WandaVison: A Review

Where to start?

New Theory Suggests Scarlet Witch Will Be The MCU's Next Big Bad Villain

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

WandaVision is the first of the MCUs ambitious new TV Series. I know that technically Agents of Shield are part of the MCU and the ‘street level’ series (Daredevil etc) are ‘Marvel’ (AFAIK not technically in the MCU?? I could be corrected though)..

But WandaVision is the first series produced explicitly not merely tied into the MCU, but explicitly starring movie characters and continuing on storylines of the Movies.

Its worth taking a moment to consider just how mad this really is. It’s no new thing to have lengthy movie sequels and/or television series explanding on a franchise however in my experience these are typically diminishing returns money grabs with little craft in the link between materials (e.g. Transformers) or somewhat sloppy (e.g. X-men). The fact that the MCU can produce in excess of 20 movies that are set within a single ‘universe’ develop multiple characters and have a satisfying overall story arc and THEN produce multiple TV series of different genres that do the same is pretty wild.

Anyway, gushing over, its worth touching on how WandaVision sits within all of this. At one potenital ‘flaw’ WandaVision probably is one of the few MCU properties that I believe relies on prior watching – some might call me crazy for this assertion, but I belive one of the strengths of the MCU that despite all the clever cross-plotting each movie was crafted correctly to be enjoyable in its own right, obviously EndGame kinda requires at least Infinity War to inform it, but you don’t absolutley have to know prior movies to understand most MCU movies.

For multiple reasons, both factual and emotional WandaVision is best view after seeing the MCU movies with the both of them (Age of Ultron, Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame). The first issue is that WandaVision’s mysterious and quirky premise does rely on you having the momentum of knowing the characters and situation to enjoy and work through the plot (I honestly can’t fanthom how a naive viewer would manage WandaVision). Following on from this much of the emotions of the show rely on you having some connections to the characters, don’t get me wrong its brilliantly acted and portrayed but its a hard sell that Wanda loves a synthoid without having experienced the backstory.

All that covered I do find it incredibly interesting and hilarious that Disney chose to lead with this series. Its a crazy gamble (that appears to be paying off). For the unusual individual who is reading this reivew without already seeing the series, the quirky premise of Wanda and Vision living through decades of sitcoms while we try and work out what the heck is going on is truly unique.

I have to admit at first I was unsure if I liked the series. The sitcom shows were a little funny, but didn’t seem enough to sustain the show, but the writers perfectly incorporated ‘real life’ intruding into the shows to explain the situation. What the writers did an amazing job of, is balancing the mystery, silly fun and reveals. They didn’t overdo the mysteries, they didn’t reveal them that quickly, and they balanced the different aspects of the show.

It does make it hard to explain what sort of series it is, part comedy/satire part horror part action. (SPOILERS AGAIN) Ultimately its a superpower origin story for Wanda that creates a much more morally ambiguous story than ever seen before in the MCU (sure MCU movies dived briefly into moral territory but was still basically good guys versus bad guys 99% of the time).

So in conclusion WandaVision is a strange hybrid of a series, which combines and extremely emotional core for Wanda and Vision, still has any number of easter eggs and teasers for future series and movies but somehow still experiments with the style to ridiculous lengths. By rights this series could have been a huge flop, trying to incorporate sitcom satire, magic, and the relationship between a witch and a synothoid – instead its potentialy the most popular TV series since streaming began.

If anything is in doubt its a huge win for the MCU and upcoming series, I am hugely interested to see what is done with the rest of the upcoming series and future MCU movies.

What were your thoughts on WandaVision?

The Old Guard: A Case Study

So I watched Netflix’s The Old Guard the other day.

Netflix's The Old Guard Review: A Soap Opera Level B ...

And before I say anything else I’d like to highlight that I actually think it was a good film, mostly great acting, cool action and some elements played really well.

But I couldn’t help but find that underneath the movie was a bit of a case study in poor writing, the story had a number of quite striking flaws which could be useful to explore to hone one’s own craft. So without further muck about SPOILERS ahead for The Old Guard and a summary of what kinda went wrong.

