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MCU Phase 4 and beyond - Spidey to stay in the MCU! (warning: Endgame and Far From Home spoilers)


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The story so far, spoilered for length:

 

Spoiler

1. Iron Man: What needs to be said? RDJ kills it, the armour is excellent, the CG fares surprisingly well given its age. 9/10

 

2. The Incredible Hulk: The MCU's most awkward, least thought of entry. Quite clearly retrofitted late in production to reference Iron Man. Casting Edward Norton is probably the most regrettable mistake in the series. Quite a lot of character dead ends. Despite that, lovely production, and a fun story. 5/10

 

3. Iron Man 2: Widely reviled, undeservedly so. Given modern understanding of the interplay between MCU films, the additional characters don't come across as much like sequel advertising as like part of the overarching narrative. Sam Rockwell absolutely nails it, one of the best antagonists in the entire MCU. Solid sequel. 7/10

 

4. Thor: Definitely showing its age at this stage, both in its CG and in its general tone and storytelling. Anthony Hopkins is excellent, Tom Hiddleston is competant but yet to find his swagger. Everything to do with Natalie Portman is a total yawn-fest. Thor breaking in to the SHIELD compound is a definite highlight. 6/10

 

5. Captain America: The First Avenger: This does surprisingly well, and works well when taken into the context of the Cap trilogy. It's just as much about Bucky's journey as Cap's. Red Skull is an excellent villain. 6/10

 

6. Avengers Assemble: Total classic, here we see the MCU fun and exciting tone in full force for the first time. Special effects are largely excellent, and does a surprisingly good job of introducing all characters, regardless of what you've seen before. 9/10

 

7. Iron Man 3: One of the worst MCU films in my book. It's story and motivations are completely at odds with the rest of the MCU storylines, Iron Man is all but absent in the film and is comically depowered, the Mandarin misdirect is horribly executed, and the ending makes no sense whatsoever. 4/10

 

8. Thor: The Dark World: Anthony Hopkins couldn't be more obviously phoning it in here, and I don't blame him. I fell asleep just before the big end set-piece. 4/10

 

9. Captain America: Winter Soldier: The Russo Brother's MCU debut, and what a drastic uptick in quality. One of the MCU's best. The action set-pieces are breathtaking, with a personal highlight being Fury's car chase. A hinted-at Cap/Natasha romantic sub-plot is regrettably trampled on by subsequent films. The tone and pacing of this film is absolutely spot-on. 9/10

 

10. Guardians of the Galaxy: I hadn't seen this in a good long while, and my god did it absolutely shine on this re-watch. With characterisation chops that are the envy of every other MCU director, James Gunn confidently putsforward a film that up until this point was rivalled only by Avengers Assemble in terms of fun and excitement. The MCU enters the cosmic realm in dazzling fashion. 9/10

 

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron: A film so busy with subplots and running at such a speed that it borders on incoherence. A lot of half-baked and poorly concluded threads. I remember coming out of the cinema having watched it for the first time, and not being sure that I understood what I'd seen. Repeat viewings can alleviate these issues though. Regardless, excellent action and contains my personal favourite Stan Lee cameo. 7/10

 

12. Ant-Man: If ever a character thrived on being the underdog, Ant-Man was it. It's obvious from the tone and marketing that Marvel was aware of that strength, and as such they serve up a surprisingly entertaining film here, so much so that expectations are pleasantly exceeded. Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang perfectly. The heist theme is excellently done. 8/10

 

13. Captain America: Civil War: The finest that the MCU has to offer, in my opinion. The plot provides a genuine moral quandary, and each character gets to say their piece. Black Panther is better in this than in his own film, Spider-Man is introduced perfectly ("QUEENS" - SQUEE!) and the action set-pieces are just mesmerising. Most people mention the airport centre-piece, but I think the real highlight is the end fight sequence between Cap, Iron Man and Bucky. There's real weight and consequence here. Thanos gets a lot of credit for it, but Zemo is truly the first villain to have won by the end of the film. 10/10

 

14. Doctor Strange: When I heard that Scott Derrickson was directing this, I was thrilled. Given this and Doctor Strange's previous experience with the occult and Lovecraftian antagonists, I thought Marvel was going to make a horror film. Instead we get a trippy magic-as-kung-fu origin story, steeped in 60's psychedelia, and some of the best and most brain-melting special effects ever seen in film. It feels strangely similar to the first Iron Man, a kind of throw-back to the origins of the MCU. Mads Mikkelson is absolutely wasted in this film (he would have been my dream casting for Doctor Doom), and Tilda Swinton steals every scene she's in. The ending's tone is pulled straight out of the comics, to my utter delight. This film opens Strange up to some wonderful future possibilities, which we've already begun to see. 7/10

 

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: This film has some pretty big shoes to fill. The first film was a fantastic, confident and stylish departure from the other MCU fare, and it does seem like Gunn was feeling the pressure to replicate and improve upon all of those points. Unfortunately, while on paper this film is grander than the previous, it loses sight of some characterisation, the true linchpin of the original. The worst offence is Drax - a character who's motivations from the first film, the deep mourning for his family, and murderous need to gain vengeance, is replaced by a character who basically just laughs at everything.

