With the recent news of Sony’s reclaiming Spider-Man I feel like anything I write on the subject of the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now will feel increasingly post-mortem, but there’s nothing wrong with the odd retrospective.
I don’t know why I found myself dwelling on the character of Sam Wilson, but his introduction in The Winter Soldier I found to be one of the most important moments in the MCU. The ninth film, six years after the advent of the series, and up until that moment we were missing several profound elements that Falcon brings to the table especially in his introductory scene. (more…)
After a spate of cancellations, Jessica Jones included, I wasn’t expecting to see another Defenders series, and this final season of Jessica Jones arrived with surprisingly little fanfare. The meta-series hit rocky reception from the back-half of Luke Cage, grew worse through Iron Fist and generally the ensemble piece was… just bad to be honest, I’d started to see a solid beacon of hope afterwards however. The Punisher was a breath of bloody air, Luke Cage’s second season ended on a compelling note, and Daredevil reached a great conclusion, a happy ending with which anyone with even the most bitter tendencies (me) could be satisfied. (more…)
It took me a month… a whole month to get through Infinity War. Seriously, here are the articles:
Spoiler-Free Study – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 1/4
Super Team Ups – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 2/4
A Darkness Falls – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 3/4
A Generation In Cinema – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 4/4
And they were some of my best work, I was seriously proud of that content! 6128 words and that’s only a fraction of the content I’ve written on the subject of the MCU as a whole. This is the crowning glory of ten years of cinema, twenty-something films and a host of supporting content, the greatest minds in the industry, the biggest budget, and the finest talent, has been poured into a saga of films. Almost as many titles as James Bond crammed into a little over a decade, all drawn from the pages of comic book history, and featuring actors who have played the same characters in a stunning number of films.
So far as I am concerned, the MCU is over. I might go see the others, I would like to watch Far From Home, which will be Tom Holland’s fifth appearance as Spider-Man, outdoing his other predecessors; I am curious to see Baron Mordo return in a new Doctor Strange, and I am pleased that Gunn has been taken back onto Guardians 3… but ultimately, this feels done. This is my review, Endgame finished the saga in the best way it could be ended. It is not perfect, it has some glaring flaws that I will not go into yet, but will inevitably discuss in future.
It was beautiful, and it has simultaneously made cinema better and worse. I recommend looking on YouTube for the One Marvelous Scene collaboration started by Nando v. Movies and taken up by some of his friends and cohorts, and then onwards to dozens of other film analysts on YouTube, where they look back on the entire project and pick a scene that they love for its incredible depth of character, implications, or ramifications that ripple out across the series.
For what it’s worth mine may very well be the fight between our first three “main” Avengers, Thor, Stark, and Rogers, as they throw down for custody of Loki while the trickster god sits casually above them all. It’s a wonderful moment of synergy in which they learn a great deal about the ways in which they conflict and complement one another, every moment revealing a little more about themselves: Rogers the tactician, acting with authority and fighting in the name of a diplomatic conclusion; Tony acting recklessly but willing to get “experimental”; Thor, accustomed to victory is shocked to take a beating, all while Loki watches with a wry smile. Note the two conspicuous pair of crows that fly by the Asgardians, as father watches his sons squabble from afar. And let’s not forget “the gong strike”. Action and characterisation in perfect harmony.
In short, I’ll be talking about Endgame for quite some time, watching it again soon enough, and I might review it on the back of some other grandiose Marvel analysis series… actually I’m watching the scene on the lab in the Helicarrier following the custody battle, that’s an article in its own right. Maybe I need to get onto YouTube sooner rather than later. But three hours of Endgame that successfully ties up a decade of cinema with a wonderful cluster of callbacks and conclusions, it’s more than any one review can dissect. I look forward to talking about this for years to come.
Next week I want to talk about the two big wars of the week, Endgame and the Siege of Winterfell. There will be spoilers.
The release of Captain Marvel marks the last step to End Game and the first female lead across twenty two MCU films, a milestone that has been long awaited, and there was general consensus that she was a solid choice. Most of the good options from Marvel’s roster of female characters are either X-Men (or memebers of a team), villains, or female iterations of someone else, of those that remain Carole Danvers is easily the best known which, sadly, doesn’t say a great deal. DC at least have always had Wonder Woman to lean on, and they recently found some success with two thirds of a good film, Marvel have never quite had the same fortune.