In the beginning of the film we’re introduced to “Andy”. Andy’s initial character development is that she has been “out” for over a year and her allies ask her to come along for another job. Andy reluctantly agrees and we find out she is jaded because she doesn’t think their work is making the world a better place.

As a start its not a bad conceit, we’re also introdued to Copley who quickly betrays the old guard in brutal fashion (luring them with a rescue mission which is fact leads them to an underground bunker where they are shot to death in order to video them ‘healing’) The inciting incident works because it plays into Andy’s jaded attitude, proving they are indeed not helping and in fact in danger of discovery and capture.

For Andy the plot almost continues as something that works – we find out that Copley was hired by a pharmacuetical CEO who wants to research the immortals. Despite the fact the CEO is the most ridiculous 2d villain I’ve seen for a while the idea still holds because it throws an unusual spanner at the plot because it presents a question of whether a group of immortals would do better fighting to make a better world or allowing science to take over.

Here’s where the problems are though: Firstly that central question isn’t posed to Andy. Really the villain could be anyone who wants to capture and mistreat them (and let’s face it there are any number of reasons that someone might want to do that to a group of immortal adversaries right). So for our main character there isn’t really any central question or decision, they don’t want to get captured and vivisected so they are going to fight…

The character that question is given to is Copley, in possibly the most clumsy turn around I’ve ever seen, Copley who is introduced as betraying the immortals, then immediately turns around and starts questioning the obviously psychopathic villain on whether they are doing this to help people or make money. Which leads to an even more contrived push where Copley has in fact been “crazy-boarding” Andy’s movements the last 150 years and proven what a force for good she is.

In case that’s a bit blurry, basically we have a character who has studied the MC and found they are immeasurably good for the human race, but due to losing his wife to illness agrees to capture the immortals for an obviously evil character in the vague hope that the medical advances will be better than the actual good being done. The story sort of presents his evil actions as a mistake, but kind of missteps in basically introducing the character not only making that mistake, but bear in mind quite cruelly executing the immortals to video their immortality. The character was not shown to attempt to negotiate or more harmlessly capture them, or in fact show much concern that if these guys weren’t immortal he literally just tricked and murdered four people who were rumoured immortal.

Unusually we’re faced with a problem of a character not being good or bad enough, instead we either have a comically idiotic good-guy who is unable to perceive the villain is bad OR that his own actions don’t fit with the good he’s trying to do.

But the real beef with Copley versus Andy is the fact that the character development that should be Andy’s is outsourced to Copley. As mentioned Andy is jaded and wonders if their work does the world any good. By finding out that Copley has been historically stalking her for a couple of centuries we are provided with the evidence that in fact they are good. But this is essentially the opposite of every storytelling experts advice in character development. If our MC has a problem they need to take part in a plot that tests them and resolves that problem one way or the other (or gets all post-modern and leaves the problem intentionally unresolved). The point being that the plot as is renders the story uncessary, or rather literally being Andy worries that their work doesn’t help the world as some point during an adventure she discovers that someone has done their research and discovered that you are helping.

I think my frustation is that this could have been manipualted to be both more tense, controversial and interesting. Imagine if Copley proposed to a jaded Andy that she submit herself to research. This then puts Andy in the position of questioning whether medical advances would be more beneficial to the world than her fighting prowess. Rather than just being a series of gunfights with hired goons, the story could revolve around how Andy would make that decision.

Anywho that part really bugged me, but here was a lot more. For example after being betrayed by Copley we are suddenly introduced to a new immortal. Andy goes to collect her, engage in multiple bloody fights before convincing Nile to stay with them. This plot element reminded me a little of the first Hellboy movie, where a naive agent was introduced to the plot to essentially act as the audience member getting introduced to the paranormal – when really we all only cared about Hellboy and didn’t need the normie lens. The intro of Nile doesn’t really fit with any of the rest of the story, but only to provide much excuse for exposition and to have a newbie to really save the day later.

