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Physicist Breaks Down The One Thing Falcon Does That Doesn't Make Sense

Trying to criticize a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) property for unbelievable physics is a bit like dogging "Game of Thrones" for misrepresenting the size of the dragons. And yet, there are times when the on screen oopsies are hard to ignore. In that vein, there were no doubt fans feeling nitpicky while watching the Season 1 finale episode of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."

One of the climactic episode's most intense scenes saw Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) joining a battle against the Flag Smashers on the New York Harbor. During the fight, he's knocked into the water and appears to be trapped by some falling debris. It takes more than that to keep him down, though. With the help of his EXO-7 suit, Wilson bursts out of the water to rejoin the brawl.

The sight of Wilson being propelled out of the harbor is certainly awe-inspiring, but it might have made you question whether or not that's even possible with the type of jetpack his suit appears to be powered by. Wonder no more. Looper reached out to Dr. Jed Macosko, Ph.D., a Professor of Physics at Wake Forest University, to break down whether or not Wilson's feat is feasible.

But before we dive into the explanation, Dr. Macosko set us up with a distillation of the query at hand: "The crux of the question, 'Can Falcon fly underwater and then rocket upwards out of the water?' is to examine by what means a so-called 'magnetic drive' might provide the EXO-7 with thrust."

With that out of the way, let's dive in and find out.

How the Falcon's jetpack maneuver could work

To start, Dr. Macosko acknowledged the issue he suspects fans who were incredulous about Wilson's big moment were hung up on: "The reason people probably didn't believe this was possible is because they thought of Falcon's jetpack as something akin to a jet engine ... if that were the case, going underwater would definitely have killed the jetpack ..."

However, as Dr. Macosko sees it, there must be a different component to the magnetic drive that gives the suit the propulsion it needs while submerged. For him, the answer seems obvious. He told us, "Clearly, the answer to that is the same as the answer to many super-hero-physics conundrums: Pym particles. These versatile particles, first discovered by the inventor of the Ant-Mant suit Hank Pym, have the wonderful property of being able to channel energy from other dimensions into ours."

That would provide more than enough power to propel him out of the water, as "the forces of drag underwater are large, but nothing that a superhero like Falcon couldn't handle." For those still skeptical about Wilson's ability to breach the surface with that much power, Dr. Macosko explained, "All one needs to know in order to believe that this upward rocketing out of the harbor is possible is the fact that dolphins, whales, sailfish, etc. all can rocket out of the water at high speeds."

Now that we've got that squared away everyone can go back to wondering about those other unanswered questions from "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."