Nor can we say that origin stories hold up against the big titles that Marvel has become revered for, Doctor Strange was a good enough film, Ant Man was ok, and certainly none of them are as bad as Thor 2, which I maintain still has some redeeming qualities, I’m getting off topic. The Avengers have been the films we have come to respect and love, characters are established and made strong on their own and then brought together to be stronger. A wise man attempts to build his house upon the sand, and tells us that because the house stands so tall that it will stand forever.
There Will Be Spoilers but I’m not going to lie to you here, it won’t make much difference if any at all. (more…)
Last one I promise, and this will be very light on spoilers. I’ve talked about this film and everything that served to create it for two weeks solid now, and while that may seem more than enough, that’s ten years of films to discuss! And how it has changed, and changed everything around it.
A quick look at the other events of 2008: The CERN supercollidor was inaugurated, Spotify was launched, Obama elected, and Satoshi Nakamoto revealed his plans for Bitcoin. Since then, the cryptocurrency market has turned into a bizarre economic hurricane, the Obama administration has come and gone, Spotify has become an intrinsic part of the way we enjoy music, and no black holes in the Netherlands. (more…)
This is the SPOILER FREE part of the [Infinity War review/MCU study] delete as applicable in which I’ll be talking about all the work that got us here. This is going to be a long one, hence the “Part one of four” in the title.
I’ve spoken a lot on the subject but let me reiterate, the MCU is the cinematic event of a generation, as Star Wars was before it. Nineteen films in ten years, fourteen directors, ten titles and twenty-something main characters, that all coalesce into a single universe, not wholly ripped from the pages of the comics but treated with sufficient reverence to the source material and laced so deeply with lore that even the most dogmatic comic book fans can at least respect the effort, even if they don’t like the final product. (more…)
Wow this is late, it’s been nearly a month since the series was released, and considering that I pride myself on getting a review out in good time this is incredibly late, my apologies.
Jessica Jones is a pretty solid fan-favourite, I think that’s entirely fair to say. Her first series painted a portrait of a woman who has built a shell around herself out of snark, sarcasm, and alcoholism, and why wouldn’t she? She’s lost her entire family, was adopted into a deeply broken home, and has suffered greatly at the hands of a super-villain who has proven one of the darkest in television history.
No doubt she was one of the best parts of the lack lustre Defenders, maybe even the Netflix/Marvel project as a whole, and she’s the second character to get a second season. Here’s hoping it keeps the upward-swing going. Consider this your Spoiler Warning because it’s been a few weeks and there’s a lot here that can’t be discussed without a few reveals. (more…)
This will be a relatively short review, as from the perspective of a white British man there’s not an awful lot to comment on. This is a Marvel origin story, in the vein of Ant Man and Doctor Strange, it brings to light a character that has seen little screen time and attention in the past, and while we have met T’Challa before and know the basics of the Black Panther (at least from the MCU perspective) he’s still a relative unknown compared to the likes of Spidey and Iron Man.
Still, from someone with little investiture in African and African-American culture there was a lot to enjoy, remark upon and unpack. I am calling a Minor Spoiler warning but*… well I’ll get to that in a little while. (more…)
So far Marvel’s roster of villains has been good enough. Outstanding examples are few, but they rarely detract from the quality of the film and have never been so bland, poorly motivated, and misinterpreted as to match up to Jesse Eisenburg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor!* Most appear for a single film, and are gone for good by the end because most of the heroes in the cinematic universe aren’t so foolish as to keep their rogue’s gallery imprisoned, they just go for full blown obliteration.
Two villains have never completely faded. Loki has stuck around as beloved fan favourite and loose moral canon, and because Tom Hiddleston is having too much fun with the role. The other has yet to take his place in the front lines of action, but has been pulling the strings of Loki and Ronan the Accuser, and perhaps more since the earliest days of the Cinematic Universe. The Mad Titan, Thanos. (more…)
Here I admit Netflix had me concerned. The Defenders had been skiing very much downhill in my opinion, with a rapid decline beginning in the second half of Luke Cage ending in a blander than bland Defenders with only a handful of redeemable features. Now the Punisher had been a little underutilised in Daredevil Season 2, but we were still presented with a version of Frank Castle that we fell utterly in love with in Jon Bernthal, a series of his own was inevitable with the fan support.
Creating a series to appeal to the fans, outside of the initial plot, little to no pre-planning to work him into the larger, very successful Marvel Mediaverse… Yeah, I think I was entitled to my doubts, but we have rather proved that cutting yourself loose of a shared universe can make life a hell of a lot easier. (more…)