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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

 

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

 

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

 

19. Avengers: Infinity War: This is the most comic book film ever - it has insanely heightened stakes and storyline, makes absolutely no attempt to be self-contained and assumes a foreknowledge of the vast storylines that have come before it. A lot of people would say that these are negatives, but certainly not me. Thanos is just a jaw-dropping achievement, in terms of technology, acting and writing. The film has a very brisk pace indeed, and a lot of moving parts, but never descends into the incoherence of AoU. The CGI and effects are stunning throughout, with a few notable exceptions. Doctor Strange is my personal MVP - his fight sequence with Thanos is perfect. I actually shouted in the cinema when a long-standing, but previously-assumed-to-be-unlikely theory regarding the reappearance of a certain character turned out to be on the money.

This film shows the mass audience what comic book fans have always seen on the page. 10/10

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26 minutes ago, mansizerooster said:

I actually shouted in the cinema when a long-standing, but previously-assumed-to-be-unlikely theory regarding the reappearance of a certain character turned out to be on the money.

 

I am having quite a Bad Day at work, which might be a contributing factor but I have no idea who this is in reference to. Pls put me out of my misery.

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24 minutes ago, Glasgowchivas said:

 

I am having quite a Bad Day at work, which might be a contributing factor but I have no idea who this is in reference to. Pls put me out of my misery.

I'll have a guess at the Red Skull.

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Hey marvel geeks, only just saw Captain marvel and I have some questions:

 

1) are the Skrill/kree simply just good/bad? I thought this was a bit lame, though I it explained why the skrull let that lady off the train first

 

2) how does thanos fit in with Ronan and the kree? I guess this is explained in guardians?

 

3) why is Captain marvel taking so long helping? She's still human, surely she misses earth?

 

The film was as I expected a bit average but I loved how it joined lots of dots in the wider plot.

 

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15 minutes ago, Pete said:

Hey marvel geeks, only just saw Captain marvel and I have some questions:

 

1) are the Skrill/kree simply just good/bad? I thought this was a bit lame, though I it explained why the skrull let that lady off the train first

 

No. In the comics, the Kree are generally good, the Skrulls generally evil. But, well, really they're both bad for different reasons.

 

15 minutes ago, Pete said:

 

2) how does thanos fit in with Ronan and the kree? I guess this is explained in guardians?

 

Yep.

 

15 minutes ago, Pete said:

 

3) why is Captain marvel taking so long helping? She's still human, surely she misses earth?

 

You mean why didn't she come back after 1995? Well, space is big. Also, we might find out in another film. Also, she can (in the comics) time travel.

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In the comics the Skrulls have always been the bad guys. With the Kree its a bit more grey, due to the Supreme Intelligence (and some in the upper echelons of their government) being a bit of a cunt, whereas the rank and file dont know that, and think he's beneficial to their race. I could be wrong about this, as I havent read comics for years, so it may have changed.

 

It is explained (sort of) in Guardians, but not what happens to Ronan pre Guardians, and post Marvel, as he's still a loyal Kree in Marvel, yet is rogue in Guardians, so who knows....Captain Marvel 2 maybe?

 

I think with her being away from Earth she's been busy with other things out in the galaxy, though its a bit odd that there was no mention of some uber powerful person in Guardians of the Galaxy, but who knows where she's been all this time. As she's said in the Endgame trailer - "Not every planet have their own version of the Avengers!"

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1 hour ago, Pete said:

Excellent thanks.

 

I love the idea of an AI leader, raises lots of interesting questions and weirdly I'm not come across that idea before. 

 

Have you read any Iain M Banks Culture novels? Their exploration of supreme AI leaders and how it affects society is quite interesting.

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Does anyone have any decent links to read prior to going into Endgame? I’ve seen most of the Avengers films and a few of the others but haven’t seen any of the Antman films or Capt Marvel so feel like I’m going to be missing a lot of knowledge before I go in. 

 

Also, thinking of getting my son a year’s sub to Marvel Unlimited. Has anyone used it? He only has an iPad mini so not sure that will be a large enough screen to read the comics well enough. 

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Yeah, for ant Man the less you know the better almost, and if you've seen civil war you're up to speed with all the main characters anyway.

 

I went to see Captain marvel last night and have gone away feeling I could of easily just waited, partly because the origin of her powers isn't very interesting and how she masters them isn't handled well.

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I wish I could get hyped for this movie, all my mates are. We’re going to the midnight showing.

 

This should have the same hype levels are the matrix reloaded, Prometheus and The Force Awakens put together but I’m looking forward to the pre movie Nando’s more! 

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24 minutes ago, probotector said:

I wish I could get hyped for this movie, all my mates are. We’re going to the midnight showing.

 

This should have the same hype levels are the matrix reloaded, Prometheus and The Force Awakens put together but I’m looking forward to the pre movie Nando’s more! 

 

Do you often drink a lot of absinthe?

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I don’t know, I’m struggling to get hyped after 22 pretty average movies.

 

Maybe I’ll feel differently after watching it tonight but even Civil War turned out pretty average and I was hyped for it after Winter Soldier. The Airport battle is pretty much meh. They go on about the New York incident like it was 9/11 rather than a pretty dull Michael Bay-lite showdown.

 

I can only hope that once they have this infinity stone saga out of the way, they can take more risks and hopefully a lot more focus on AAA heroes like Spider-Man, XMEN, The Hulk and Deadpool and less of the C-list heroes.

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14 minutes ago, Pete said:

Bradshaw really liked it, but those who are cautious should avoid his review as I think he hints to a big spoiler. I hope not though, I think I'm just being overly sensitive.

 

I haven't read his review (not reading any of them!) but I saw this comment about what he gives away:

 

 

I agree with that: being told about relatively mundane character interactions in advance can be as spoilery as knowing about major plot twists.

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4 minutes ago, sandman said:

With most of the rewatch done I think my fave 7 (in no order) are

 

Doctor Strange

Ant Man

Black Panther

Iron Man 3

Infinity War

Captain America TFA

Avengers Assemble

 

These stand head and shoulders above the rest IMHO

 

No list is complete without Dark World, Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2:lol:

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