Thursday, August 5, 2021

‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ & the Decimation of Sharon Carter

The finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is behind us (and we’re begging and pleading for a season 2 already), but there was one glaring issue for at least comic fans in this series — Sharon Carter.

Sharon Carter has always been given the short end of the stick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They robbed her of the love of her life, Steve Rogers, in favor of her Aunt Peggy, and now they’ve taken her status as one of the greatest S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to grace the pages of the comics and made her into the villainous Power Broker. A villain that already has comic identities.

It’s long been known that the MCU doesn’t follow the pages of the comics as closely as some fans crave — they just can’t — but this serious deviation of character is far less than Sharon Carter deserves. And not only did they make her a villain, but they doubled down on it.

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This heel turn makes no sense, to put it bluntly, and takes away from another strong female could-have-been from the roster. The destruction of Sharon Carter began when the MCU chose to center Steve’s love-life around Peggy Carter, even in the years after the war, years that belonged to Sharon. Then, they gave her a glaring disadvantage in Captain America: Civil War by throwing her into an ill-timed and not properly introduced kiss with Steve after she frees him, Sam, and Bucky from the the government’s clutches.

Did that kiss make sense to comic readers? Yes. Steve and Sharon are practically a permanent fixture in many of the modern Captain America comics. But the MCU is bigger than the pages of comics, and viewers didn’t take kindly to it. Was that the fault of its awkwardness and zero lead-in? Yes. And Sharon deserved better.

So then Sharon ends up a war criminal and she made her way to Madripoor, where we meet up with her again in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. At first she’s seemingly still an ally, albeit a bitter one, but an ally nonetheless. But as the series wore on it was clear that there was something else lurking beneath the surface.

In the finale she is outed as the Power Broker, the person behind the recreation of the Super Soldier serum with intent to sell it to the highest bidder, and kills Karli Morganthau to protect that secret. This felt wrong. Making Sharon a peddler for knockoff Super Soldier serum knowing her history with Steve Rogers — in the MCU and the comics — was yet another slap in the face to the character and her origins. Her introduction in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that of someone who would die to protect Steve Rogers and now she wants to sell the serum that made him to whoever has the biggest wallet?

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Then, Sam ends up keeping his promise to get her the pardon he thought she deserved for her actions back in Civil War. It was in this moment they could have turned Sharon back around, made her an ally to the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, and Bucky Barnes, given her a piece of her identity back. But they doubled down, giving her the agency job she should hold, but making her hold it for the wrong reasons.

Sharon was obviously wronged by the government and her country, and she feels bitter about it. She never got her pardon, and she feels abandoned. In fact, there are equal issues with Steve Rogers not trying to get her pardoned after the events of Avengers: Infinity War (as it would appear she was not Snapped away), which only adds fuel to the fire that Sharon has never been utilized properly from the start. We don’t blame her for being angry, but this all still just feels wrong. This just isn’t Sharon Carter.

It’ll be interesting to see where they take this, but it doesn’t look like its going to end up being good for Sharon. This certainly opens up the chance for a season 2 for the series, or even a team up with Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who now has U.S. Agent John Walker in her clutches. But fans of Agent 13 holding out hope for a redemption might be left disappointed.

So, one of the greatest S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and longtime ally to Steve Rogers and the Avengers has been reduced to a villain utilizing her position to make some cash. It was an interesting choice, but the wrong one to make. Honestly, we’re still waiting for Doctor Faustus to show up and make this make sense …

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Kaity
Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. Her main fandoms are Marvel, The Umbrella Academy, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, with special emphasis on one vibranium shield-wielding Super Soldier. Contact: kaity@nerdsandbeyond.com

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