The cringe is really that again this could have tied so much better into the plot, as in a new recruit could really test Andy’s philosophy on whether they are a force for good or not. A naive character would make the perfect judge.

But no instead we essentially get ‘excuse’ storytelling (where really the plot is just the excuses for the wanton violence) I mean they even have one immortal reveal they betrayed the rest because they though the research would reveal a way for them to suicide intentionally, a rather intense and major character point which is barely explored at all beyond the the other’s rebuke for the betrayal, but never at any point to the characters really consider whether research could actually be of benefit (not it can’t because the villian is too evil)

Perhaps I better add again that there were plenty of things that were pretty good about this movie. I think they made a lot of effort to make elements of the characters immortality believable, they all had eccentric quirks and tics around their long lives and were also language experts which fits. That said at times I think the creators tried a little too hard referencing history constantly as we might forget they are immortal.

The reason I’ve felt the need to dissect The Old Guard a little more than most movies is that I think the writing and plotting is a sort of near miss, which highlights what is “good” writing and character development more than your typical bad film or book.

I don’t know if this has been useful for anyone else but I enjoyed it!

A Rather Late and Random Review of X-men: Dark Phoenix

The only thing more embarrassing about how long its taken to see this movie, is that I haven’t posted anything since July!

I hope its not too hurtful to consider X-men Dark Phoenix to be a bad movie, it seems if anything to be one of the more derogated superhero films and I confess I do hold a certain fascination for what it is exactly that makes a film “bad.”

DP has the added enjoyment of being quite strangely bad. It’s like an uncanny valley situation where almost all parts of it are a near-miss in terms of being almost good, even great, but somehow nothing quite fits right.

The first issue is that DP doesn’t really have a main character. This is actually kind of an X-men thing where due to the emphasis on an ensemble team character development gets very diluted – usually this is solved by focusing on Wolverine or in the case of First Class on Xavier and Magneto. DP doesn’t know who it wants you to focus on – is it Jean herself? Or is she the villain/damsel/mcguffin. Xavier kind of has a hubris/downfall character arc but doesn’t really do anything throughout.

Thing is – the story actually starts pretty well, with a tension between an overly giddy Xavier who thanks to his hard work is buddies with the president, and the older member of the team who feel he is losing touch. This isn’t too bad a setup for the X-men disagreeing on how to deal with Phoenix, but its kind of ruined by shoehorning magneto back in to the mix as the ‘kill her’ faction. Oddly The plot would be a lot more effective if either faction even had a chance – as mentioned the flaws of DP are strange, by making Jean all powerful it saps tension from the conflict between how to deal her because she can’t be defeated by Magneto or reached by Xavier.

I don’t really want to get into the aliens because they are just so utterly senseless and poorly handled – not that I wanted this exactly but at no point to the movie did anyone actually address that their were friggin aliens, and their shallow and 2D presentation was almost pointless. It would have been far more interesting to see Jean attempt to navigate her power without alien influence.

There are many more odd flaws, the action had some cool moments but was almost all stilted and directionless, less detailed than the 90s cartoon which I’m working through on Disney+ right now!

Endgame: A 1/2 Spoiler Free, and 1/2 Spoiler Filled Review

Don’t worry I will warn yas before any spoilers (but consider yourself warned! No reading until we’ve gone to it together Disgruntled Luddite!!)

Streaming Movies Underground: Watch Avengers: Endgame FULL MOVIE HD1080p Sub English

I just got home after Endgame and am just putting my thoughts together.

Probably the first thing that is worth saying is that this movie feels a lot different from other MCU movies, including Infinity War, which to me was quite interesting. It’s hard to explain without spoilers, but given the ending of the previous movie its hopefully no surprise that Endgame is quite dark. Although tonally the movie is quite a ride, the Russo Brothers successfully managing to pull off quite a dynamic movie – almost bizarrely so.

Where Infinity War was long because the number of character’s included, Endgame felt long because of the depth of the character work, and oddly was quite light on action for the majority of the beginning arcs of the film.

