Review Marvel SHARED UNIVERSE

Discussion in 'Marvel Universe' started by Doctor Omega, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Fincher Talks Avoiding The Marvel Universe


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    While some filmmakers have embraced the Marvel Cinematic Universe, others have zero desire to be a part of it and in fact have no interest in either the Marvel Studios formula or comic book adaptations.

    One such filmmaker is David Fincher who, out promoting his new Netflix series “Mindhunter,” took aim at Marvel Studios for being in part responsible for the state of conglomerate-ruled Hollywood at the moment. In fact he’s far more excited about the possibilities of something like Netflix where he’s not bogged down to either familiar formula, or having to accomodate someone else’s vision. He tells Yellow King Film Boy:

    “Look, there’s a very large talent pool of people who don’t feel there’s much for them in terms of sustenance working for Marvel. And I think that if we can make a playground for them that is thoughtful, adult, interesting, complex, challenging stories and figure out ways to pull them into it, there’s a chance at something that isn’t lassoed and hogtied by three acts. And there’s something else that doesn’t have to be 22-minute half hour or have a cliffhanger. I think it is an exciting time.”

    The interview goes into how he thinks the great films of the 1970s, in that period where studios just let filmmakers run wild, are impossible to make at vertically integrated movie studios now and how streaming services should be embraced for the freedom they allow filmmakers to tell their stories. Click on the link above to have a listen.
     
  2. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Feige Talks Criticism Of Marvel’s Similarity


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    Marvel Studios has worked out a formula that’s both popular and well regarded, and they’re sticking to it. Nearly twenty films in since they began their run with “Iron Man” in 2008, you know what you’re getting when you buy a movie ticket to a film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    Yes the movies do take a few minor risks, effectively changing an ingredient or two in the recipe at times resulting in some playful if somewhat slight tonal shifts. But they stick to a structurally sound plan which puts mass audience appeal and satisfying their fan base front and center.

    You can’t argue against their financial success or their decision to appeal to their base, but their artistic success can be debated and the criticisms leveled against their films have taken on some commonalities over the years. Weak & underwritten villains, forgettable scores, a uniform visual aesthetic and homogenous story beats, etc. you could well argue there’s enough similarities to make the movies somewhat interchangeable.

    Even when they try an actual narratively daring decision, such as was done with The Mandarin reveal in “Iron Man 3,” they were effectively crucified by their base for stepping out of line. Speaking with Uproxx this week, Marvel’s Kevin Feige reflected on those criticisms and puts it down to the fact that by being a part of a linked universe, people are automatically putting the focus on the similarities:

    “I think it’s just the way we make the movies. I think all the movies are relatively different. I think there’s a narrative that people like to write about because they’re all produced by the same team and they all inhabit the same fictional cinematic universe. That we look for common similarities.

    And I’m not saying there aren’t common similarities throughout it, but I think ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ are two totally different types of movies. They’re both fun. People both enjoy them. Is that a similarity? If so, I’ll take it.

    If that’s a criticism, I’ll take that, too. But really, yeah, ‘Homecoming,’ ‘Ragnarok,’ ‘[Black] Panther,’ into ‘[Avengers:] Infinity War,’ ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ after that. And a ’90s-set ‘Captain Marvel’ after that; these are six very different movies. If what they have in common is they’re all really enjoyable and fun to watch, then I’ll take it.”

    Feige certainly has no reason to change his approach thanks to mostly high review aggregate scores and stellar box-office with a film series that, unlike so many others this year, isn’t showing signs of audience fatigue at this point.

    “Thor: Ragnarok,” which really is one of the most different of the Marvel films, opens in cinemas on November 3rd.
     
  3. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Don’t Expect Marvel Phase 4 Talk Until 2019


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    If you’re keenly awaiting news before the year’s out on Marvel’s Phase 4 plans, you’re out of luck. In fact, Marvel’s Kevin Feige has indicated that the company is so focused on ending its third phase with the fourth “Avengers” film in May 2019 that they won’t make any announcements about their plans beyond it before that is released.

