Robert Tamayo


Feels Weird, Picking it Up

"Feels weird, picking it up"

I can't say how many times that line has interrupted a YouTube video I'm watching. It's the first line from a "Falcon and Winter Soldier" commercial, and it's meant to somehow convince people to watch the show. I didn't like the show a year ago, and I never finished watching it. But for whatever reason, YouTube keeps spamming me with that commercial. Ironically, that line is one of the main reasons why the show didn't work.

Heroes Don't Start Off as the Hero, They Become the Hero

The whole "hero's journey" pattern in storytelling follows the protagonist as he becomes the hero over the course of the story. He doesn't normally start off as a hero. Even if he does start off as a hero, he has to somehow overcome some new challenge which threatens his original heroic qualities and earn his heroic status again.

The writers for Falcon and Winter Soldier were probably following a similar pattern. But they shouldn't have. Because Falcon was in a weird and unique position.

Falcon Wasn't Trying to Prove Anything to Himself -- He was Trying to Prove Something to Us

The key to the problem with the marketing and writing for Falcon's show was that his doubts about replacing Captain America are also our doubts. Maybe the writers decided that the character would naturally be struggling with trying to prove himself worthy of replacing Captain America, but that wasn't the show's problem. The show's goal was to prove to the audience that Falcon was worthy of replacing Captain America.

We all knew and loved Captain America. We saw him do incredible things and face enemies far stronger than he was. Despite being outnumbered or outmatched, he persevered and overcame his challengers. He was the leader of the Avengers, and was even found worthy to wield Mjolnir. Then, at the end of Endgame, he retired. He left his shield to Falcon, passing Captain America's torch onto a new bearer.

What the show now had to do was demonstrate to the audience that Captain America was a title that Falcon was indeed worthy of holding. Instead, they open up the trailer with a line that confirmed our doubts -- that Falcon wasn't the right choice. Falcon's feelings in the trailer's opening line -- "feels weird, picking [Captain America's shield] up" is exactly how the audience felt about it.

The show would have been better off having Falcon do awesome Captain America stuff right away. Maybe the tension and drama would have been other characters not respecting him or accepting him as Captain America, such as Bucky. But he should have confident and sure of himself from the beginning, for the audience's sake as well as the character's. But as it was, it just seemed like he wasn't a good fit.

It felt weird, watching him picking it up.

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