Ultimately the film was a fitting “end” for this massive and ambitious project by Marvel Studios, and it felt like a suitable conclusion to Infinity War.

Now onto the Spoilers.

SPOILERS

Really, people are taking Endgame spoilers serious no peeking.

SPOILERS

Some thoughts on Infinity War (Beware Spoilers)

I’m not going to rehash all the events of the film but there are some major events that I want to respond to, starting with the nitpicks.

Firstly I found a couple of characters ‘development’ pretty unpredictable and weird. Thor becoming a fat depressed oaf was certainly surprising – Banner and Hulk actually becoming The Credible Hulk (google it) was again very unpredictable – kind of awkward and not really earned. After becoming shy in Infinity War, all of Banner’s and Hulk’s development happened purely off-screen. He didn’t even participate in any fights as said sensible Hulk could have been an interesting play.

Tony and Steve’s reunion was probably my biggest disappointment of the film – I wasn’t too sure exactly what I expected but an infirm and starved Tony ranting at Steve like a demented older relative just felt kind of odd choice (post rant they got along just fine).

My final odd issue with the film is that the way the story is constructed it sure led to some weird tensions, the big bad being a past Thanos who managed to hijack the Avengers attempts to right ‘present’ Thanos’ snap. The action and sequences all worked on paper – it just created a weird sense of dissatisfaction – for example when Scarlett Witch confronted Thanos he admitted he didn’t even know who she was.

Still the writers and directors managed to pull together an appropriate conclusion to a vastly ambitious precursor – and a massive and sad send-off to at least 2 of the main Avengers. The final scene(s) were incredibly intense and absolutely masterpieces of action directing. What probably served the film well was some incredible acting – and equally incredible passion for the project. I think in the future Endgame will sit aside from the other MCU films not just in being a conclusion 10 years in the making, but as something very different – an unusual and strange film, that could certainly not be argued to be formulaic, not by any stretch.

If anything, as Marvel have always been brilliant at doing is creating a sense of more adventures to come, which after 10 years of build-up is quite a feat, to the point of cultural phenomenon. I’d kind of love to see what future analysts will say about the MCU and Endgame!

Mourning the End of a Story

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Endgame approaches, and the final season of Game of Thrones is in progress, many fans are worried about the fate of their favourite characters. More on my mind though is the bittersweet sense of the end of the story as whole.

Granted, the MCU will continue, and Game of Thrones will have prequels, and the actual books still to be published. However I think ‘post-series-depression’ is a worthy topic.

Image result for a book crying

My rough internet search largely found mildly mocking or patronizing articles on the subject, and not too much of substance so mostly I’m just going to bank on my own experiences and theories.

Embarrassingly my own first experience of post series blues came after one Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m not actually embarrassed to be into Buffy, more that a. it wasn’t until I finished the series years after it actually aired, and b. as my first experience of this sense of mourning a series was in my early twenties! Essentially once the final episode of the final season had been binged, I fell asleep that night unsettled, and found myself heading down to University the next day unable to focus and strangely put-out. After realizing I was not going to get any work done, I returned home and watched the various ‘special features’ and Googled what I could about the season (a common coping mechanism I have heard).

Since then I’ve had many a similar experience, following ‘Logan’ (Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine) the end of Lost (of all things) and my favourite local show Outrageous Fortune. Usually along the lines of either a low-day or more often an unsettled night post viewing.

Broadly speaking this phenomenon tends to happen after longer running series (somewhat rationally) although as books can last for long periods I think the effect can occur for stand-alone books as well as series – possibly its felt all the stronger for a series as there is a sense of promise of more material.

But what is this all about? Why do stories have this effect?

You’d think that because stories are made-up and we know they are made up that there wouldn’t be too much of a problem with the full stop at the end of the story. Although there are some obvious potential causes – for example if we enjoy a story, then it stands to reason that the end will be a little upsetting – but my sense is that this isn’t that simple. Some articles have suggested its the sense of loss of never being able to experience that story again for the first time, as in it can always be reread (or watched) but never again as a novelty.