    Speaking with Collider, Feige was asked when we could expect to hear something on the Phase 4 films to which he said: “It won’t be for a while. Our focus is on the next six movies. Finishing the first three phases, getting Untitled Avengers out into the world in May ’19 before publicly focusing on anything else.”

    Marvel Studios is currently in production on the fourth “Avengers” which will mark the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe up until this point. That is confirmed to be followed by a “Spider-Man: Homecoming” sequel in July 2019, and the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” in early 2020.

    Nothing else beyond that has been confirmed and Marvel has made a concerted effort to prevent spoilers from getting out in recent months, including the title for the fourth “Avengers” film which is apparently a spoiler in itself and won’t be revealed until after “Avengers: Infinity War” is released.

    The comments come as actors are beginning to wrap up work on the fourth “Avengers”. Spider-Man star Tom Holland confirmed in a video on Reddit that while he got through his filming on “Avengers” unscathed, he’s now broken his nose for a second time filming the new sci-fi feature “Chaos Walking”.

    Sebastian Stan, who plays the Winter Soldier, also recently explained at Rhode Island Comic Con that the shooting schedule for the film was a challenging one with scenes being shot months apart at times:

    “It’s not something you always deal with. I feel like you always kind of have a script. But I guess, what I would say is, because we’ve done these characters for a bit now, there’s a little bit of a telepathic kind of knowledge between us and the writers. And you kind of can sometimes guess where they’re going to take it, a little bit. For example, this one was really hard, because we keep going in and out. I go back there for a week, and then I leave for a month. And then I go back there for a few more days. So it’s a little bit out of sync. But it still hopefully adds up in the end.”
     
  4. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Richard Armitage Is Wolverine… In A Podcast


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    “The Hobbit” and “Spooks” alum Richard Armitage has been cast as Wolverine – if only in voice form.

    Marvel has announced they’re partnering with Stitcher Audio to produce the scripted podcast “Wolverine: The Long Night” which writer Ben Percy describes as a blend of programs such as “Serial,” “S-Town,” “True Detective” and “Unforgiven”.

    The story follows two special agents investigating a series of gruesome murders taking place in Burns, a fictional Alaskan town. An amnesiac Wolverine (Armitage) is the agents’ top suspect for the killings, but as they begin to dig into the town’s mysteries they soon learn that all isn’t necessarily as it seems.

    The show will boast an investigative format, which makes listeners complicit in the narrative along with elements of comic book themes, Native legends and cultish mythology. Armitage has reportedly already done some work on the project.
     
  5. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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  6. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Marvel’s Feige: “Develop Films THEN Universes”


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    In recent years, the buzzword has been ‘cinematic universe’ with studios racing to establish and build out massive multi-film franchises even before a first film has been released.

    All are trying to emulate the success that Marvel Studios has had with its now well established Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they’re also trying to get to the same level of success faster. The trouble is, almost all have fallen flat on their face.

    Universal’s Dark Universe effectively collapsed after its “The Mummy” reboot fizzled. The fifth “Transformers” tried to establish one and ended up earning significantly less than its predecessors. Sony’s “The Dark Tower” adaptation bombed on impact and the studio is currently trying again with Spider-Man after their previous attempt with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was bad enough the whole franchise had to be reset.

    Then there’s the DC Extended Universe which has been commercially solid but a critical misfire other than “Wonder Woman” and to a lesser extent “Man of Steel,” and that’s mostly because those were the most standalone films of the series. With the exception of Warners’ mini-“Conjuring” series which has had robust success, almost all recent attempts at instant interconnected franchise building have been disappointments.

    Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, in a new interview with Vanity Fair, has offered a common sense answer as to why others are failing at it:

    “The only advice, and I’ve sort of said this already today, is don’t worry about the universe. Worry about the movie. We never set out to build a universe. We set out to make a great Iron Man movie, a Hulk movie, a Thor movie, a movie, and then be able to do what, at the time, nobody else was doing: put them together.

