“We're in the Endgame now.”
It’s silly how much these Marvel movies mean to me. But if there's one constant in my life it's my belief that silliness is what it's all about. Going to see those movies with my friends, talking about them afterwards; those things were a huge part of my 20s and I will always remember that fondly.
So yeah, I've rewatched all the Marvel movies over the course of 2 months. Here are some random thoughts (and yes, there will be a ranked list at the end. Everybody loves ranked lists.):
- The consistency in quality is pretty impressive. There are only a few clunkers (Thor: The Dark World, I'm looking at you, still not remembering a single scene), but also just a handful of great ones. Everything else fits under the umbrella of “pretty good”. Granted, that only holds true if you're into this mode of storytelling.
- That's the rub, isn't it? They've never strayed far enough from their big action, massive event formula. The small moments are loud and the big ones are REALLY LOUD.
- It's the biggest television show in history.
- There was a moment post Civil War where I almost lost interest, because the films had become too formulaic. Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther got me hooked back in. Hard. I wish stuff like that could've come earlier.
- If I never have to watch a new Joss Whedon production in my life I'll be fine. Look, Buffy and Angel are fundamental building blocks of my personality and I will rewatch them until I die, but the number of gratuitous butt shots in Age of Ultron, the general tone towards women (all to make them “stronger”, no doubt), and his awkward ideas about romantic love (“She's in love with a monster, but he's a good guy. Get it?!”) were enough for me. He also turned out to be a major creep, so there's that.
- Speaking of Buffy: The lesson that filmmakers (including Whedon, apparently) drew from that show is that you can put a badass female warrior in your story and that's enough representation. What they should've learned is that, yes, you can have a badass female warrior, but there's also room for a Willow, or an Anya, a Cordelia, or a Fred. Women with differing skills, interests, and outlooks. You know, people. It got better as it went on (Hi Shuri!), but it's still not where it should be.
- I liked Captain Marvel a lot, but my girlfriend loved it. That's the thing: as a white dude, representation is mostly abstract to me, because I have enough characters that look like me. Representation is not meant to make me happy (I’m talking about me as a stand-in for white dudes. The actual me me is very happy about more diversity.), and that's fine.
- The politics of these things, is uh, let's say, questionable. The military is full of hyper-competent good guys, while all politicians are bumbling idiots or Hydra puppets. The creeping normalization of the military state continues unabated.
- Same bucket: it's not funny to fucking spy on people. Everyone spies on everyone and it's always treated as a big laugh. “Oh gee, Spidey, you're just a teenager, so it's okay if I put you under surveillance 24/7”. No, it's not, Tony. Never was, never will be.
- Chris Evans as Captain America is the best thing in the universe and I will cry like a baby when he dies in Endgame.
- Every time someone says “Zack Snyder was right. You can't do Superman today!” I want to show them the Captain America movies and ask them: “This is not working for you?” There are obvious differences between Superman and Captain America, but the earnestness and the stubborn belief in the good in people are traits they share and that work just fine today, thank you very much.
- They should've done a smaller Avengers movie between the wars. It's a cool moment when Steve et al come back in Infinity War, but it's missing weight. We've never seen the Avengers without them.
- Speaking of weight: We need a CGI revolution. The relationship between real world gravity and CG characters is out of control.
- Thanos is toxic masculinity personified. His plan is also incredibly dumb and shortsighted. There are apparently people who have sympathy for him, which,... sighs Of course there are.
- I've mellowed a little on Stan Lee since he died, but he still took away credit from the greatest artists of the 20th Century. That's unforgivable.
- Firing James Gunn over a ten year old tweet was pretty dumb.
- Rehiring James Gunn was the right thing to do.
- I would've loved Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.
That's about it. 21 movies in 10 years. I don't know what comes next, but it's been a pretty good ride so far. Let's bring on the ENDGAME!
And finally: the ranked list. Mind you, these are ranked according to my taste, which is subject to change.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Black Panther
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Guardians of The Galaxy
- Captain Marvel
- Captain America: Civil War
- Iron Man 3
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Iron Man
- The Avengers
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Doctor Strange
- Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
- Ant-Man And The Wasp
- Iron Man 2
- The Incredible Hulk
- Avengers: Age Of Ultron
- Thor: The Dark World