But I just feel like there is something deeper going on here – for example sometimes when I finish a good book I do lament not having something good to read during my usual hours, but its more a simple frustration, akin to having nothing yummy in the cupboard rather than post-series blues. And if the blues are indeed due to the loss of novelty, really why would that only occur at the end of a series? Maybe if the ending does bring us to that realization, but its not usually what I’m thinking about.

Some people believe or seem to genuinely feel connections to characters as if they were real people, and this certainly is a sign of brilliant fiction to make us feel that way. I suspect that part of mourning a story is mourning the characters, after all its almost like a true character death.

Here is my (perhaps over the top) deep theory though. I think that the post-series-blues is in fact the mourning that comes with personal change coupled with the pain of reality. Fiction really is blissful escapism, as much as we sometimes want to deny that we need an escape, or that our psyche’s are so fragile as to dive into fiction so completely, we obviously do (why else would stories be such a backbone of humanity?)

Truly powerful stories stick with us – not only in the moment, but the lessons and themes stick with us afterwards. Indeed any book ‘on writing’ will tell you that this is the point of the story. What we often don’t think about though is learning is change, and change means the loss of our former selves.

What I’m trying to get at is really good stories leave us different than before, and we need time to adjust to that. It’s only often once a tale ends that we fully realize this.

Or maybe I’m just indulging myself a little too much perhaps we just miss our favourite characters, or the hour or two of enjoyment we get from a long running story.

What are your thoughts on “post-series-depression”?

Is it a familiar feeling?

What series (book or screen) gave you “PSD”

 

Marvel Marathon: Ant Man and The Wasp

 

 

ant man & wasp fanart | ant man fan art | Tumblr

I’m not sure if I already said this – but back when I decided to work through this Marvel Marathon I thought I was perhaps being a bit greedy starting at Xmas, yet here we are just as Captain Marvel is about to come out, and I’ve only just caught up. It’s kind of hard to put all of that movie material into perspective.

Anyway so getting to Ant-man and The Wasp, I can’t work out whether this movie’s release was genius or a little contrived and tone-deaf. Released after the multiple gut punches of Infinity War Ant-Man is set a few smidgens prior to the War and the final credit scene brings us up to the ‘snap.’

On the one hand its a nice breath of humour after the dark romp, on the other its hard not to feel a little underwhelmed. There are plenty of good gags, some really good character tensions, for example Hank and Hope are really hacked off at Scott for his antics in Germany getting them into trouble. Ultimately it feels like a bit of a “side-quest” that sets up some world-building for Endgame (something something quantum realm although I hope its not really an integral part).

What it does bring into question is will the MCU stand up under its own pressure? Will any future movie stand up to the epic double event of Infinity War and Endgame?

Well I guess let’s get through Captain Marvel first! I’m interested to see whether jumping further back in time (the 90s was it really that long ago????) will create a similar problem of struggling to maintain tension – at any rate I guarantee the analysis will be extremely thorough and avoiding EndGame Youtube videos will become a full-time occupation.

Marvel Marathon: Infinity War!

Holy Cow

 

[Infinity War Spoilers Fanart] by vivalski (tissue warning; x-post from r/marvelfans)

I fully expected to have to take my time getting through Infinity War, as I’d essentially had to watch the past few MCU movies as a series, however the movie is just too damn good, I did have to break the film up across a weekend day but there was no way I could sleep not finishing it!

This is the 3rd time I’ve watched Infinity War and there is still stuff I’m picking up on, so prepare for a long winded post…

The crazy thing is I remember when Infinity War was first coming and I made big assumptions about what the movie would be like – essentially I thought that the ‘story’ would be basically collecting all the different good guys (in Wakanda according to the trailer) while Thanos approached and then there would be the big battle and whatever. So I found it quite cunning and mind-boggling how the writers managed to split the movie up the way they did.

Especially, and this still does my head in TONY AND STEVE HAVEN’T MADE UP YET, are they going make up – what if like one of them gets killed in the meantime, Tony almost did ARG.

One has to appreciate the torture that we’re being put through on this – it was really interesting that when Civil War happened, Steve wrote that letter and gave Tony the phone and they though everything was fine again. NOPE. Just some interesting thoughts along the way – in Spiderman Tony ships a prototype shield for Cap’n America, this was after the events of Civil War so he’s still working on Cap related things, also while people give Tony a lot of crap for hesitating to ring Steve at the beginning of Infinity War can we just acknowledge that, a. he was actually about to before the space-ship appeared AND he was walking around with the cellphone in his pocket the whole time he didn’t go collect it from the Avengers headquarters or anything, he’s been walking around with the cell to Captain America for two years.

The the otherside of the coin it’s not as clear how Steve feels about the situation, he obviously still respects Tony greatly, calling him Earth’s greatest defender. To be honest I almost care less about Thanos and the dusted people, just let us see Tony and Steve in the same room dammit!

Anyway back to everything else going on in this film, I’m not sure if my eyes are getting old (Actually pretty sure its this film) the action is absolutely frenetic, but actually pretty good. To draw another contrast I initially preferred the action sequences in Civil War to Infinity, in part I suspect because the Russo brothers indulged and drew out the action, whereas with tonnes of material to cram into Infinity War everything is all go, but once your brain has a chance to catch up Infinity War is pretty hard core, its kind of hard to put into words the extreme change in tone and darkness – I did note working through the films that Civil War was a step towards the more grim and serious, and Ragnarok despite the jokes was very deadly, but Infinity War – right from the first scene is downright fatalistic. It’s a pretty bold move from the studio, and one I personally applaud because its a hella intense film, but one I can understand kinda freaked many people out on the topic, especially given that Thanos essentially tortures his way through the plot and stabs one of the most beloved superheroes through the gut.

Speaking of tone one small bugbear is that I felt that Infinity War pushed relationships a little too hard, back in Age of Ultron the whole Hawkeye has a family thing felt very forced, and in Infinity War we have Tony talking about children with Pepper, Vision and Witch hooking up, and Gamorah and Starlord too, (personally I found Loki and Thor to be more heart-breaking) but at some point its like “we get it this isn’t going to go well” I hate to be a hater but my feeling was with such limited screen time for all characters they could have found some other emotional tags, for example isn’t the theme of this films about found families, shouldn’t Starlord have been gushing about all of the Guardians (Ok the Gamorah stuff is very vital for a later plot point). Anyway its a small rant.

Finally what is really cool about this moment in MCU history is that no-one, NO-ONE really knows what the heck is going to happen. We’ve had Empires striking back, and cliff-hanger films before, but I don’t think any series has had such an audacious conclusion to a film before. The internet and my friends are rife with theories and for once in recent trailer history, the teasers give almost nothing away.

I’m almost terrified of seeing Endgame because it seems like nothing can quite top the 2.5 hour build-up of Thanos winning!

For what its worth I still think the most likely solution is that the original avengers will hold an infinity stone each (to their ultimate demise) as per the mythology of Guardians of the Galaxy, however who knows whether that would be to reverse the ‘snap’ defeat Thanos or what! I sort of can’t believe Marvel released a trailer for the next Spiderman film but somehow managed to reveal nothing about the conclusion to Endgame, its not even clear if it could be a bit of a prequel or something…

Anyway I still have Ant-man and the Wasp to go, and then off to see Captain Marvel, I think I’m most interested to see how the momentum works with Cap’n Marvel. People will be so desperate to see Endgame, will Marvel be a frustration or a welcome balm until the next month?

Marvel Marathon: Black Panther

So I have a major problem with Black Panther…

Be_Biscoita / Pantera Negra

And that largely is I honestly cannot think of anything meaningful to say other than various gushing and fanboying about this film!

The funny thing is prior to Black Panther appearing in Civil War (in which he is awesome too) I didn’t really care much for the character, he seemed kind of blah in terms of powers and the whole he is a King and a Superhero just seemed kind of Over the Top,

Yet Marvel pull it off, not just suspending our disbelief in Wakanda and the Black Panther but actually creating a compelling storyline both personally and politically, while still being a ‘superhero’ film.

I don’t even want to get into the cultural phenomenon of the film, other than to say again I love every aspect of it, not just the celebration of cultures often not celebrated in film, but the full blown embrace of issues of race from a Wakandan perspective. I think its fair to say that some of the issues raised in Black Panther could have been risky especially for crisp and squeaky Disney owned Marvel Studios but they threw a story out that challenged, but did not confront, that prompted thought, not conflict.

Of all the Marvel films I feel like Black Panther has the most flawless story, a flawed hero, a sympathetic but scary villain and overall filled with heart.

 

 

Marvel Marathon: Spiderman Homecoming

Back in Christmas I thought I was being a little overeager starting my Marvel rewatch so soon, however now that the year is in full throttle I think I was about right. Essentially I had to watch Spiderman as a short TV series in 20-30 minutes blocks!

Spiderman is an interesting one in the context of the whole MCU, of course we have the whole ‘rights’ debacle, but also, similar to Civil War I feel like this was a movie that Marvel put a lot of effort into – not saying that some of the others were low effort – just that between wanting to get Spidey right in yet another reboot, superhero fatigue creeping around, and some fairly heavy complaints about casting choices in Dr Strange I think that Spiderman Homecoming was a high priority for Marvel Movies.

And I think overall they succeeded, watching through all the films, Spiderman feels very fresh (quite an achievement as film number 16) Tom Holland and the character writing for Peter Parker is brilliant. I usually don’t like secret identity plotlines, or superheroes trying to balance their ‘real lives’ because it comes across as cheesy, yet I think Homecoming plays this game with just enough humour and fun that its not a drag. Not to mention the scene where Peter discovers the vulture is Liz’s father and we have a tense car ride to Homecoming where we see Vulture work out Peter is Spiderman – it’s a almost psychological thriller-esque style of moment which is unusual in an MCU but probably one of my favourite Marvel scenes ever.

So between the meme-y and awkward humour there isn’t too much to hate about Spiderman. I confess the action gets a little tired in the film, I sort of felt like once a few gags were made about Spidey having to run across a sports field, using the wrong webs etc, the action always devolved into Spidey clinging to walls (a difficult tension to sell as wall-climbing is a superpower so like we don’t know how powerful it is) and then webbing together the environment again, eventually engaging in some sort of muscle straining moment.

What is really cool though is Ragnarok is next, and I’ve been dying to rewatch that for ages!

Marvel Marathon: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I find Guardians Vol. 2 quite a strange film. On the one hand its filled with humour, gags and general silliness, yet some of the happenings, themes and character development is actually pretty dark.

Also its one of those odd stories where the apparent ‘main’ plot, being the attempted colonization of the galaxy from Ego the living planet, takes an emotional back-seat to the familial drama, being Quills realization that Youndu really was his ‘daddy’ Gamorrah and Nebula becoming sisters and Rocket generally accepting himself and his friends.

 

 

Like the first Guardians film it really feels like despite being colourful space films these are some the films of the MCU with the most heart.

However with Guardians 2 I feel there has been a bit of a split in the MCU fanbase, those that like the constant, almost unrelenting humour and those that don’t mind a few breaths between gags. Personally on rewatch I found the jokes a bit much. There are some absolutely brilliant gems in the movie, however they are buried under Drax generally being OTT – for example it would be that much more entertaining when he laughs outrageously at Peter Q being exposed at loving Gamorrah if he didn’t laugh outrageously at almost everything that happens.

Probably the humour and Ego’s character practically being a non-existant exposition machine could have sunk this film, but there is no denying the brilliant but strangely emotional character arcs. Some reviews felt that the character Yondu had been retconned somewhat to be an father figure for Quill, but having watched Vol. 1 recently I felt like the character was consistent, in Vol 1. we saw Yondu going surprisingly easy on Quill and even at the end when he’s conned out of the infinity stone he grins with pride.

Given James Gunn’s firing from Disney, it’s not clear where to for the Guardians but they do appear in Infinity War which I will (eventually) get up to!