    Bring that experience that hardcore comic readers have had for decades of Spider-Man swinging into the Fantastic Four headquarters, or for Hulk to suddenly come rampaging through the pages of an Iron Man comic. We thought it would be fun for filmgoers to get that same – on a much bigger canvas – rush, because there is something just inherently great about that: seeing characters’ worlds collide with one another.

    That’s what is so amazing every day on the set of ‘Infinity War.’ These characters have no business being in the same room together. It’s ridiculous. Everyone within Marvel Studios just knows the individual movie trumps the overall picture.

    If there’s a better idea for a movie – if we were going to plant a seed in this movie that was going to be awesome and pay off three movies later, but that seed is not working and that seed is screwing up the movie, goodbye. We’ll do something else later. Make that movie work.

    The notion of sitting down going, ‘Let’s build a cinematic universe,’ might be a little off. ‘Let’s sit down and make a great movie and if people are interested in that, there are ways and ideas to tie them together going forward.'”

    Marvel’s next film out of the gate is “Black Panther” which is slated to hit cinemas on February 16th.
     
  7. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Blimey! A person in Hollywood with intelligence and common sense!

    What's the world coming to? :emoji_confused:
     
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  8. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Disney Chief On “Deadpool” & R-Rated Films


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    In the wake of this morning’s official announcement about The Walt Disney Company acquiring the assets of 20th Century Fox, there has been many questions regarding all the details of what that will entail.

    One of the most common questions however is what the acquisition means for the future of adult-oriented movies from the studio. Disney previously released adult-targeted films through its Touchstone Pictures, Buena Vista and various other labels, but ditched that several years ago in favor of pursuing only four-quadrant family friendly tentpole blockbusters. Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” was the last R-rated film from the studio when it was released back in 2006.

    20th Century Fox on the other hand, though offering some family titles, mainly focuses on blockbusters and adult fare including plenty of R-rated films such as the “Deadpool,” “Alien” and “Predator” franchises. Speaking in the wake of the announcement today, Disney CEO Bob Iger says there may be potential for R-rated films to continue at Disney and specifically brought up “Deadpool”:

    “It (Deadpool) clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool, as long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”

    “Deadpool 2” is currently set for release on June 1st 2018 and there’s not expected to be any change there, but further projects in the works like “Deadpool 3” and “X-Force” are uncertain at this point.
     
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  9. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Marvel Chief Teases Thanos’ Dark Actions



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    First teased five years ago in “The Avengers,” Marvel Studios has been building up the threat of Thanos across multiple films now – so much so that one wonders if Josh Brolin’s mo-cap character can live up to the hype.

    Speaking at Comic-Con Experience in Brazil recently, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige says that the purple-skinned character will shock audiences right from the start of “Avengers: Infinity War” by committing a heinous act of some kind:

    “You know, we’ve been teasing Thanos since the very first Avengers film. Remember the end of Avengers, the very end of the movie he turns around in the chair and you realize something bad is coming. We’ve been teasing him for years and the trick is when you tease something for that long you have to deliver. So, within the first five minutes of Infinity War people will understand why Thanos is the biggest and baddest villain in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

    “Avengers: Infinity War” and the upcoming fourth “Avengers” film will serve the climax of ten years of buildup across nearly twenty films. It opens in cinemas in May.
     
  10. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Rotten Tomatoes Denounces “Panther” Haters


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    An online user going by the name of ‘Down with Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys’ has vowed to deliberately deflate and taint the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for the upcoming Marvel Studios release “Black Panther”.

    This appears to be the same user who took credit for the RT audience score for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” which had the worst Rotten Tomatoes audience score of any film in the franchise – even as critics and the CinemaScore results for it were high. While that was an apparent case of spambots, this is more a concerted ground effort trying to enlist like-minded people to help out.

    Whoever they are, they have started a Facebook page (now defunct) to organise its community to take action and sabotage the score due to their claims of Disney using corporate manipulation to create “falsified bad press for the DCEU”. They also seem to be leaning politically to the right with their boards filled with plenty of ‘SJW’ and minority bashing comments veering into hate speech before it was taken down.

