The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been a fascinating show to watch over the past few weeks. From the US government's insistence on needing a new Captain America to racial profiling. But beyond that, a case of payment and Sam’s financial shamble has caused fans to question if heroes deserve to be paid, also who pays them?
Before the pandemic rained on everyone’s plans, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to be the first MCU series, but it was not to be. Spider-Man: Far From Home showed a changed world but there was so much left to explore, and Captain’s closest friends were supposed to take us through that world.
Instead, we got WandaVision which was centered in a single town as Wanda lost grip on reality. There was some mention of the blip but the new world was still far from our vision. That is where The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is coming in to fill the void and show changed earth. But beyond filling the void the show is also raising some questions about free heroism.
Sam Wilson/Falcon is Nearly Broke, But He is a Superhero!
Rich people can have rich hobbies, Richard Bronson and Elon Musk can invest in their own space program, but for the middle class and poor people finding a good-paying job is hard. So, here we are in the MCU, Tony Stark, a billionaire, made himself a mechanical suit, just because while Same Wilson was fighting in wars he did not start, for pay that was not enough to sustain a family.
But meeting Captain America in the second Cap movie would’ve been a change in that, right? Well, no, by the end of that movie Captain and Sam were on the run trying to find Bucky. SHIELD was gone, so Captain was unemployed and Sam was already out of the military so no joy there either.
Then all of them came together to fight Ultron with the end of the movie showing an Avengers institute. So, maybe all the heroes were getting housing and some allowance but no salary. As Sam explained in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, “it didn’t work like that,” to a banker who loved the hero but could not trust him with money.
Then came the Civil War with most of the heroes supporting Captain getting thrown in prison. Well, Steve did manage to free them but for two years they were ducking and running from authorities hell-bent on making them an extended arm of the government. So, the living quarters and luxury Avengers institute offered were gone and again the barely employed heroes were unemployed.
Avengers: Endgame took the whole thing to another level when Sam and half of the world population were blipped out of existence. So, there he was, Sam Wilson, a soldier who fought in Afghanistan, the Falcon who fought alongside Captain America, there he was, broke, after coming back alive and into a life where his sister cannot even afford to keep the family business alive.
This brought the question to everyone’s mind, do heroes deserve to be paid? If yes, who pays them and how can the wall of conscience and being an employee serving the employer comes in? Does the hero have to do what the employer tells them to do? That is why a payment system would not work in a group like Avengers.
If they are government employees that means the government controls the Avengers. If Stark pays them, then the group dynamic is not that of friends and brothers, instead, it is an official one. Being a hero is like community service, you do it because you want to or a judge forced you to do, making money and community service barely go hand in hand.
Barack Obama was a community organizer, after graduating from law school, the future president of the US was living in an attic-type room with his girlfriend Michelle, in her parent’s home. That is what serving a community entails, a lot of hard work, a lot of pat on the back for endearing work, but at the end of the day, you are still broke.
And for those people who were shocked that Stark did not pay the group, just imagine for a second, the friend you go out drinking with, he starts paying you for certain work, are you guys still friends while you are out on a work-related call? That is the dilemma the heroes would have faced had Stark paid them all or they accepted payment from SHIELD or the US government.
Just look at Hawkeye and Black Widow before they became Avengers, they were paid for their skill, and their allegiance laid with people that paid them. So, giving money for being a superhero does not seem like a good idea. The Boys is a great example of what happens when the profit motive is the only reason you became a hero.
So, in the end, I just want to say, it was the right decision by Stark to not pay anyone. Sam’s finances are all over the place but if you asked him why he became The Falcon, money would not even come into the conversation. The pragmatist in all of us wants to see the heroes get paid but then they would not be heroes anymore, mercenaries seem a more apt description.
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