It’s no secret that we love Captain America: The Winter Soldier here at The Nerds of Color. Heck, we even dedicated a whole week’s worth of posts to it, remember?
On twitter last night, the Eisner-nominated writer Jeremy Whitley strung together an epic series of tweets explaining why Sam Wilson — as portrayed by Anthony Mackie — was the best part of the whole movie. Notice he says “Sam Wilson” and not “Falcon.” Because while most folks were dazzled by Falcon’s CGI-enhanced flying combat scenes, Whitley dives deep into the man inside the suit.
With Whitley’s permission, we’ve edited together the content of his tweets into the essay below. If you want to see the tweets in their original form, head over to this Storify or just follow him on twitter.
The most incredible thing about Winter Soldier is Sam Wilson. Captain America is the guy you want to believe exists, but Sam is the guy you know exists.
Sam Wilson is the veteran. He’s the guy that doesn’t have super powers, the guy that could die. But he suits up anyway because he’s needed. He saw his partner die right in front of him; he’s seen what the Winter Soldier is capable of, but he volunteers anyway. This is a guy who has been working at a V.A. Who knows all about the horrors of war. Who has night terrors and flashbacks. And is all in.
Cap says “This isn’t your fight. I won’t ask you to do this.” Sam says “You don’t have to ask. Captain America needs me. I’m in!” Because when Captain America needs you, you don’t make him ask, right? You just go save the world.
The wings are a perfect metaphor. He’s an average guy who will throw himself out of an airplane with no protection because someone needs to. That’s what sets him apart from Rhodey in the Cinematic Universe too, despite them both being military guys. Rhodey gets dragged along.
But dudes like Sam walk out into danger in places like Iraq and Afghanistan every day. Some are Americans; some are Afghans; some are Iraqis. I personally know dudes like Sam Wilson who have disarmed bombs and fought for friends with only a few inches of metal protecting them.
He is, in a way, the anti-Tony Stark. Tony suits up out of ego. He made himself a superhero because he thinks he knows what’s best. Sam Wilson, on the other hand, volunteers to fly headlong into a fight without anybody asking him.