    Rotten Tomatoes has responded to the threat, saying in a statement:

    We at Rotten Tomatoes are proud to have become a platform for passionate fans to debate and discuss entertainment and we take that responsibility seriously. While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech. Our team of security, network and social experts continue to closely monitor our platforms and any users who engage in such activities will be blocked from our site and their comments removed as quickly as possible.”

    The Ryan Coogler-directed film is expected to open in the $150 million range at this point, buoyed by recent stellar online reaction from early media screenings. The film opens in cinemas everywhere on February 16th.
     
  11. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    James Mangold Doesn’t Like Credits Stingers


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    They may not have invented them, but Marvel Studios has certainly become synonymous for ‘credits stingers’ – the extra scenes attached within or after the end credits of its films.

    Sometimes these are standalone scenes with a joke context, sometimes its a scene setting up a potential sequel to the film its attached to, but one thing unique to the Marvel films have been stingers setting up films in other franchises.

    One person who is not a fan of them though is “Logan” filmmaker James Mangold. Appearing at Audi’s 2018 Writers Guild Association Beyond Words Panel in Los Angeles, Cinema Blend reports that Mangold went off on those sequences and labelled them an ’embarrassing’ aspect of modern filmmaking:

    “The idea of making a movie that would f–king embarrass me, that’s part of the anaesthetizing of this country or the world. That’s further confirming what they already know and tying in with other f–king products and selling them the next movie while you’re making this movie, and kind of all that s–t that I find really f–king embarrassing.

    Like, that audiences are actually asking for scenes in end credits when those scenes were first developed for movies that suck, so they put something extra at the end to pick up the scores when the movie couldn’t end right on its own f–king feet.

    “Now we’ve actually gotten audiences addicted to a f–king bonus in the credits. It’s f–king embarrassing. It means you couldn’t land your f–king movie is what it means. Even if you got 100,000 Twitter addicts who are gambling on what f–king scene is going to happen after the fucking credits it’s still cheating.

    It’s just cheating, but there’s all sorts of bad habits like that that f–king horrify me, man, that have become de rigueur in the way we make movies and I think the fear of being one of them that did that end then everyone’s patting me on the back and I feel like s–t inside because I know I cheated, is probably the greatest thing that scares the shit out of me.”

    Mangold himself has previously participated in a post-credits scene – one at the end of his Fox & Marvel film “The Wolverine” which loosely tied into “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. Mangold may have more words to say on this as in a month he’s up for Oscar consideration for the best adapted screenplay award for “Logan”.
     
  12. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Martin Freeman Set For More MCU Films


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    He made a brief appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” and has a key supporting role in current box-office champion “Black Panther”. But don’t expect that to be our last glimpse of Martin Freeman’s CIA character Everett Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    Speaking with Den of Geek this week, he confirmed he’ll be back for at least one more: “They introduced me in Civil War and said there would be a couple of other films, one of which was Black Panther.”

    Freeman hasn’t been spotted filming scenes for either of the upcoming “Avengers” films or “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” leading to speculation we may see a digitally de-aged (or a younger actor altogether) in the role in the currently filming and 1990s-set “Captain Marvel”. Ross has a history with the Air Force which would make him an understandable inclusion.
     
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  13. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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  14. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    “Panther” Fans Petition For “Wakanda” Series


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    “Black Panther” fan Eric Hamilton has started a petition asked for Marvel to develop a TV series that chronicles the beginnings of Wakanda, the fictional African country of advanced technology seen in “Black Panther”.

    The petition asks for a show to explore how Wakanda used vibranium from a crashed meteorite to become the most technologically advanced country on Earth. At the same time, it can richly explore issues of how the country thrived by keeping itself hidden from the greed and ruthlessness of colonizers in the past century.

