark a New Era for Marvel

As the two renowned Disney+ series wrap their first seasons, it’s time to take an in-depth look at these shows and what’s to come next.

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An illustration of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.

As the two renowned Disney+ series wrap their first seasons, it’s time to take an in-depth look at these shows and what’s to come next.

Wanda Maximoff created a false reality and discovered the depth of the power she possesses. Sam Wilson soared through imposing obstacles and attained the shield. Bucky Barnes found peace as he crossed off the final name in his booklet. What does it all mean? What could possibly be next?

Marvel made a gigantic splash with the mind-warping adventure that was “WandaVision” as it became a phenomenon around the world. The series was a creative risk, but Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany gave masterful performances, and the show broke new barriers for Marvel with limitless positive reviews.

As with anything that gets extremely popular, Marvel movies have faced criticism over the years. Some people believe the movies simply follow a formula and lack ambition. Many have also criticized Marvel for lacking creativity, saying the movies ride the coattails of the comic book storylines. This criticism is baseless when talking about “WandaVision.” While it was lightly inspired by a few comic book runs for the Scarlet Witch and Vision, it was an entirely original journey about a brokenhearted super witch that couldn’t handle the loss of her robot husband. If this isn’t creative, then what is?

The show takes a trip through classic styles of TV, dating as far back as black and white 1950s sitcoms as it explores the characters of the Scarlet Witch and Vision. It is slowly revealed to be an entire life designed by Maximoff and a horror series in disguise. The unraveling of the story is near perfect, as if each episode was a stanza for a poem. On top of the show’s burst in colorful creativity, it also broke ground for Marvel in many different ways.

Never before has Marvel had the opportunity to dive so deeply into characters, but “WandaVision” is proof that it can. The show depicts Maximoff’s trauma and Vision’s terror in an impactful way. In the midst of a superpowered bonanza, the show takes a grounded look into some of humanity’s most real flaws. Marvel has never confronted such dark elements, and the way it showed the characters spiraling into madness showcased its versatility. All of this is also leading directly into the greatly anticipated “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Marvel did not stop ascending to greater heights there. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has concluded, and it has had the same impact as “WandaVision.” It is an absolute smash hit and one of the most popular series in the world as it continued the story of Captain America’s mantle.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is almost the polar opposite of “WandaVision.” It is a harsh look into the humanity of these heroes and social issues around the world. There are no magical beams shooting from people’s hands, but there are two fan-favorite characters who start to believe in themselves, and a special commentary on America’s scars.

In many ways, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is a reflection of a classic Captain America trope: never giving up. In the face of adversity and heavy criticism from the government and villains alike, Wilson did not give up. In the face of post-traumatic stress tormenting his mind and the memories of the Winter Soldier looming over his head, Barnes did not give up. In the face of the government wrongfully imprisoning him for being a hero, Isaiah Bradley did not give up. And if viewers really want to go there, in the face of the United States stripping him of his life’s duty to the country, John Walker did not give up as he now takes the mantle of the U.S. Agent.

While there are many differences between the two series, what they have in common is powerful. These series both provide a look into their characters and, more specifically, their trauma. As the awareness of mental health continues to influence society, to see people’s favorite heroes battle the same struggles as regular humans is beyond inspiring. Fans got to study each one. They both discovered new territory for Marvel, and of course were both absolute hits among the fans. Now, the reins are off.

Marvel has broken from its cage, and the esteemed franchise’s confidence has become as vigorous as the sun. Marvel fears nothing at this point, and fans across the globe should be excited. The next slate of movies and shows will expand the universe exponentially; the adventures that these creators and storytellers will soon embark on will go beyond the limits of this galaxy and reality. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision” have laid the groundwork, and future stories will begin to tell what is next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With the upcoming release of the Disney+ series “Loki,” expect Marvel to dive even deeper into the mystical pool of creativity. Its versatility has been proven, and now Phase Four is beginning to be unleashed. It has been a leap into things people never thought superhero movies could achieve, and viewers should expect no less from the God of Mischief as he tries to earn his way back to reality. As always, a much larger story looms in the background of all these movies and TV series. Who will be the next villain to bring the Avengers back together? Who will be the next Thanos-level threat? Which hero will step up to the plate next? There are so many questions and only one sure way to find out: Stay alive and stay out of jail!

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Daniel Buccafusca

East Stroudsburg University
Psychology & English (Creative Writing)

A versatile creative and professional racecar driver looking to be the best person I can be.

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