It’s About Time We Acknowledged That Sam Wilson Can’t Fight

Okay, folks, it’s time we talked about Sam Wilson. Yes, the Falcon and soon to be Captain America. After about five major MCU movie appearances, there has been something that’s been bothering me, itching the back of my mind for years now. Powering through the incredibly uneven The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I finally realized what it was – Sam Wilson can’t fight

It’s been killing me for years, but Sam Wilson has got no hands and he’s taken nothing but L’s his whole time in the MCU. Once I dug deeper down this rabbit hole, gotdamn is it embarrassing.

I first noticed Sam Wilson’s lack of fighting ability back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it seems that any time the winged Avenger gets into any type of close combat/hand-to-hand situation, he gets his ass handed to him. Yes, admittedly, when it comes to taking down nameless henchmen, Sam does pretty alright but whenever the real fight comes around the man just can’t win.

Round One: Sam Wilson vs. Crossbones

Sam Wilson fighting

Okay, really look back at The Winter Soldier, a movie where Sam has a pretty cool introduction as the Falcon. During the final battle, after Sam is pretty much grounded by Bucky (more on that later), he heads to intercept Agent Rumlow, better known to MCU fans as Crossbones. It’s a short fight, but it’s telling. Even after sucker-punching and getting the drop on Rumlow, Sam Wilson is basically on the losing end of this fight. He’s getting tossed around by a regular dude wearing suspenders. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the Helicarrier crashing into the building and bailing him out, Crossbones would probably still be playing wack-a-mole with his face.

Round Two: Sam Wilson vs. Ant-Man

Sam Wilson vs Ant-Man

You know, at first, I gave Sam the benefit of the doubt. He’s not really a close-ranged fighter, he’s an airman. The fly-in, fly-out type but then I thought about it. That can’t be right. Sam’s wings were practically built for getting in close to the enemy and close combat situations. So, my next thought was that his fight with Crossbones was unfair, because he didn’t have his wings. Then I saw Ant-Man… I saw Falcon in full gear, as a full-fledged and trained Avenger get disrespected in these streets. I don’t think y’all understand how bad this fight makes him look. Scott Lang was an electrical engineer and thief who had only a week’s worth of training in martial arts. How Sway? Scott beat Sam so bad he made him look like it was his first day on the job. So bad that Sam literally tries to pretend it never happened.

Round Three: Sam vs Winter Soldier

Sam Wilson

Bucky has been kicking Sam’s ass ever since the two first met. It almost borders on bullying. Sam’s off-brand Wing-fu means nothing to Bucky. When it came down to the final battle in The Winter Soldier, Bucky made light work of those wings, pulling Sam out of the air like a kite and ripping off those wings like he was playing with a butterfly. For good measure, he kicked him off the helicarrier like they were in a live-action game of Smash Bros.

In Captain America: Civil War, it just gets worse. Sam had no chance against a fully activated Bucky in his jail cell. Just … just look at this. 

Embarrassing.

How do you get snatched by the jaw, one-handed, and tossed across the room reverse palmed? Sam walked into that room unprepared, ill-equipped to defend himself. You know because he can’t fight. I know Bucky is a Super Soldier but come on man, protect yourself at all times. Bucky had Sam pinned against the wall like a child.

Round 4: Sam vs. Spider-Man

Sam Wilson

Okay, this fight looks bad on both Sam and Bucky’s part. You would think a highly trained 80-year assassin and a man with years in specialized combat situations would do a little better against a 16-year-old kid with spider powers but look at this. 

Sam Wilson

Bucky gets his fade palmed, and it seems Sam’s specialty is getting kicked in the chest. What’s worse is that Pete makes it look easy. He’s so unbothered by the two of them that he has time to admire Bucky’s arm and Sam’s wings. How sad do you have to be that a newborn superhero is more preoccupied with talking shop than worrying about if you are going to hurt him?

Round 5: Sam vs. The Flag Smashers

Sam Wilson

Here’s the one that finally brought me to my wit’s end. One of the first major battles in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is Sam and Bucky against the super soldiers, the Flag Smashers. Sam taunts Bucky with “That little girl is kicking your ass.” Sir … you’re not doing any better. Hell, you are getting your ass beat just as badly as Bucky. In the two years that you and Steve Rogers were on the run, did the man not teach you one bit of self-defense? Steve knows at least 11 different martial arts, but you couldn’t be bothered to ask him to teach you something? Something?!?!?

Listen, Sam, you can’t be the next Captain America by getting washed all up and down the MCU. Otherwise, John Walker won’t be the only one disgracing the shield. I had hoped that his fighting ability would get better over the course of the series, but the man is just out there making himself look bad. If Bucky hadn’t bailed him out of the fight with John Walker, he’d be looking at the sharp end of the shield himself. Who knows, maybe by the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Sam might learn how to throw a punch. Instead, he’s just out here just looking sad in the superhero game.

