This is multitasking at its best. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier tackles racism, US war vets treatment, refugees, extremism, the next black Captain America, The Blip, among other things. Too bad Bucky got the short shrift of it, despite his name in the show’s title. His quest for internal peace and atonement was just kind of there, easily resolved in the end and barely mattered to the bigger story.
Same goes for Sam’s family’s financial trouble, symbolized by an old family boat, which eventually got fixed thru the help of other people — not in the name of solidarity, not because they’re grateful Sam helped save the world from Thanos, but because Sam’s folks were such a really nice couple and these people haven’t forgotten their kindness. Um, okay… That also makes sense but, anyway.
Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo turns out to be the most watchable character in the series, upstaging both Sam and Bucky in their scenes together. Wyatt Russell’s John Walker, the most interesting. TFATWS has some interesting stories to tell, valid points to say (i.e., Falcon’s speech tells more truth than any of the previous Captain America movies). But the show punches way above its weight, bites more than it can chew, tells multiple narrative threads more than the show could fully develop, much less tell and resolve in compelling and entertaining manner. The show clearly wants to do a lot of things, just like the last Captain America movie.
In the end, we learn a few things about Sam, about Bucky, but not much. We probably learned more about Zemo. There’s a pervading drabness to it all. The buddy comedy isn’t really funny, there’s barely any character drama, and the action, just standard MCU fare–mediocre. We’re supposed to expect more from a 6-hour mini-series/movie. Multitasking is OK, if you want to tackle multiple characters/issues on surface level. As the famous saying goes, “Why fuck up a single thing when you can fuck up several things together?”