The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: a federalist review

Updated: May 10

Marvel Studios, you can do better

Spoiler Alert: Details of the first season of the show will be used in this analysis.

Disclaimer: Here I will analyze only some aspects of the series and I will discard others like Black Lives Matter, the psychological issues of Bucky/Winter Soldier, who should take Captain America’s shield. Here, I am trying to check if there is any side of the series interesting for the Young World Federalists.

I had low expectations but still

Let’s be clear, WandaVision as a marvel product was better than this one. However, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is considered one of the most political TV series/movies of Marvel Studios.

Given the topics envisioned in the series, federalists in our Discord channel freaked out for the show. The introduction of the Flag-Smashers surprised a lot of us: "These people, they want a world that's unified without borders. So you could see why a lot of people are into that".

In the beginning, I was worried, as I wrote to Charles Marsh - Co-Chair of our Organizing Committee, that the series could end up essentially arguing that “international cooperation is good but let’s not exaggerate guys”. In the end, from a certain perspective, it was even worse. The series is totally related to US issues and only barely dealt with global problems. Basically, what we got from the series is: if we, the American people, can do better and fix our problems, we can lead and save the world again! This is nothing new for Marvel (comics or Studios) but what is quite disappointing for me is the use of some specific global issues while at the same time, continuously repeating the same usual story.

The Storyline

After 5 years, thanks to the Avengers, the people who disappeared after Thanos’ snap reappeared in different parts of the world – the so-called “Blip”. The international organization called the “Global Repatriation Council - GRC” had been set up to deal with the global instability and refugee crisis that came after the "Blip". It can be imagined that the people working across the world, they'd overseen a period where borders were evaporating, people (maybe) were moving freely, and everyone was able to work and live wherever they wanted. This idea, of a world defined by global solidarity and cooperation, was sadly neglected in this story, and only touched on briefly. Now, however, some were seeking to return to the status quo, and the GRC was trying to force people to resettle in their own countries and reset the world as it was before the snap. We understand that the GRC is not acting in a very humanitarian way with the refugees. For this reason, the Flag-Smashers were born.

The Flag-Smashers want to come back to the time before the “Blip”, believing that the world was better before the “Blip” because it was acting as one in face of the emergency caused by Thanos’ actions.

First problem: we understand this very vaguely and the Flag-Smashers themselves do not explain how. Second problem: throughout the entire series, we do not know exactly what the Flag-Smashers want. We understand they are against the GRC, the governments of the world, they have a motto like “One World, One people” (that does not really mean anything), they are against inequalities, they are against the ill-treatment of the refugees. Sincerely, for me, this sounds more like Occupy Wall Street with steroids (the serum) than a bunch of “compagni che sbagliano”. [1]

At least, the real Flag-Smasher in the comics was pretty clear in his anti-nationalist sentiments “we pledge allegiance to no flags”, he said. Although, even here the anti-nationalist feeling of the Flag-Smashers is pretty vague.

Source: Marvel Team-Up Vol 2 #3, November 1997

It would have been better to a) state the current situation of the world clearly and not with some random information, b) understand exactly is the ideology of the Flag-Smashers. I’m not asking for a manifesto but at least something more than a motto and some vague idea of justice! c) have at least a decent political monologue from one of the Flag-smashers. Even the following one would have been already something more than what I saw in the tv series: