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My Marvel hot takes
Posted: Posted December 30th, 2018 by Jet Presto
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So, I've been working on a series of essays breaking down each of the Marvel film, and I figured it would be fun to just post all my "hot takes" that almost every single person seems to disagree with. I'm just putting them out there. Happy to elaborate if you want, but really just want to give everyone a chance to either go, "You're crazy, man!" or post their own Marvel hot takes.

So, here they are:

1. The Incredible Hulk is not the worst Marvel movie. (Thor: The Dark World is.)

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is solid, but it's hardly as deep or great as everyone likes to make it seem. It's a thematic mess by the time it gets to the end.

3. Spider-man: Homecoming is not very good, but it's middle of the pack of Spider-man movies. (I rank them: 1. Spider-verse. 2. Spider-man 2. 3. Spider-man. 4. Homecoming. 5. Amazing Spider-man. 6. Spider-man 3. 7. Amazing Spider-man 2.)

(And now, here come the real hot takes...)

4. Iron Man 2 is the best Iron Man movie, and Justin Hammer/Ivan Vanko are among the better crop of Marvel villains for their thematic relevance and for the way that they function in the overall film.

5. Iron Man 3 *would* be the best Iron Man movie if not for the stuff with the Mandarin. The problem isn't that they changed the character from the comics. It's the way that they did. To turn him into a literal punchline for the sake of pushing a more generic, bland, who-cares villain with a boring and shallow motivation really kills all the good things they do in the film.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a better overall film than Vol 1.

7. Ant-Man is the best Phase II movie.

And finally, the hottest take of them all...

8. Age of Ultron is better than Infinity War.



Those are the bulk of my Marvel cinematic hot takes. Do you have any?



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I suppose I can also do a quick ranking:

1. Black Panther
2. Thor: Ragnarok
3. Captain America: Civil War
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5. Ant-Man and the Wasp
6. The Avengers
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
8. Iron man 2
9. Guardians of the Galaxy
10. Ant-Man
11. Doctor Strange
12. Captain America: First Avenger
13. Iron Man 3
14. Iron Man
15. Avengers: Age of Ultron
16. The Incredible Hulk
17. Thor
18. Spider-man: Homecoming
19. Avengers: Infinity War
20. Thor: The Dark World

That list tends to reorganize itself from time to time. Black Panther is always at the top and Thor: The Dark World is always at the bottom. Everything in between tends to move around. Sort of used a combination of factors, from my general enjoyment of the films, to how well constructed they are, to genuine film criticism. I don't think there's ultimately a genuinely bad one in the bunch, and I enjoyed all to some extent. (Enough that I revisit them from time to time.)

Posted December 30th, 2018 by Jet Presto
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Ultron better than infinity war.

can you give me 5lbs of whatever you are smoking? I would like to go into 2019 with this twisted disillusionment.

Gotg2

better than gotg1

Mandarin

I've been told that there isn't any worthwhile adaption of the mandarin to put on film
Hence we got what we saw in Iron man 3. Not a comic book reader so I'm not sure how true this is.


My hot take is that Black Panther is a pretty mediocre film. Killmonger is the only reason worth watching it.



Posted December 30th, 2018 by S.o h.
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S.o h.
 

As far as rankings go my top 5 would be

1.winter soldier
2. Infinity war
3.ragnorak
4.Ant man/ ant man 2
5. Toss up between iron man 1 and guardians of the galaxy.

I've always disliked strange and the web slinging man of wuips. Admittedly they were my favorite part of infinity war. I may give their solo films a second viewing.

Posted December 30th, 2018 by S.o h
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S.o h
 

RE: AGE OF ULTRON

The primary problems with Age of Ultron are three-fold: first, it is effectively a re-hash of the first Avengers film. (Team gets together. Team is torn apart due to internal conflict. Team saves the day by coming back together.) Second, it spends a little too much time world building and setting up future films. (I tend to think that Marvel has actually been relatively solid at integrating world-building into their films, but there are certainly times Age of Ultron is clumsy with it. See: Thor randomly running off to take a bath.) And third, it devolves into them just fighting a CGI army of baddies.

But, see, I think all of those are also true of Infinity War. The basic structure is pretty much the same, only it's got, like, three threads of the same structure. It's less "team gets together" as much as it is "pockets of the team come together." It's less "Team torn apart due to internal conflict" and more "team literally spread out across the galaxy by external forces." And it's certainly going to be resolved by the team coming together. And, by it's very nature, Infinity War is itself an incomplete film that exists almost exclusively to set up Endgame. And, of course, Infinity War culminates in a giant battle with the Avengers and the Wakandan army fighting a hoard of CGI monsters.

