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Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 2 General Discussion (Spoilers discussed for All Films -- Please Read First Post) (1 Viewer)

Sean Bryan

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Adam Lenhardt

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That trailer is fucking thrilling. If this doesn't get people back in theaters (safety permitting, of course), nothing will.
That promo has what used to be referred to as "big dick energy". It's hot shit, and it knows it.

I do think it's an important public commitment by Marvel Studios to theatrical exhibition.
 

Jake Lipson

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I wasn't really sure where else to put this so figured this thread is as good as any. Jimmy Rich, who has been Robert Downy Jr.'s assistant on all of his films since 2003 including the MCU ones, passed away at age 52.


Although he is not someone that moviegoers would be familiar with, this is still really sad news. It sounds like he was a good guy and he certainly left us way too soon. I'm sure he will be missed by those who did know him. May he Rest In Peace.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I’ve been cycling through the MCU films in the break between shows on D+, and I’m currently at Civil War.

I’m curious how you guys all feel about the film in hindsight.

I’m honestly not loving it right now - it’s not terrible, but the last couple times I saw it, it didn’t click for me and it’s not working well tonight. There are standout individual moments and sequences, but I feel the weight of its construction, of writers moving pieces around the board to set up other (and better) films, of conflict that feels neutered by making allies into enemies over manipulations and misunderstandings that people with such shared backgrounds should be able to get past. It feels self-important in a way that it doesn’t quite earn.

I have a feeling I’m in a minority with those viewpoints. For me, it’s almost like a meal where you love all of the individual ingredients but find yourself underwhelmed with the combination.
 

jayembee

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You're not wrong. In a lot of ways, it feels like the entire movie is one long Greek Chorus, explaining everything to the audience so that it understands where everyone is on the chessboard ("Mixed Metaphors R Us") by the time we get to Infinity War.

That said, I still like all of the set pieces for what they are, and I think it does a really good job of introducing both Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU, although the latter seems more shoe-horned in than the former.

My biggest problem is the speed with which the Sokovia Accords are introduced, rammed down everyone's throats, and cause everyone to choose their side. Every time I think about it, I get more and more irritated by the inane arguments by General Secretary or State Ross, and his choice of previous movie moments to illustrate his points:

(1) The Battle of New York isn't anywhere close to the Avengers acting as a rogue group with no oversight. At the time, they were, for all practical purposes, acting as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. under the direction of Nick Fury, with S.H.I.E.L.D. being overseen by the World Security Council. And the WSC (under the obvious influence of Gideon Malick, one of the leaders of Hydra!) wanted to nuke Manhattan instead of using the Avengers. A prime example of Cap's argument that the people on the ground often know better than the overseers.

(2) The Battle of the Triskelion didn't even involve the Avengers! Only two of them -- Steve and Natasha -- were part of that fight, and they were acting purely as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, not Avengers. Sam took part, true, but he was really just a civilian (with a nifty flying suit!) who got "deputized" to help. And, again, the primary "oversight" person involved, Alexander Pierce, was one of the Bad Guys (not to mention however many Hydra sleeper agents beyond Gary Shandling were part of any US Governmental oversight). Plus, the fight between the Winter Soldier and Steve & Nat aside, there really wasn't much in the way of collateral damage or danger to the populace. The footage of helicarriers falling out of the sky looked bad, but really, it was pretty much contained to within the area of S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ.

(3) Of all the possible events from Age of Ultron -- which really was pretty much Tony's fault, and Tony's fault alone -- the destruction of Sokovia was the worst example. Yes, a lot of property was destroyed and people killed, but they were trying to prevent an Extinction Level Event. The Iron Man/Hulk fight in Johannesburg, or the fight in Seoul, were far more egregious examples (especially the former) of collateral damage by the Avengers than what happened in Sokovia.

(4) The idea that the Avengers were "at fault" in not knowing where Thor and Banner were was absurd. Thor and Banner aren't "weapons of mass destruction", they're people. And in the case of Hulk, Ross himself is far more guilty of failing to know where Banner was, and the collateral damage caused by trying to capture him. Not to mention being responsible for Blonsky going psycho, and turning into the Abomination, requiring Ross to use the Hulk to stop him. And an argument can be made that Ross is responsible for Banner becoming the Hulk in the first place.