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  • Chris Aiken

    Staff Writer

    Chris Aiken. Writer. Nerd. Gamer. I often write about games & comic books (or at least try to). What can I say, I love this.

  • Show Comments

  • TriforceSAmurai

    I mean…damn…you’re right.

    But you can’t really hold Spiderman against him. Its Spiderman. The most underrated OP character in marvel. Punched Magneto’s magnetic shield so hard, Mags started stressing inside it thinking it was going to break.

    The rest of the examples I have to give to you.

  • Adam R. Brown

    LOL You actually make a good point. Sam has not been that strong in hand-to-hand combat. I admire his expertise with flying, but he often needs to scrap and can barely handle himself against other non-enhanced opponents, nevermind super soldiers and the like.

  • Josh

    All fights except the one with the pre powered Crossbones, are against super powered people. Sam is a regular dude with back problems (he says this when he first meets Captain America, “on your left”). The fact that he still holds his own is enough for me. Put some respect on his name!!!

    • IzzyFBaby

      ….all facts lol

    • James Bilyea

      Yeah, but there’s gotta be some fights that he’s actually won, right? I distinctly remember a badass scene from Endgane where Sam actually stabs his wings into the chest of a giant monster henchman of Thanos’s. That was cool.

    • TeeEl

      Yeah this. Going up against supersoldiers and still having your head attached to your body is a win; landing a blow that they actually feel is impressive.

      I know it’s not a fist fight, but his aerial combat scenes at the series open are also A+.

  • Ife Kiara

    It’s how his character is written. The one black Avenger (before Black Panther) is the only one that has no powers and can’t fight. Why is that?

    • CJ Holmes

      Okay, true now—only a few black Avengers. But please don’t shade James Rhodes. He’s my guy.

  • Austin Osueke

    BS. Did you see Episode 1? He took out GSP, the same guy Captain America fought in The Winter Solider. He did it BY HIMSELF

  • Tony Cade

    Sam Wilson is a regular man with just U.S. military combat training. But you can see how he has adapted to fighting with his wings and jetpack in “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier”.

  • Park

    Crossbones: Mercenary, Specialized.
    Ant-Man: Superior Tech, Combat was barely a factor.
    Winter Soldier: Specialized, Super Soldier
    Spider-Man: It’s Spider-Man
    Flag Smashers: They are Super Soldiers.

    Crossbones is the only one I can give you.

  • Jean

    Save for Crossbones, every single combatant you’ve mentioned is enhanced. It’s a feat of amazement that Sam is alive to continue to do battle with super-soldiers, size changing dynamos and a teen who can casually catch hurtling cars. The man has heart to keep going up against those odds.

  • Gerard

    OK ok ok.. I wasn’t gonna say bc I like Sam and Anthony Mackie but yeah when he was fighting the Flag Smashers I was like “dam bro, are u gonna win this one.” 😂 Feels better coming from u. 👏👌

  • Malik

    Uhhhh……what about stepping to the pre-powered John Walker? He was getting some licks in; right?

  • Tip

    Come on now everybody but crossbones (rumlo) has superpowers. Also crossbones was still active in the service during the winter soldier . Sam Wilson was just counseling veterans running not trying not to get fat.

  • James Lamb

    This entire article unfairly mischaracterizes Sam’s role in all these confrontations. It’s not that he can’t fight. The problem is that Sam’s a sidekick.

    Lest we forget, Sam’s MCU introduction involves getting lapped by Steve Rogers on the National Mall while jogging. His character exists to emphasize Rogers’ physical superiority, to be a strong, upstanding Black man who can stand three and one-half steps behind a White superhuman.

    Marvel justifies his presence on-screen by his ability to make White superheroes look good. Later Bucky, Ant-Man, and Spidey all benefit from introductory scenes with Sam where his martial ineptitude contrasts against their combat effectiveness.

    So there’s very little to gain from the argument that Sam can’t fight. The real question here should ask why Marvel Studios enjoys such a long history of promoting its White male superheroes at the comic expense of a Black male superhero. The answer is obvious: superhero media is racist by definition.

    https://snoopyjenkins.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/figures-of-empire-on-the-impossibility-of-superhero-diversity/

  • Kraj josh

    Sam cant fight but it cant be the reason to stop him become captain america. He became captain america because he is a good man. Thats all he have the good quality of a good super hero.

  • Sam Wilson

    just take it down lmao. take it all down, this is hilarious. bro your ass wouldnt last a second in the mcu, falcon could whoop you in less then 30 seconds if he wanted too. would think someone would share the mans sympathies but damn you’re out here making him look like mantis. shame, damn shame. watch episode 6, then take this down.

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