    As of this writing, the petition has over 4,300 signatures and is expected to exceed its goal of 5,000 fast. Those who wish to join can sign up at Change.org

    It comes as the film keeps going from strength to strength. Its second weekend domestic estimate of $104 million was revised upwards to $111 million when the final figures came in. Disney has been very chuffed with the film’s success and has pledged $1 million dollars to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help open new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program centers across the nation.

    Disney CEO Bob Iger says (via THR to expect to see a lot of “Black Panther” merchandise on the marketplace around Halloween, and there’s consideration of theme park attraction tie-ins at the movement.
     
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  15. Gavin

    Gavin Member: Rank 6
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    Well I'd absolutely watch that.
     
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  16. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Chris Evans Is Done With Captain America?


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    Those involved in the making of “Avengers: Infinity War” have made it quite clear that with the contracts of various cast members coming to an end, numerous characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be killed off – permanently.

    Which ones, of course, is a guessing game with the likes of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor or Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man both being frequently speculated about as potentially meeting their makers. Now, if a hint from actor Chris Evans is anything to go by, it looks like Captain America has shot up on the possibility list.

    In a new interview with the New York Times, Evans was asked specifically about his role in the future of the MCU to which he responded: “You want to get off the train before they push you off”. The article adds that Evans: “expects that planned reshoots in the fall will mark the end of his tenure in the familiar red, white and blue super suit.”

    That doesn’t mean Cap won’t be back, but it could mean either Anthony Mackie’s Falcon or Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier take on the mantle following the loss of their friend. “Avengers: Infinity War” opens April 27th and will be followed by “Ant-Man and the Wasp” in July
     
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  17. chainsaw_metal1

    chainsaw_metal1 Member: Rank 8

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    Same here. My son and I watched Black Panther this last weekend, and both loved it. Not just a great movie, but it was all the better for how many tin foil hat wearers it pissed off.
    Yeah, um, screw this guy. I loved Logan, but I don't care what he says. I love the credits scenes.
    Some buddies and I were discussing this. Both men took up the mantle in the comics, and hell, they even had the scene in Civil War where Bucky held the shield. I'd be happy seeing either of them take the role, but I'd like to see Bucky first, just because it would be bittersweet to see him fill his friend's shoes, and to make up for his time as an assassin.
     
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  18. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have teased what could come next for the “Avengers” beyond next year’s fourth film and once they get well into the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    Joe tells Internaute: “We’ll say that if that Fox deal goes through with Disney there’s a lot more characters to work with all of a sudden, it would be interesting to do something like ‘Secret Wars’.” The storyline in the comics saw the Avengers, X-Men and Fantastic 4 transported to a planet to participate in gladiatorial games.
     
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  19. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    FROM DARK HORIZONS: A LIST.....

    A subjective list published on Dark Horizons of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, ranked from best to worst....

    TIER 1: The Very Good Ones


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    1. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
    Up there amongst the best superhero films made, certainly one of the best sequels, the “Raiders”-inspired first film gives way to a far more fascinating “Three Days of the Condor”-esque contemporary political paranoia thriller. Steve Rogers’ bland incorruptibility, that which made him a frustrating one-dimensional lead in his first film, becomes a strength here – the stalwart and inspiring man of principles who stands alone against a hopelessly corrupt system.

    Kudos also to an excellent supporting cast with Johansson & Jackson, along with those new to the franchise like Mackie and Redford, really fleshing things out and allowing the film to deal with serious themes and adult concepts in between the moments of crowd-pleasing action. It’s the most ‘adult’ movie of the MCU thus far and works all the better for it.

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    2. “Guardians of the Galaxy”
    Even more than Whedon with “Avengers” and Black with “Iron Man 3,” this is the movie of this universe where the filmmaker’s sensibilities can be felt the most in every frame. Given an obvious great amount of freedom by being both tonally and physically separated from the rest of the MCU, James Gunn’s trippy space fantasy film boasts a wonderful aesthetic, robust character comedy, the best soundtrack of the series, and ambition on every level. The regular MCU flaws of a weak villain, awkward foreshadowing and some bloated third act issues remain, but the rest is so strong it’s not really a problem.

