Key moment in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier leads to other questions

(L-R): Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Sarah Wilson (Adepero Oduye) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Sarah Wilson (Adepero Oduye) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

There is no question that the bank scene in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was about the systemic racism Black families face when seeking loans that are designed to help people. Despite being an Avenger, Sam Wilson and his sister are denied a loan. It’s a powerful and poignant moment, heightened by the banker’s excitement at being in the presence of a hero. Interestingly, though, the moment addressed a question that many fans have had about heroes, and it led to an interesting conversation on social media.

Variety’s Adam B. Vary spoke with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier head-writer Malcolm Spellman about the bank scene. Spellman notes that the scene was created for one reason but spawned another question about the lives of superheroes:

"Variety: You had a banker ask Sam how he made his money — that’s a question that I’ve always wondered about and I imagine you had, too. Did you ask that of Kevin Feige?Spellman: Adam, it’s funny. Every single person I’m sitting with went crazy over that scene. It satisfied something very deep for people. What’s a trip is when we got to that moment, and that question came about naturally, the entire Marvel structure chimed in. That was a really, really fun moment, where what was supposed to be a scene that mostly dealt with the issues of, you know, a Black family from a certain background dealing with a bank loan, and the fact that him being a celebrity does not transcend him being Black, turned into way more fun of, Wait, how do superheroes make their money? I can’t tell you the volumes of documents that came out in building what is this much dialogue [holds fingers inches apart] in the episode."

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier raises other questions

After viewing the scene, fans started wondering how superheroes make their money. It’s a reasonable question since they’re not working for anyone and their mission to save the day prevents them from working a traditional 9 to 5 job.

On the DC side, many characters hold jobs. In Zack Snyder’s Justice League Barry Allen (The Flash) applies to work at a pet store and ultimately ends up with a crime lab job, while Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) works in a museum.

In the Marvel Universe, however, it’s unclear how many of the superheroes make money, and that led fans on social media to wonder if it was Tony Stark’s job to “pay” the Avengers. Stark was a billionaire who funded the vast majority of the Avengers’ technology, including their home base, but was he supposed to pay them?

The question is further complicated by Sam being gone during the Blip. The banker implies his income is problematic without acknowledging that there was nothing Sam could have done to avoid the Blip. It’s not like he wilfully chose to be unemployed. He was gone.

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What started as a poignant moment about the systemic racism facing Black families turned into a multitude of questions about the superhero experience, but it’s important not to let them overshadow the importance of that scene. It’s particularly important with all that’s going on in the COVID-19 world and how families are struggling to get by when the programs designed to help them remain out of reach, and there’s no doubt these issues will continue to be explored as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier continues.