Basically, I think the exact same criticisms of Age of Ultron can easily be applied to Infinity War. The real benefit for Infinity War is that, because it's had 18 films previously to set the basic elements up, it doesn't need to waste too much time building. They do a lot of exposition dumps to explain Thanos, since he largely comes out of nowhere. Otherwise, the stones have mostly been explained already in previous Avengers or Thor or Guardians movies.

The benefit to Age of Ultron, though, is that it is actually a complete film. It doesn't spend much time randomly deciding it wants you to sympathize with a murderous sociopath. There are actually some nuances to Ultron that make him more interesting and somewhat entertaining than other Marvel villains (this I say comparatively: Ultron is by no means a "great villain" overall, but by Marvel standards, he's solid.) We get a couple of actual character arcs that are built around the team-up rather than seeing re-hashed arcs from the solo films (I'm not sure anyone in Infinity War gets an arc. Maybe Thor, but his arc is effectively the same one he has in every Thor film.)

I would venture to make an argument that Age of Ultron is actually a better overall film than The Avengers. Unfortunately, it can't be ignored that it exists as a sequel, so the fact that it rehashes a lot from the first film can't be ignored.



RE: THE MANDARIN

See, it's funny to think about *now* given what the MCU has become, but the biggest reason Marvel Studios was so afraid to even try to adapt the Mandarin is that they didn't think magic would really work in the universe. (An interesting concept given they have been building up to an epic event with a purple man wielding literally magic stones to become all powerful.) I think if Iron Man 3 came out after Age of Ultron, in a post-Guardians of the Galaxy world (the world where Dr. Strange exists), they probably would have done more.

I do understand not wanting to make the Mandarin magic-based. And sure, the generic middle eastern terrorist - the MCU's Osama bin Laden - isn't super interesting itself. But I still, frankly, think it would have been better to use the Mandarin to - at a minimum - use tech Tony doesn't understand. That would have made a more interesting conflict, in my opinion.


Posted December 31st, 2018 by Jet Presto
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Ooh, some interesting ones in there. I'm planning on doing a rewatch of the MCU movies before Endgame comes out, so I might have better comments on some of those once I get around to that--it's been way, way too long since I've seen Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, or even Age of Ultron to have a good response to those. I will say that I kinda disliked Age of Ultron the first time around and I think the villain being far more interesting in Infinity War is enormous in my book, so I'd be surprised if that opinion changed much...even if I'm not quite as high on Infinity War as most people seem to be.

I do agree about Guardians 2 > Guardians 1. Again, a good chunk of that is due to the villain being far more compelling, as Ego was solid while Ronan remains the most boring MCU villain to date IMO. Also agreed with Homecoming not being a top-tier Marvel film or really all that close, though I'm not as low on it as you are. I give it major points because I think Tom Holland is perfect in that role, but there are a few things that really, really bug me (I get that they didn't want to do the whole origin story again for the third time in 15 years, but Uncle Ben and the "with great power" superhero mandate are so key to that character and they are hardly factors at all in Homecoming or Peter's motivations therein. The mandate in particular is maybe THE quintessential raison d'etre for superhero activity and I hate that it got displaced in favor of Peter just wanting to join the Avengers). It's a weird thing where I've thought Spider-Man was one of the best parts of both other films in which he appeared, but his actual solo film didn't work as well for me--it feels like the Russo brothers and Markus/McFeely have a better grasp on the character IMO. Definitely can't get behind Ant-Man over Winter Soldier or the first Guardians, though, as far as Phase 2 movies go.

My biggest MCU hot take is probably that Thor: Ragnarok isn't in the upper echelon of Marvel films. I liked the movie fine, and some aspects (like Valkyrie) were great, but it relied heavily on the "undercutting of dramatic moment" style of humor which has huge diminishing returns for me. The first two or three times, it was great, but by the end I just found myself rolling my eyes every time something dramatic was happening because I knew it was being set up for a similar style of joke the film had already used a half-dozen times or more before. I guess another hot take would be that the Runaways, which I just watched through for the first time, just isn't a very good TV show. I was surprised to find out that it has gotten pretty good reviews because I found aspects of it so infuriating.