There's a bit too much playing for laughs, and the music is a bit too shoehorned in, but there are some excellent messages about the importance of family, despite their imperfections. Kurt Russell is an inspired bit of casting for the role he plays. 7/10

 

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming: This film truly shows just what Marvel can do that other studios just can't. They truly understand the characters and storylines, and don't shy away from any of the details that might not translate so well to film. They've realised that getting Peter Parker right and getting Spider-Man right are two different jobs, and getting one right doesn't imply that that the other is a done deal.

We FINALLY have a Peter Parker who is actually a school-kid, and wisely manage to bypass the already battered-to-death origin story. Melding supporting characters from both the Peter Parker and Miles Morales runs works well in my opinion, and the film actually delivers a genuinely shocking twist for the first time in the MCU. Tom Holland nails it on all fronts, and Michael Keaton takes an easy paycheck, but does a fantastic job while doing it. The best Spider-Man film, despite the first 10 minutes delivering the two most maddening continuity errors in the whole MCU. 9/10

 

17. Thor: Ragnarok: Well, it only took them 2 feature films and 2 tie-in Avengers films, but they finally got Thor right. This film is a perfect symbiosis of the Marvel Studios juggernaut and a very singular and distinctive directorial style. Dispensing with the chaff of the franchise in hilariously brazen style, this film introduces new, much more engaging characters which embrace the inherent silliness of the franchise. Despite the levity of the film, the storyline lives up to its title in smuggling a cataclysmically dark story past the viewer. There are a few technical issues (perhaps the most blatant and noticeable green screen work in the MCU, and the lighting always looks very... studio-y), but there's such a sense of fun in this film that it's easily forgiven. Blanchett absolutely nails her role as Hela and obviously had great fun doing so. Korg is hilarious and Hulk is, for the first time, a fleshed out character. This is a masterclass in how to turn an ailing franchise around. 9/10

 

18. Black Panther: The real star of this film is the land of Wakanda. A wonderful job has been done here to flesh out and make real a jaw-dropping nation and culture, cribbed from bits and pieces of the various nations of southern Africa. My fiancee was thrilled to see the characters speaking Xhosa - apparently, everyone apart from the guy playing King T'Chaka absolutely massacres the accent. The antagonist - one that has a truly defensible viewpoint, and genuinely thinks that he's doing what's right - is played with genuine ferocity, and carries multiple fascinating subtexts in both his views and actions. He is absolutely dwarfed by Danai Gurira though - she very adeptly plays a truly fierce and determined woman. A huge highlight is the casino scene, which threatens to out-Bond Bond. Unfortunately the ending set-piece quickly descends into Marvel-by-numbers action, which doesn't manage to match the style and confidence of the first half of the film, and has sub-par CG work that isn't nearly as good as the stuff in the first Iron Man. Given the outpouring of love and undeniable cultural impact of this film, T'Challa will definitely be a central part of the MCU going forward. 8/10

 

21. Captain Marvel: This is a strange one. Brie Larson nails it as a competent and confident, but never outright arrogant, protagonist. She has a real sense of empathy and justice, the real makings of a true hero. There is a really inspiring message about personal strength and determination that lifts the story up. The film is, however, not without fault, most of which can be laid down directly at the directors' feet. There are some questions about character motivations and reactions, and some of the action is poorly laid out. Some of the lighting is god-awful. Ben Mendelsohn nails his role as arch-Skrull. The 90's nods were lovely, although I wish they'd taken more advantage of the Riot Grrl music that was at their disposal. Hopefully this Cap's trilogy has the same trajectory as the other Cap's, and the sequels deliver on this film's promise. 6/10 

 

20. Ant-Man & The Wasp: This one is very similar to Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - on paper it ticks all the boxes from the first film, but in actuality just isn't as good as the original. That said, it certainly has its charms, and it does an excellent job of making Hope van Dyne a very capable and formidable character without sacrificing any of her humanity. The stuff about Janet van Dyne possessing Scott was pretty off-puttingly daft, and Luis isn't as endearing a character as in the first film. There is absolutely no reason why Walton Goggins character couldn't have been a reappearance of Justin Hammer. The end scene credit is an excellent lead into Endgame, and is possibly the only part of this film that needs to be seen. 6/10

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I've just noticed that they are doing a free trial of Disney Deluxe, just in time for Golden Week here in Japan. Seem to include all the MCU movies - not sure about Spider-Man though. Might try to binge watch all of them in order! 