The most interesting part of the character conflicts, on the other hand, was the basic disagreement between Steve and Tony. Not so much for each one's reasoning, but for who they were. Steve was a soldier, and soldiers are (in theory) supposed to obey their commanders without question. Steve, however, has always acted as if he knew better than his commanders did. And apparently, Colonel Philips agreed, after Steve went rogue and ran off to rescue the 107th; after that moment, Steve seemed to be the one in charge of planning all the anti-Hydra missions. Tony, on the other hand, ignored any attempts by others to ride herd on him, because he thought (usually correctly) that he was always the smartest man in the room. And he caved to the suggestion that he should let others make the decisions. And, of course, that didn't last long, given how quickly he decided to leave Ross out of the loop.
 

Sam Favate

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I do like Civil War, but I don't think it's as good as The Winter Soldier. I really feel that Civil War should have been an Avengers movie and Captain America should have had a third film that focused on him (even though CW did). It just feels like an Avengers movie.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The unannounced Marvel movie that was going to debut on October 7, 2022 has been pushed back to open October 6, 2023, and the November 2023 movie has been pushed back a week to November 10, 2023.

I think it's just Disney adapting to deal with the backlog of product that accumulated during the pandemic.
 

Sam Favate

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The unannounced Marvel movie that was going to debut on October 7, 2022 has been pushed back to open October 6, 2023, and the November 2023 movie has been pushed back a week to November 10, 2023.

I think it's just Disney adapting to deal with the backlog of product that accumulated during the pandemic.
Sony's Into the Spider-Verse sequel is set for Oct 7, 2022, so that could be a contributing factor. It may be a different studio, but there is no way they open against something like that. Not necessarily because the animated film will be a monster (although it will certainly do well) but it clearly splits the audience for a Marvel movie. (Not to mention that the public at large probably doesn't understand the difference between a Sony film that says "Marvel" at the beginning and a "Marvel Studios" production.)

The only films confirmed for 2023 are Guardians 3 for May 5, and Ant-Man 3, which could be in February or in November. Marvel has four dates penciled in for 2023: Feb. 17, May 5, July 28, and Nov. 10. The other two films could be Blade and Fantastic Four (although I suspect the latter will be held for 2024, making use of the last digit).
 

Jake Lipson

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The only films confirmed for 2023 are Guardians 3 for May 5, and Ant-Man 3, which could be in February or in November.

Ant-Man was confirmed for February and Guardians was confirmed for May in that sizzle real they put out a while back. So the other 2023 dates are for unknown projects at this point.
 

Jake Lipson

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This is a pretty wide-ranging video with Kevin Feige about the projects Marvel has already released this year and the upcoming ones. Since it touches a little bit on everything, I figured this the best place to post it.





Feige does discuss both the MCU TV shows on Disney+ and the film slate for this year.

And on that note...

However, unless the owners/mobs/members think otherwise, I think it's best to keep the thread to the MCU films only. For now, spoiler discussion about the TV shows (e.g. for Daredevil or Agents of SHIELD) and their place in the MCU should use the spoiler tag. In the future, if Disney/Marvel creates a truly seamless link between the films and the television shows, perhaps the owners/mods/members will consider expanding the discussion to everything.

This made sense in 2019 when @Josh Dial started this thread. Now that we have the Disney+ shows which are truly fully integrated with the world of the films in a way that the ABC and Netflix shows were not, I think it is a good idea to revise the rule governing this thread to include Disney+ shows as well. The "seamless link" that Josh hypothetically forecasted a couple years ago is now here.
 
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Jake Lipson

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I missed having Loki this week (aside from the making-of special), so I decided to go back to the Thor movies over the last couple days. Because I already watched the first two Avengers films earlier this month while preparing for Black Widow, I left those out this time and just went for the three films with Thor actually in the title.