Edited January 1st by white lancer
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My rough ranking would be somewhat similar to this, though I expect some changes will happen when I rewatch:

Top Tier

1. Black Panther
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Iron Man
4. Captain America: Civil War
5. The Avengers
6. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
7. Guardians of the Galaxy

Mid-Tier (AKA the quality you'd typically expect from a Marvel film--solid, but not amazing)

8. Avengers: Infinity War
9. Captain America: The First Avenger
10. Ant Man and the Wasp
11. Thor: Ragnarok
12. Spider-Man: Homecoming
13. Doctor Strange
14. Iron Man 2
15. Thor
16. Ant-Man

Bottom Tier (AKA mediocre movies)

17. Iron Man 3
18. Avengers: Age of Ultron
19. The Incredible Hulk
20. Thor: The Dark World

Edited January 3rd by white lancer
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I will say that I kinda disliked Age of Ultron the first time around and I think the villain being far more interesting in Infinity War is enormous in my book


I can understand that. Age of Ultron felt very re-tread-y at the time. It's also a little unfortunate because I actually think the idea of Ultron is a lot more interesting than Thanos. The difference in films is that Thanos gets substantially more to do, given he is arguably the protagonist. I don't personally find Thanos that interesting. The idea behind Ultron deciding what "saving the world" means - while not an uncommon concept in stories involving AI - was more intriguing than sociopathic moron with bad planning skills who happens to be pretty powerful on his own and is made near invincible with magic stones. At the same time, Thanos clearly gets more actual story. So, in execution, Thanos gets more exploration and thus I see why people find him more interesting. (I personally had problems with how hard the filmmakers tried to get me to empathize with him and justify his actions, and I kinda have a problem with that, but that's separate from this point.)


I do agree about Guardians 2 > Guardians 1. Again, a good chunk of that is due to the villain being far more compelling, as Ego was solid while Ronan remains the most boring MCU villain to date IMO.


Well. I think you can definitely be forgiven for forgetting about Malekith from Thor: The Dark World. But yes, Ronan was definitely boring. Ego wasn't great in his own right, but he was solid. I think the thing that Marvel has been really spotty on is how they make their villains connect. Ego is not just a more interesting villain in general, but he actually connects to Star-Lord. What connection does Ronan have to any one of the Guardians? He doesn't really have one. He's sort of just the Big Bad that the film pushes as a reason for the team to get together to stop, but they have no real personal stakes in it. (This is also one of my problems with Thanos as a villain and why I don't personally think he's that interesting.

I like Guardians Vol 2 a lot more because it is so much more of a character-driven film. And I think that makes it a stronger film. Each character gets their own stories that push their characters as individual, but in a way that also builds the team. The first film was effectively just a team-up film that shows the "power of friendship" or whatever. (Don't mean that to imply it's bad. Just saying why I find it more compelling than Vol 1.)

I give it major points because I think Tom Holland is perfect in that role


Oh, there's no question that Tom Holland is the best live action Spider-man. He really nails the character in the most complete way.

I agree about the responsibility thing, although yeah, can hardly blame them for not wanting to get overly bogged down. I think it's great that they kind of wanted to just...go. But it felt like they missed a few key ingredients. I didn't ever buy that this Peter Parker was a down-on-his-luck nerdy kid. I mean, he's nerdy, but not in a way that would make him the subject of ridicule or social outcast status.

Posted January 2nd by Jet Presto
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Oh, there's no question that Tom Holland is the best live action Spider-man. He really nails the character in the most complete way.



Posted January 2nd by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 

I might as well throw my personal ranking there...

Top Tier:

Captain America: The First Avenger
Thor Ragnarok
Captain America: Civil War
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Ant-Man
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers
Black Panther

Mid Tier:

Dr. Strange
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Spider-Man Homecoming
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Iron Man
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thor

Bottom Tier:

Thor: The Dark World
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2

Haven't seen tier:

Iron Man 3

While I did like Black Panther I dunno about it being the best one of all of them. I tend to go back and forth on some but The First Avenger still holds a good place in my heart.

Posted January 2nd by Fox Forever
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@white lancer

10. Thor: Ragnarok
12. Thor: Ragnarok


Since there's only two iron man films in your list I'm going to guess one of these was iron Man 3

Posted January 2nd by Moonray
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Since there's only two iron man films in your list I'm going to guess one of these was iron Man 3

Nah he just really enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok. Not enough for it to be a top tier movie, but enough to push out Iron Man 3 in the mid tier category.

I respect his choice.

Posted January 2nd by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 



Yeah, Malekith and Ronan are basically the same guy--just your classic generic doomsday bad guy whose motivations pretty much amount just to being evil. I had hopes that a bad guy with the badass title of "The Accuser" had an actual interesting backstory, but bleh. Ego was pretty much a doomsday guy, but the added personal connection and the impact he had on Quill puts him head-and-shoulders above most MCU movie villains, in the top 10 basically by default.



