A thoroughly ridiculous but enjoyable new episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier last night. The plot didn't make sense, it was often predictable, and ran neatly along the lines of familiar action film tropes. But Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie continue to build good chemistry.
Daniel Bruhl brings a lot of charisma as Baron Zemo and Sam and Bucky are basically Danny Glover and Mel Gibson from the Lethal Weapon films. Sam is the straight arrow who's forced to go along with Bucky's crazy, dangerous ideas while Bucky is the loose cannon with the guilty conscience. Mostly I found myself thinking of Dark of the Sun, though, another black man and white man buddy action film from 1968.
Again, the black man, Jim Brown, represents the voice of reason to the wild white man, Rod Taylor. That film also forced them to team up with a Nazi. Every time the Nazi did something questionable there was the line, "We need him!" which is what I constantly heard last night about Zemo.
I guess Zemo's not a Nazi, but Daniel Bruhl's best known for playing one in Inglourious Basterds, a movie I happened to have rewatched recently (and one in which Tarantino uses a portion of the Dark of the Sun soundtrack).
Not only do they need to break Zemo out of prison, they need to use Zemo's private jet to get around, Sam and Bucky apparently feeling perfectly at ease in Zemo's domain. It all feels very natural. The trio end up in disguise on the fictional island of Madripoor, for some reason walking in the middle of the road on a suspension bridge, and again Sam is amusingly outside his comfort zone. Now he's posing as some flashy gangster called "Smiling Tiger". I liked how Zemo pointed out it was only Sam's American perspective that would cause him to think he was dressing as a pimp.
We're still not getting a lot of depth on Sam, but that's okay, there's nothing wrong with someone being the comic relief. Certainly him being forced to drink Smiling Tiger's preferred beverage was worth it.
Madripoor is an island mostly associated with X-Men in the comics. I hope this doesn't somehow end up being another boner joke.
It was kind of nice seeing Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) again and her action sequence, beating up bounty hunters while the boys do their business, was excellent. The interrogation of the former HYDRA scientist, meanwhile, was perfectly predictable. I knew from the beginning how it would end--Zemo would suddenly kill him and then Sam and Bucky would be upset about it. And what did they learn? That someone secretly reproduced the super soldier serum, which is pretty much what we knew already.
I wonder why Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) didn't get really bulky when she took the serum, the way Steve Rogers did. Then again, I didn't see her before she took the serum, maybe she's really six years old or something.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available on Disney+.