Thor.jpg
I saw the first Iron Man in theaters and enjoyed it but wasn't overwhelmed by it. I saw The Incredible Hulk in theaters and did not like it. After hearing it was bad, I decided to skip Iron Man 2 and didn't pay much attention to Thor or Captain America: The First Avenger at all. I don't remember seeing trailers for them. Maybe I did and forgot, or maybe Paramount's marketing genuinely passed me by. In any cane, I eventually heard that The Avengers was great, so I went back and watched Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America as "Avengers homework" so that I could understand that movie. I think Thor was on Netflix at the time and for some reason I remember it being pan and scanned and filling my widescreen television. I eventually got the Blu-ray a couple of years ago. It is a good disc and I like the movie. I don't really have anything bad to say about it. But if I'm in the mood for something Marvel, there are several others that I would pull out before this one.

As such, when I decided to to watch it this weekend, I hadn't seen this one in a while. It was a weird experience because I remembered the plot in broad strokes, but I was much less familiar with it than I am with more recent Marvel movies. It wasn't like I'd never seen the movie before, because of course I have. But it was about as close to watching something I've already seen for a second first time as I'm likely to get. While there is a comfort level to watching a favorite movie again and again, and I'm never bored when I know what's coming next, I have to admit that it was kind of fun not being entirely sure what every single beat of this movie was. I really enjoyed revisiting it and will probably return to it more often now.

Kenneth Branagh was an inspired choice to direct this, and I think the contrast between the Asgard scenes and the Earth scenes is especially well done. Even though he's a god, they manage to make Thor relatable because he's a fish out of water on Earth, and his interplay with Jane in particular is very appealing. This movie is ten years old and we're still getting compelling new stories with both Thor and Loki, and the foundations of that laid here still hold up. Not only are Hemsworth and Hiddleston perfectly cast, but the movie introduces them and their world in a way that makes you want to see more. Branagh keeps the story moving and the transitions between the worlds make sense.

I'm not sure why I passed on it in theaters, but if I had known it was going to be this good, I would have gone. One thing I noticed this time is that Captain Marvel really retcons some of this in a major way. When he is interrogating Thor, Coulson clearly has no idea that aliens exist. But in Captain Marvel, we saw he learned that in 1995. You can say that Nick Fury is lying when he tells everyone that SHIELD is developing weapons because of Thor in The Avengers because he decided it wasn't important to tell them about Carol at that time. But that workaround makes less sense in this movie because Coulson should be able to figure out that Thor comes from space if he already knows about aliens. And yet he just keeps mentioning Earthbound places when asking about Thor's "training." Obviously that's because SHIELD didn't know about aliens when Thor was made, but it doesn't quite align with the new information Captain Marvel added to their story.

Dark World.jpg
I did see The Dark World in theaters as I have done with every MCU film since The Avengers. I remember enjoying it while it was on, but I wasn't in a huge hurry to get the disc and did that a couple years ago. Like the original, this is not one of my most frequently viewed MCU titles. Some people think it is the worst film in the MCU. Maybe that colored my opinion of it today, but I don't think it is that. When I was revisiting Natasha's movies prior to Black Widow, I saw Iron Man 2 again and I think that one is much worse than this one.

The stakes in Dark World feel pretty low, even though the villain's plan is (I guess) to destroy reality, because they are vaguely defined. Malekith never really feels like a genuine threat. There seems to be more of a disconnect between the scenes set on Earth and the ones on Asgard than was the case in the original, like the movie can't really decide where its focus should be. Bringing Jane to Asgard was a cool idea because it would allow a role reversal of the fish out of water idea from the first film. But she doesn't get very much to do on Asgard, and it feels like the movie is happening to her more than she is engaging with it. This is too bad because Jane is Natalie Portman, and she's such a great actress that she deserves more to do. Hopefully Love and Thunder rectifies that.

That being said: I rolled my eyes and groaned a lot at the sheer ridiculousness of Iron Man 2 a few weeks ago and that never happened with Dark World. It's not great, but it is consistently entertaining to watch this cast even in a lesser movie because they're so good. I also think Endgame helped make this movie retroactively better. One big complaint, though, is Chris O'Dowd being wasted in two minor scenes as Jane's non-romantic interest. I'm surprised that they would get an actor of his caliber to do that. I'd rather have seen him in another role in the MCU where he could have more to do. I'm not saying I want to see Richard back, but it is too bad O'Dowd joined the MCU as a glorified extra.