I would actually agree that the idea of Ultron was better, but I thought the execution was much worse. Going into Infinity War, I wasn't especially interested in Thanos as a bad guy because I thought he'd be just another of those doomsday villains, but they managed to give him more layers than that. It probably helped that there was an actual actor that could convey actual expressions, but I enjoyed Thanos because of the gravitas with which he went about his business. He wasn't exulting about his power or beating his enemies, he wasn't having fun or enjoying himself, and he wasn't simply evil for evil's sake. I enjoyed the way that he seemed to hate what he was doing even though he thought it was the only way, and that he carried on even though he knew he'd be vilified for it and even though it was going to cost him personally. I never felt empathy for him or that his actions were justified--to the contrary, he seemed clearly insane to me, but in a more understated way rather than the over-the-top madness that I usually see. That's what I found interesting to him, personally...and he did have a personal connection with Gamora and Nebula, and to a lesser extent Drax. Though I will say that Gamora was dead-on to call him out on his professed "love" for her, and it was bullcrap that the Soul Stone bought it as legitimate.



Just noticed this one. Shuri and Okoye would like a word with you. And Nakia, Ramonda, M'Baku, Klaue...poor T'Challa might have been outshined by his supporting cast in that movie (after being one of the highlights of Civil War), but it's only because that supporting cast sans W'Kabi was excellent.



Oh, yeah. Originally had Ragnarok at #10 before I realized I wanted to put Ant-Man and the Wasp ahead of it, so I accidentally put it in twice (and forgot about Iron Man 3). I'd put Ragnarok at #11 and Iron Man 3 at #17.

Edited January 3rd by white lancer
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I never felt empathy for him or that his actions were justified


That's good, but it seemed pretty obvious - even without hearing the filmmakers talk about it in the blu-ray extras - that they were trying to get audiences to sympathize with him. In many ways, Thanos's goal and motivation is literally the same as Ultron's, just that he got more time on screen to be comparatively fleshed out. You're right that having an actor with a face helped. That alone makes the execution better.


I would be curious what a Top 10 villains list even looks like in Marvel. I suppose we'd count Loki, but Loki in Avengers is meh. Loki in Thor 2, Thor 3, and Infinity War is barely - if at all - a villain.

Posted January 4th by Jet Presto
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Top 10 villains list even looks like in Marvel. I suppose we'd count Loki, but Loki in Avengers is meh.

I can be reaching as I saw Thor 1 a long time go. Doesnt loki become a stronger villain if you watch Thor 1 and then the Avengers? I mean his motivations are heavily laid out in Thor 1 if I remember correctly.

Marvel recently came out and said he was being influenced by the mind stone so he may not even be a villain. More of an anti hero?

Posted January 4th by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 

I felt they were trying to get me to understand him, but in my mind understanding isn't exactly the same as sympathizing or empathizing. Understanding his motivations for doing what he was doing was good, but it didn't change the fact that trying to eliminate half of the life in the universe is downright insane. Feels like splitting hairs at that point, though.

As far as a top 10 villains list for Marvel...it's tricky, because after obvious few it's not so good. Something like this, maybe?

1. Loki
2. Killmonger
(gap)
3. Vulture
4. Winter Soldier
4. Thanos
5. Ava Starr
6. Ego
7. Helmut Zemo
(gap)
8. Hela
9. Pierce
10. ...Stane, maybe?

After the first 7 or so it becomes really difficult. Hela is another generic doomsday villain--even her "personal connection" to Thor doesn't really change anything in that film (really wish she could have had a confrontation with Odin)--but at least she was fun. There are some tricky choices like the inclusion of Loki, Bucky, and Ava, given their varying levels of antagonism. Do we include minor villains? I quite enjoyed Klaue, and Nebula deserves consideration (though she's both minor as a villain and has the same issue Loki does). The Maximoff twins, if they count, were my favorite part of Age of Ultron (particularly Wanda). Even Ebony Maw was kinda cool, but super limited. If we included the TV shows, it becomes easier--Wilson Fisk tops the list for me, and Kilgrave, Cottonmouth, Gao, Mariah, Mary, Bullseye, Jigsaw, Dottie, Whitney Frost, Aida, Garrett, Ward, and Raina all become contenders. Easier to develop villains with the extra time TV provides, though they still have some stinkers, of course.

Edited January 5th by white lancer
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I know this thread is old buuuut fuck it

1. The Incredible Hulk is not the worst Marvel movie. (Thor: The Dark World is.)


That's blasphemy!

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is solid, but it's hardly as deep or great as everyone likes to make it seem. It's a thematic mess by the time it gets to the end.


Agreed. I honestly don't even remember this movie, other than it had something to do with Bucky.

3. Spider-man: Homecoming is not very good, but it's middle of the pack of Spider-man movies. (I rank them: 1. Spider-verse. 2. Spider-man 2. 3. Spider-man. 4. Homecoming. 5. Amazing Spider-man. 6. Spider-man 3. 7. Amazing Spider-man 2.)