 

Then Star Wars if I have time...

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Despite us knowing there’s certain movies somewhere along the road, they say now they’re not officially saying stuff about them, what order, etc. until after Far From Home.

 

Certainly Guardians 3 and Black Widow. There’s Black Panther 2 and Doctor Strange 2, but I’m not sure if they’re assumptions rather than something more official. There’s a new one, Eternals?

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1 hour ago, the_debaser said:

 

Better Call Saul. 

 

Movies, genius!  I'll give you Godfather II (although that film would work without the flashbacks, but wouldn't work without the contemporaneous stuff, so isn't really a prequel) and Temple of Doom (as long as Indy's stories happen around roughly the same time period, it doesn't matter the exact order), but that's your lot. 

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10 minutes ago, Treble said:

 

Movies, genius!  I'll give you Godfather II (although that film would work without the flashbacks, but wouldn't work without the contemporaneous stuff, so isn't really a prequel) and Temple of Doom (as long as Indy's stories happen around roughly the same time period, it doesn't matter the exact order), but that's your lot. 

Fast Five.

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17 minutes ago, the_debaser said:

Ok, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doooooom. Puss in Boots. The Good, the bad and the ugly. There’s quite a few. 

 

I already said Temple. Puss in Boots? Seriously? GBU fair enough. 

 

13 minutes ago, mdn2 said:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes?

 

You can't have that as a prequel to POTA, it's a new franchise. 

 

6 minutes ago, Commander Jameson said:

Rogue One is pretty good.

 

Shit, I completely forgot about R1. 

 

OK, OK, not all prequels are shit and pointless. Just the overwhelming majority :D

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18 hours ago, JohnC said:

Despite us knowing there’s certain movies somewhere along the road, they say now they’re not officially saying stuff about them, what order, etc. until after Far From Home.

 

Certainly Guardians 3 and Black Widow. There’s Black Panther 2 and Doctor Strange 2, but I’m not sure if they’re assumptions rather than something more official. There’s a new one, Eternals?

 

Those 5 plus Shang-Chi are confirmed officially I think. 

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I'd say the inherent problem with prequels, are that they often serve the purpose to provide backstory, but the fate of the character's is already know. This is the case with the Star Wars prequels but apparently Lucas intended a new audience to watch it in order. This of course completely spoils one of cinema's more famous twists, but whatever eh! 

 

Rogue one is more a side story with new characters, so their fate and character arc / progression isn't yet know. It's set before other films but it's still compelling as you don't yet totally know what's going to happen. 

Godfather pt. 2 is set up as a juxtaposition, comparing the progression of Vito and Michael at the same points in their lives, so that makes it compelling. 

 

Disney are making that Cassian Andor's Star Wars TV show, which will suffer from prequelistis. We know his fate! Him and K-2SO! So from a narrative point of view, they're immortal! There's no real danger, only mild peril.

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The rewatch continues...

 

I really enjoyed Homecoming this time around (apart from Ned who is one of the most annoying characters in the history of cinema. Seriously, Jar Jar has nothing on this guy)

Great story and a great twist.

 

But, Christ what a bore Civil War is. A few great  action scenes, but the most boring antagonist of the MCU and a dodgy script in places. It really plods along and doesn't offer anything new.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, sandman said:

The rewatch continues...

 

I really enjoyed Homecoming this time around (apart from Ned who is one of the most annoying characters in the history of cinema. Seriously, Jar Jar has nothing on this guy)

Great story and a great twist.

 

But, Christ what a bore Civil War is. A few great  action scenes, but the most boring antagonist of the MCU and a dodgy script in places. It really plods along and doesn't offer anything new.

 

 

 

Sort of disagree. It’s a great Iron Man movie featuring one of RDJ’s best performances in the role. It features great introductions and supporting roles for Black Panther and Spider-Man. It advances the Vision/Scarlet Witch relationship. Ant-Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon, and Bucky have some good stuff to do. Captain America’s screen time and development is limited compared to his first two films.

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I think Civil War is up there as in my Top 5 easily, and only really appreciated it on my second viewing.. And Zemo was a truly excellent villain, certainly better than most antagonists across the MCU, and actually made what happened in AoU more impactful.

 

I also like Ned.

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On 13/04/2019 at 10:54, NickC said:

The Vision TV series should be a creepy suburban android horror sitcom based on:

 

1242765213_51mQZQvNpEL._SX323_BO1204203200_.jpg.e1597221f62e5ff7be14aa0a9f620d3e.jpg

 

 

Tom King at his best, a great companion to his DC Mister Miracle too.

 

Though his Crisis sucksssss.

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