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Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was one of the most politically charged MCU shows to date, and therefore also one of the most controversial. For that reason, Sam Wilson’s claims during his speech in the finale have often been put under the microscope.
One recent Reddit post is attempting to clarify the true meaning of the new Captain America’s message, particularly what he meant by challenging the “terrorist” label world leaders assigned to Karli and the Flag Smashers. “You have to stop calling them terrorists,” Sam told the members of the Global Repatriation Council (GPR), leaving viewers divided on the implications of such a statement, especially considering the Flag Smashers’ violent actions.
In their post, Reddit user Shady_Hound claims “Sam says not to call them terrorists, not because he doesn’t believe that they did horrible things, but because calling them terrorists is an easy way to label them with a “bad guy” sticker and throw em away in a bin.”
In the opinion of this Redditor, as well as many in the comments section, Sam’s message was one of perspective, not exoneration. For Sam, trying to understand the motives of the people that contest the GPR’s policies, instead of labeling them as villains who must be stopped by the use of force, might be a better long-term solution and might avoid future escalation of violence.
The post also goes on to find a real-life equivalent to the events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, by equating Republican Politicians to Marvel bad guy Thanos. Of course, this remark didn’t come without its fair share of backlash in the replies, accusing the original poster of having double standards.
It’s always tricky for movies and series as commercial and mainstream as those of Marvel to make any kind of political statement. Most often, they will remain in a safe zone that won’t land them in any particularly hot waters with any side of its increasingly politically divided audience. The typical “superhero fights bad guy” structure of these stories doesn’t help with the nuanced message Sam is trying to sell here and finding moments in his past where he contradicts himself becomes all too easy, as one user points out.
Other fans are also upset about how little relevance Sam’s speech wound up having in the grand scheme of the MCU. Does this mean that Sam’s speech was effective, and the world leaders actually tried to sympathize with displaced peoples or is this exemplary of Marvel making their jobs a little too hard when it comes to creating a cohesive universe by releasing a new project every few months?
Viewers will hopefully find answers to these questions when Captain America: New World Order arrives in theaters in 2024.