I thought homecoming was a solid movie in its own right. It definitely doesn't live up to previous spiderman movies though.

4. Iron Man 2 / Iron Man 3


The more I rewatch the iron man movies, the more I agree with you. Iron man 3 showed a lot more character development for tony, but the more I rewatch it the more shallow that appears. Also all the stuff with that random kid was bad; maybe refreshing the first time you watch it but those scenes were really poorly done overall.

Meanwhile, iron man 2 didn't particularly impress me the first time I saw it but over time its themes stick in your mind a lot longer. The whole "pandora's box" theme also really paves the way for later avengers movies.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a better overall film than Vol 1.


I can't really compare the two movies -- while they have obviously the same characters and set pieces, they're two completely different movies. One thing I will say -- guardians of the galaxy really did the sequel thing right. It feels like more of a standalone thing than a continuation.

7. Ant-Man is the best Phase II movie.


Ant man is my top #1 or #2 marvel movie in general so no arguments there.

8. Age of Ultron is better than Infinity War.


Age of ultron was the worst avengers movie imo.


Posted January 30th by Xhin
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Xhin
Sky's the limit

I totally understand Ultron being viewed as the worst. I just had a number of problems with Infinity War that make me legitimately disdain it. The action is great. The character interactions are great. But I *hate* a lot of its messaging. I found it a little problematic with how the *film* presents Thanos. And I just don't really know how to even describe it because it's barely a movie. Like, there's no true protagonist. There aren't many discernible character arcs. It was designed to not have a conclusion. It's act structure is odd, too.

It's an episodic movie, from the ground up. Which is fine for a cross-over. (That's how it is in comics events too, after all.) It just was a miserable slog of a film for me that left me pissed for a number of reasons (and that's not even with the cheap gimmick at the end.) So I sort of give Ultron the edge by default. But, it is basically just a rehash.

Posted January 30th by Jet Presto
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I totally understand Ultron being viewed as the worst.


Ultron isn't a bad movie by any means, it just isn't on par with the other avengers movies imo. Each of those added something new and unique to the franchise (which makes sense given that they're the culmination of various MCU phases). Ultron didn't add anything new, it just felt like an avengers sequel almost.

And I just don't really know how to even describe it because it's barely a movie. Like, there's no true protagonist.


Oddly enough, the more I rewatch it the more I'm convinced that Thanos is the protagonist. The story just isn't told fully from his perspective.

There aren't many discernible character arcs.


There are a lot of character arcs that sort of reinforce the same theme of "don't sacrifice one to save many". Instead of resolving, they all end spectacularly in failure -- this is something I really like about the movie. It's an anti-movie.




Posted January 30th by Xhin
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Xhin
Sky's the limit

I think Thanos is the closest thing that there is to a protagonist in the film. I haven't timed it out, but he and Tony Stark probably get the most screen time and it's probably pretty equal. I'm just not sure anyone gets enough actual screen time or attention to really be a true protagonist. Which isn't always a bad thing, to be sure. I mean, The Lord of the Rings has two central protagonists in Frodo and Aragorn. The Breakfast Club is an ensemble cast that doesn't have one true central protagonist. Et cetera, et cetera. I just personally think that the lack of some of those other things in addition make the lack of a real central protagonist stand out.

Alternatively, when I do fall into the "Yeah, totally, Thanos is the protagonist," it makes me even more upset with the film because I think there are some pretty shitty messaging in a film that puts its villain as the protagonist and then wants us to sympathize with a sociopathic murderer.

Posted January 30th by Jet Presto
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People already did a breakdown for screentime, but here it is for you rounded to the nearest quarter minute:

Thanos - 29 Minutes

Gamora - 19:30 Minutes

Tony Stark / Iron Man - 18 Minutes

Thor - 14:30 Minutes

Dr. Stephen Strange - 11:30 Minutes

Peter Quill / Star-Lord - 10:15 Minutes

Vision - 9:45 Minutes

Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch - 9 Minutes

Dr. Bruce Banner / The Hulk - 8:45 Minutes

Peter Parker / Spider-Man - 7:30 Minutes

Steve Rogers - 6:45 Minutes

Rocket - 6 Minutes

Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow - 5 Minutes

Drax - 4:45 Minutes

Mantis - 4:45 Minutes

Ebony Maw - 4 Minutes

Proxima Midnight - 3:45 Minutes

Cull Obsidian - 3:45 Minutes

Corvus Glaive - 3:30 Minutes

King T'Challa / Black Panther - 3:30 minutes

Groot - 3:15 Minutes

Nebula - 3:15 Minutes

Okoye - 3:15 Minutes

Loki - 3:15 Minutes

Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine - 3 Minutes

Eitri - 2:45 Minutes

Wong - 2:45 Minutes

Sam Wilson / Falcon - 2:15 Minutes

James "Bucky" Barnes / White Wolf - 2 minutes

Pepper Potts - 1:30 Minutes

The Stonekeeper - 1:30 Minutes

Princess Shuri - 1 Minutes

M'Baku - 1 minute

Secretary Thaddeus Ross - 1 Minute

Nick Fury - 1 Minute

Maria Hill - 45 Seconds

Heimdall - 45 Seconds

Taneleer Tivan / The Collector - 45 Seconds

Ned Leeds - 15 Seconds

Hawkeye/Ant-Man - 0 Minutes


Posted January 30th by Fox Forever
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Infinity War is easily one of Marvel's best, though I can confess to having not seen many of them yet (including the acclaimed Black Panther, Winter Soldier, etc.). I might even like it more than Iron Man. I've always thought that Iron Man would have been the best superhero movie ever if they'd taken the cave portion and made that the entire film, with tin man Iron Man blowing up terrorists and escaping being the climax. The rest of the movie is just not as interesting.

You know what would make Infinity War the best super hero movie? No Infinity War part two. No reset button. Ten years of carefully putting a universe together and it ends with Thanos getting his sunrise, because he was always more powerful than all of them put together from the start. Perhaps that's against the spirit of what comic books are even about; I wouldn't really know. But I can guarantee that you'd have people talking about that movie for years to come. Instead, we'll find a way to undo what happened in the first half and get a second half that is weaker for it. The knowledge that this outcome is predestined (and invariably the result of Dr. Strange's gambit to somehow save them all) steals so much of the power that part one would have otherwise had.



This come from The Best of Both Worlds, the season three cliffhanger for Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is, and will always remain, the highlight of the entire Trek brand. Here we have the crew of the Enterprise coming to terms with the fact that the Borg have arrived. The Borg represent everything that the Federation, and by extension Gene Roddenberry's idealized future, is not. They're more powerful than the Enterprise several times over, and we see the evidence of this as they pass through the scattered remains of an entire Federation fleet. When they encounter the Borg Cube they try to run, but the Borg are faster. Then they try to fight it, but their weapons are ineffective. Then the Borg board the ship and capture Captain Jean Luc Picard. This brings us to the cliffhanger, which has Commander Riker ordering Lieutenant Worf to fire their last ditch super weapon upon the Borg Cube, as a now transformed Jean Luc Picard informs the Enterprise crew of how they will be assimilated into the collective. What makes this all work is the setup. The episode spends an impressive amount of time establishing Riker's offer of a promotion to captain his own ship, and how this conflicts with his desire to remain with the Enterprise. It pits him against Commander Shelby, a guest character that the episode seems to suggest might be a permanent addition. With Captain Picard having become Locutus of Borg, and perhaps on the verge of annihilation from the Enterprise's secret weapon, all signs point to him having been written out of the show and Riker captaining the crew from then on (with an ambitious and slightly insubordinate first officer to lock horns with). Viewers had no way of knowing how this conflict was going to end. The stakes weren't merely a manufacture of our suspension of disbelief. Would the Enterprise prevail, and would Captain Picard have to die in order for them to do so? Tune in next season to find out!

...Then the second half resolves with Picard surviving, the Cube destroyed, and Commander Shelby having been a clever red herring the entire time. It was necessarily a disappointing conclusion, but thanks to the circumstances of the time (1990s, no internet, and the vagaries of episodic television) that cliffhanger is still powerful, or at least it is for those of us that were there. Perhaps if I was a kid, as I was when TNG was on the air, I would be able to believe that there were real stakes with Infinity War. In this way I find myself forgiving of the main conceit at work here.



And I still think that this is a gutsy thing for a corporate behemoth like the Marvel Universe to do. There are safer avenues for storytelling than having the bad guy win, reset button or no.

Edited January 30th by Famov
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You know what would make Infinity War the best super hero movie? No Infinity War part two. No reset button. Ten years of carefully putting a universe together and it ends with Thanos getting his sunrise, because he was always more powerful than all of them put together from the start. Perhaps that's against the spirit of what comic books are even about; I wouldn't really know.