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    3. “Iron Man 3”
    The most controversial placement on this list by far as “Iron Man 3” is nothing if not divisive and a film which a lot of the hardcore Marvel fans HATE with a passion for its deliberate slap in the face of comic book canon. As someone unfamiliar with the comics though, that twist is a brilliantly subversive expectation smasher and totally in line with the rest of this effortlessly enjoyable film.

    The wonderful Shane Black is let loose with a big budget and an actor like Downey Jr. who is a perfect fit for his material, resulting in some of their best work to date. The middle hour in particular – between Tony’s snowy crash land and the thrilling Air Force One rescue sequence – is my favorite hour of the MCU. In fact it is when the “Iron Man” parts of the film have to be focused on, like the opening and closing half hours, that it feels less engaging but still quite robust. If the first and last half-hour were as strong as that middle hour, it’d easily be my favourite MCU film.

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    4. “The Avengers”
    Still held up as the gold standard not just for the MCU but comic book films as a whole, there’s little point denying that Joss Whedon’s first “The Avengers” is one of the most entertaining and crowd pleasing superhero films, and certainly the most accessible for a general audience.

    The often unwieldy and sandwiched in elements setting up this were the clunkiest parts of the individual ‘Phase One’ films, but the payoff is worth it – delivering a true ensemble piece with distinct personalities colliding, clashing and collaborating in fascinating ways. Combined with Joss Whedon’s deft focus on character and knack for humor, the results are very strong bar some quibbles over the action sequences which can and do drag – mostly in repeated viewings.

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    5. “Iron Man”
    The film that started it all remains one of the best to date – Robert Downey Jr. is a casting coup that can’t really be beat, and his sheer charisma and style helps power through some of the film’s more problematic plot issues and overly familiar beats.

    These beats thankfully don’t really prove much of an issue until the final half-hour or so, director Jon Favreau keeping things tight and simple as he fills out some of the supporting roles with great talent such as Gwyneth Paltrow as the MCU’s still most interesting love interest, and Paul Bettany as pretty much the best A.I. put to screen. Favreau even displays a welcome knack for action with some of the year’s best taking place during much of the film’s mid-point. Still one of the best and most enjoyable superhero origin tales to date.

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    6. “Black Panther”
    Ryan Coogler’s Afro-futurist sci-fi fantasy is something of a wonder. The production values and design are impeccable and the cast is exquisite with a whole bunch of memorable new supporting characters added to the mix. It also solves two of Marvel’s biggest problems – it has a strong score and an excellent and charismatic villain (Michael B. Jordan) with an interesting and even sympathetic agenda.

    Coogler directs with panache, adding political and racial elements without getting preachy along with some superbly shot if repetitive action – setting up a mini-universe here that I can’t wait to revisit. It only really falters on two fronts – Boseman is excellent as T’Challa, but the character’s arc here just isn’t as interesting or efficient as it was in ‘Civil War’. Also when it has to steer back to the Marvel formula (like another third act army vs. army scene) it loses its freshness. It’s a superb start, but I think sequels could take this franchise even higher.
     
    #39 Doctor Omega, Apr 28, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  20. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    TIER 2: The Good Ones

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    7. “Thor”
    No scene better epitomises “Thor” than the one in which our hero on horseback gallops along a giant wormhole generating energy conduit. Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry V…In Space” is gloriously bats–t insane – a blend of Shakespearean and space opera tropes, challenging world building and myth creation, a hero with an actually compelling personal arc of humility, and what is still easily the only truly great villain the MCU has produced thus far.

    Its romance scenes are weak and the Earth-bound scenes in the middle are a weak spot, plus the camp is certainly not for everyone. Yet – if you go with its weird blend of sci-fi, family melodrama and comic book adventure – you’ll see a really wonderful and distinct vision up on screen.