This is the first time I have watched the Thor films since WandaVision ended, so it was nice seeing Darcy again. Her presence here made me wonder when she might pop up next. We know that Wanda is going to be in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. While Marvel has made no statement to this effect, it wouldn't surprise me if Paul Bettany was in that too as Vision. Monica is going to be in The Marvels. But Darcy's future is a question mark. I guess it's possible she could show up in Thor: Love and Thunder with Jane, but because WandaVision set her on her own path, I don't think she has to be there. Still, I hope it's not another eight years before we see her again. WandaVision really brought out more potential in her character and it would be great to see that continue whether it be in a movie or another Disney+ show.

Ragnarok.jpg
Bringing in Taika Waititi to shake up Thor for Ragnarok was such a good idea. As I said above, I don't think The Dark World was so bad, but Ragnarok is in a whole other class. I said above that The Dark World didn't seem to know where its focus should be. Ragnarok doesn't have that problem. It feels like Waititi had a strong vision for this film and Marvel backed that all the way, which is great. Even though the mid-credits scene does cue up Infinity War brilliantly, and I remember a sinking feeling when I saw the bigger ship arrive during my theatrical screening, that's pretty much where it stops. Thor had to introduce us to Thor and Loki before The Avengers and The Dark World felt somewhat stilted because Thor doesn't really change in it. It was just another Thor movie before he would be back with the team for Ultron But it doesn't feel like Ragnarok only exists to get us to Infinity War. It feels like Ragnarok exists to progress this character in a story unto itself, and then it happens to leave off where Infinity War will pick up. It is also the closest thing we're going to get to a Mark Ruffalo Hulk movie, and he really gets a great showcase here too. Tessa Thompson is a terrific addition as well, and Cate Blanchett brings a weight and fearsomeness to Hela. Unlike Malekith, Hela feels like a worthy adversary and you're not really sure how Thor will best her.

A few really minor things that bugged me:

1) Although I love all the comedy and think the idea of doing Thor in this way is great, perhaps it could have used a couple more serious beats without being deflated by a joke. Thor doesn't even find out that the Warriors Three are killed. Their development across the first two films was lacking, but they meant something to him. You'd think they would show him reacting to news of their loss. Even though "Asgard are a people," the destruction of the planet has got to be emotional for people on that ship at the end watching as their home is destroyed. So a second to acknowledge the somberness would have been nice. Something along the lines of Thor and Rocket discussing Loki being dead in Infinity War but for Asgard as a whole and at the end of this film.

2) Dismissing Jane in a matter of two lines about a "dumping" was really unsatisfactory for that character. I'm not saying that Natalie Portman needed to be in the movie, but casting her aside like an afterthought didn't work for me. It wasn't even really necessary to do either. Because 99% of the movie is set in space, it's not like she would normally be there. The only time in the movie that we spend on Earth is when they go to get Odin and run into Doctor Strange, so Jane could've just been...not there. I wouldn't have batted an eye if Thor was just in space and Jane didn't come into the story because she lives on Earth. Throwing in a reference so randomly felt cheap.

Hopefully Love and Thunder will rectify the situation because we know that they are bringing Natalie Portman back. If we assume that Love and Thunder takes place in 2023 after Thor rides off with the Guardians at the end of Endgame, that will be ten years of in-universe time since we last saw Jane. I'm really curious to see how she is reintroduced after such a long gap. Even if she was blipped for five of those years, there's a lot we don't know about where she is in her life since the events of Dark World and I am looking forward to seeing her again. I really liked her role in the first movie a lot, and like I said, she wasn't used as effectively in the second. It will be great to see Natalie Portman and Jane get a showcase going forward.

3) Does Tessa Thompson's character have a name? Thor and Loki refer to her as "a Valkeryie" and say that the Valkeryies were an Asgardian group of warrior women. But they never actually call her anything else. It seems like she should have an individual name, unless the Valkeryies are just clones. Thor is "an Avenger," but he's still named Thor. So that seems unusual.
 
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