To some extent, I agree. This is sort of one of my issues with any "cinematic universe" thing. In the comics, we'd go at least one full year, if not longer, with a Marvel universe where we constantly see the aftermath of Infinity War. We would get stories of Wakanda without Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy being rebuilt by Rocket, and Captain America dealing with losing Bucky right after finally saving him, et cetera, et cetera. But with comics, each character has their own monthly book (and some even have multiples). Because of that, even if they undid everything in Infinity War, we would still have a whole year's worth of stories that show us this universe. But in cinema, we don't get that. Captain America gives up his shield, but we don't really get any movies that actually show us a universe without Captain America. Asgard gets destroyed? We don't get to see what such a universe without it looks like, or really a Thor without it. And, with Infinity War, we will literally not see another movie taking place in the present between Part I and Part II. This has always been, to me, the one thing Marvel keeps doing because it works in the comics that *doesn't* work in cinema.

I think that is what makes it different for something like The Next Generation, too. Yeah, it was a different era without the internet and widespread popularity of episodic storytelling (not that it wasn't popular then, too; just that it wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now), but it was also a television show. You got weekly episodes. It's sort of the same thing as getting monthly issues of a comic book. By not having a production time in which you are literally waiting years to see your favorite character pop up again, you have the possibility to do stuff like that. We all know the Avengers will figure out a way to save the day, and they should! For several reasons. But for all the talk of building the "universe," we just don't really get to see the "universe" in any real way when it's just two or three disjointed solo films a year.

Posted January 30th by Jet Presto
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You know what would make Infinity War the best super hero movie? No Infinity War part two. No reset button.

I agree. But in order for that to work correctly. (Since the original teams contracts are up) the newbies would have to take the mantle. Unless RDJ and co would reup their contracts.

Posted January 30th by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 

Black Panther is overrated and spider-verse nuts suffer from recency bias. Not saying either movie is bad, just that neither of them would top my lists anywhere. Tobey's first two movies will always be what I think of when I think of Spider-Man. Black Panther leans heavily on a trend where it's popular to just blame caucasion males for all your problems. And since Jet is an ultra left wing politically correct, empty of any original thoughts kinda guy it really doesn't surprise me that his favorite two movies are one where whitey gets hate, and another one where Peter Parker suddenly isn't white for whatever reason. Because Peter Parker is such a black sounding name. Let me guess Jet, you also like Anna Diop's Star Fire even though she is nothing even moderately close to the cartoon character in acting or in looks.

Jet just low key hates all white people and gets off whenever they get thrown under the bus in popular media.

Posted January 31st by I killed Mufasa
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I killed Mufasa
long live the king

I've always thought that Iron Man would have been the best superhero movie ever if they'd taken the cave portion and made that the entire film, with tin man Iron Man blowing up terrorists and escaping being the climax. The rest of the movie is just not as interesting.


Yeah, I've noticed with the MCU that often the origin stories are way more interesting and compelling than the rest of the film. Captain America is a great example of this -- the origin story is absolutely fantastic but then he turns into this indestructible always-do-right character and becomes absolutely insufferable in later MCU movies.

Instead, we'll find a way to undo what happened in the first half and get a second half that is weaker for it.


Well if the second half has major permanent deaths as is being hinted, you might be wrong about that.

Perhaps if I was a kid, as I was when TNG was on the air, I would be able to believe that there were real stakes with Infinity War. In this way I find myself forgiving of the main conceit at work here.


Being older does suck. That said though, while we know the snap is going to be reversed (the new spiderman movie is a big one), there are still definitely some stakes at work when Thanos has already overcome literally every obstacle thrown in his way up to this point and has actually killed Loki, Gamora and almost Iron man with his bare hands. Defeating a villain like that is going to be crazy hard.

Posted February 15th by Xhin
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Xhin
Sky's the limit

@I Killed Mufasa: Heads up, since I'm just seeing this now - more posts like these in the future are going to get tagged for trolling. If you want to talk about the movies, that's fine. If you have criticisms of me or my takes, that is also fine. But those types of attacking posts that add nothing to the conversation and are only there to feature your rage will be considered trolling.



Posted February 15th by Jet Presto
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(the new spiderman movie is a big one)

I really hope Jet is right and it takes place a little bit before Infinity War.

Posted February 15th by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 

Yeah, I've noticed with the MCU that often the origin stories are way more interesting and compelling than the rest of the film. Captain America is a great example of this -- the origin story is absolutely fantastic but then he turns into this indestructible always-do-right character and becomes absolutely insufferable in later MCU movies.



Oh, interesting! I haven't heard too many people have this take on Captain America films. I personally feel the opposite. I found his origin story kinda...whatever... (I mean, it's a literal cliche power fantasy). I kind of appreciated the more complex elements of putting that character in more complex, modern circumstances. Nothing has ultimately changed about the character. He gets the power to be indestructible because he was already the always-do-right character. It's less about him changing as much as it is about him reacting to the times. Like, for being the "always-do-right" guy who was used at first as a tool of the government, he goes against orders and authority in Avengers, The Winter Soldier, and is literally an outlaw by the end of Civil War. I mean, in Civil War, his stubbornness towards his moral code - long thought of as a strength or positive quality - is a big part of why the team breaks up. And even though we are meant to understand that Cap was "right" in terms of seeing the larger threat, the finale is built upon his lack of communicating with one friend (Tony) to protect his other (Bucky).