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    8. “Spider-Man: Homecoming”
    The second or equal best of the “Spider-Man” films overall, Jon Watts’ “Spider-Man Homecoming” works in ways so many other MCU films fail at. Bar maybe Loki, the villain is easily the most grounded and interesting of the MCU to date with stellar underplayed work by Michael Keaton. Also the ‘smaller focus’ which failed so badly in “Ant-Man” works far better here.

    Tom Holland proves the most likeable Spider-Man, supporting characters are solid (if caricatures), and the overall tone is great – upbeat, sweet and breezy. If there’s a fault it is perhaps lack of ambition – its good formula but still familiar and still trapped in the genre to some extent. The plot is threadbare, and there’s nothing in here that’s really cinematic which makes it feel lightweight. Nice job all round from everyone involved.

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    9. “Captain America: The First Avenger”
    Another controversial choice, this is probably lower on the list than others would place. I was never a fan of the character before, and Joe Johnston’s “Raiders”-lite period piece is handsomely made but never really clicked with me – leaving me wondering why it still gets so much love. Even so, there’s an earnestness here that’s missing from the cookie cutter-style of the more recent movies that I do admire.

    Arguably it’s the most easily emotional of the MCU films, certainly of the first phase, and the story of a physically weak man with such a strong inner humanity being able to become a warrior for that ideal (albeit via a cheat) has an easy appeal. Evans is good, as is Hayley Atwell and Sebastian Stan, but Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull and other elements just feel like clunky knock offs of stuff even Johnston himself did better in “The Rocketeer”.

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    10. “Thor: Ragnarok”
    The “Thor” franchise has always struggled with tone. Branagh’s first film tried to balance the comedic and cosmic with a real operatic flare. The second ran away from that so far it became a dour slog. Brilliant auteur Taika Waititi changed things up again with this, reversing direction from the second and going way further than Branagh did into the realm of bright pastels, self-parody and irreverence.

    It’s without doubt a hell of a lot of fun, Hemsworth’s comedic chops are formidable, and is certainly the most widely accessible and conventionally enjoyable of the three films. However when it veers away from comedy and has to stick to a story it stumbles – badly. From a criminal waste of Cate Blanchett to a real lack of energy in everything that takes place off Sakaar. Unlike Marvel’s best work which holds up well on repeat viewings, I can see the appeal of this wearing out quickly – even with all the charm to spare.

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    11. “Captain America: Civil War”
    A far better sequel to “The Avengers” than ‘Ultron,’ the third “Captain America” deftly balances a solid action style with time between practically all the members of a massive ensemble. At the same time it also pays more than just lip service to its central idea of a political and ethical divide coming between the heroes. Three characters steal the whole show – a new Spider-Man, the first appearance of Black Panther, and Ant-Man’s first team-up with other Avengers – that are brilliantly introduced into the action as the wild card, moral heart and comic relief respectively.

    Sadly the film lacks the pacing and cohesiveness of ‘Winter Solider’, the setup to get these heroes fighting feeling a bit forced while the villain and third act problem that has been an issue in the past for MCU films raises its head again here. Even more than ‘Winter Soldier,’ the Russo’s films don’t feel as distinctive or cinematic as other MCU helmers which gives this film more of a TV feel than expected despite being so highly polished.

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    12. “Avengers: Infinity War”
    The MCU may be populated by epic films, but its interconnectedness and often uniform look has led to justifiable claims that it plays out more like a season of a TV series with each film a different episode – some effectively standalone, some connected to the larger mythology. That feels more true than ever with ‘Infinity War,’ which is better described as “MCU Season Finale: Part One” and that unfortunately robs of some of its power – it struggles to stand on its own.

    Considering how many characters and subplots are in play, the Russos expertly balance the massive ensemble giving everyone a fair shake and get to spend a little time on some interesting character pairings, even as they waste time on some superfluous action at others. Thanos is a strong villain and full bodied character, though his reasoning is never truly justified. Gorgeous & epic in scope, there’s a real boldness and genuine emotion and surprise at times – the question is how much of it will be walked back in the next one.
     
    #40 Doctor Omega, Apr 28, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018

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