I dunno. I think the thing I always like about Cap is seeing this sort of simplistic character have to make decisions about his moral code as applied today. Like his arc in Avengers is pretty great in that he is a soldier and feels obligated to follow orders, but Tony and Bruce were able to make him think and caused him to become suspicious of the authority whose orders he was following. I always liked that juxtaposition of wanting to do right thing, but also still believing in something resembling structure and order. Made him kind of an interesting character to me, at least.

(I also am pretty much squarely on team Cap. I always found Tony Stark insufferable, which he's supposed to be, but I never got to the point where he was also "lovable" also.)



Posted February 15th by Jet Presto
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I really hope Jet is right and it takes place a little bit before Infinity War.


Yeah, I was thinking that Marvel movies haven't exactly been released linearly (Captain America was the 4th movie and took place in the '40s, Captain Marvel is next and takes place in the '90s, for example). And even Homecoming doesn't quite...make sense in the timeline (since it starts with "Eight Years Later" from the events of Civil War, which would mean it takes place a few years from now). So it still very much could!

But, it kinda sounds like it will take place after Infinity War. I'm mostly just hoping that the reality is that they just don't really connect to anything. One thing I worry about with continuity-based filmmaking is that everything has to "make sense" in a timeline when that is often unnecessary. Far From Home could just take place on its own, where it *could* be before Infinity War, or it could be after, but it doesn't matter because it's a story focused on Spider-Man with an appearance from Nick Fury. Not everything has to fit into a larger timeline.



Posted February 15th by Jet Presto
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(I also am pretty much squarely on team Cap. I always found Tony Stark insufferable, which he's supposed to be, but I never got to the point where he was also "lovable" also.)


I wouldn't say tony stark is "lovable" necessarily, but he's a much more complex and interesting character who goes through a number of different character arcs. Captain America, meanwhile, is just variations on the same thing over and over -- you don't feel like the character is actually changing, just maybe adapting to environments or situations better. Up until Thor: Ragnorak I thought the same thing about Thor, but that movie totally destroyed all my expectations.



Posted February 16th by Xhin
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Xhin
Sky's the limit

but it doesn't matter because it's a story focused on Spider-Man with an appearance from Nick Fury. Not everything has to fit into a larger timeline.


Hopefully they won't go the star wars route and cram in references that break the continuity or explain things that never needed to be explained (looking at you, kessel run).

Posted February 16th by Xhin
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Xhin
Sky's the limit

I wouldn't say tony stark is "lovable" necessarily, but he's a much more complex and interesting character


I'm not sure I'd argue that Tony is all that much more complex of a character.

Captain America, meanwhile, is just variations on the same thing over and over


But see, I think that kind of opens up the path to more interesting films. Look, tales of the Captain America movies being deep or whatever are overstated, but they do have a lot more thematic questions they ask than any other Marvel movie, including Iron Man. And I think one reason they are able to throw in more thematic weight in them is that Cap is a relatively solid dude, so they can build around that and think more about situations rather than character.



Posted February 16th by Jet Presto
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I'm not sure I'd argue that Tony is all that much more complex of a character.


Compared to captain america, he absolutely is. The guy went from pure ego to "maybe I should try to make the world better instead of worse" to "yeah all right I'll sacrifice myself to save the world but get night terrors over it" to "I know this is a one-way trip but I don't care anymore", with some other things thrown in like the whole ultron plot where he's trying to save the world by himself or the civil war plot where he's trying to be lawful good. Tony's all over the place, not quite as much as Loki, but still, that's a character with some depth.

Captain America meanwhile just permanently stays chaotic good. He's a rock. Nothing wrong with that, but it does make his movies less compelling narratives.

but they do have a lot more thematic questions they ask than any other Marvel movie, including Iron Man


Civil War is basically an avenger's movie (or maybe an anti-avenger's movie) so while its themes are good, I don't really consider it a captain americ movie. Beyond that, I haven't rewatched the actual captain america movies yet (they're next on the list) but none of their themes really stood out to me. Even Hulk, which is probably the most maligned MCU film, had powerful memorable themes.


Edited February 16th by Xhin
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Xhin
Sky's the limit

Yeah just seeing your response now. What I said was perhaps a bit harsh, but if I remember you were pretty brutal with me in a couple threads too. Still love ya Jet.

Edited February 26th by I killed Mufasa
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I killed Mufasa
long live the king
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