No Small Parts: Captain Robau from Star Trek 2009 @chrishemsworth #StarTrek #FaranTahir #movie

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Great Shatner’s ghost! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted about Star Trek. It’s my favorite entertainment property, yet I’ve been so focused on the superhero stuff and random Netflix movies that I haven’t watched any Star Trek recently. Ironically, it was the Iron Man quarantine watch party on June 30, that inspired this post (as well as this one and this one).

I haven’t seen a lot of Faran Tahir, but I’ve been impressed by everything in which I’ve seen him, including his role in Iron Man. That role wasn’t small, but this post is about Captain Robau from the 2009 reboot of Star Trek. George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) gets the credit for his sacrifice, and that’s fair, but it’s clear that he was following the teachings of his captain, played by Mr. Tahir. Captain Robau set the tone for the scene, and the entire movie, by remaining completely calm during the brief negotiations and immediately complying with Nero’s demands despite the danger. He didn’t do this because he was without fear – his bio signs indicated an elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, and other signs of emotional distress – but because leaders don’t have the luxury of personal considerations. If you take responsibility for other people’s lives, you need to live up to that.

Captain Robau was a strong character, and his leadership set the tone for a movie that was as much about leadership as it was about friendship.

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All Hail (Once Again) the Greatest Individual Entrance in Cinematic History, and Other Things I Didn’t Create #MCU #Thor #HDB to me @ChrisHemsworth @samuelljackson

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For my birthday, I’m being lazy and just giving you material others have done. First, here’s a fantastic moment from a fantastic character as played by a fantastic actor.

It’s no wonder that Portals in Avengers: Endgame used a variation of this theme for the entrance of the formerly dusted into the final battle against Thanos.

And now for some more.

Image may contain: 5 people, meme and text

That’s it.

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#Thor Is the Strongest #Avenger @chrishemsworth @brielarson #MCU

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First off, Scarlet Witch is the strongest Avenger because all of these characters are defined solely by what’s in the script, and that’s what Kevin Feige says. However, art is in the eye of the beholder, so my interpretation is as valid as anyone else’s. My interpretation is that Thor has proven himself to be the strongest Avenger, and by “Avenger,” I mean “good guy we’ve seen on screen that remains alive in the MCU.”

Odin, Surtur, and Hela Are Dead … I Think

I don’t read the comics, but I know a few things, and it appears that Thor: Ragnarok recognized that Thor was finally gaining the “Thorforce.” With Odin, Surtur, and Hela dead, that would make sense. Also, with those three dead, you have a few major hurdles cleared for my claim to ring true.

Of course, Hela and Surtur could be alive, but at least one could interpret Surtur’s words as a suggestion that he would die once his destiny was fulfilled. Hela? Who knows? Damn comics! But for now, I’m assuming they’re dead, which would clear the path for the Thorforce, eventually placing Thor on Odin’s level.

Compare to Captain Marvel

This was Feige’s first claim. Powered by the Space Stone, she’s a reasonable choice, and the data we have is strongly in her favor. However, our measuring stick is Thanos, and there, Captain Marvel wasn’t as impressive. At the beginning of Endgame, she managed to control a severely injured Thanos long enough for everyone else to get in position. Sure, Rocket couldn’t do that, but <yawn>. In the final battle, she took on a full-powered Thanos one-on-one, but even though he had all six Stones, he wasn’t actively using them. They were in the gauntlet, and she was keeping his hand open, which according to Dr. Strange’s dialogue in Infinity War means that Thanos couldn’t wield any stone’s power while in the gauntlet. In that fight, we saw a brief stalemate until Thanos used the Power Stone to send Captain Marvel flying across the battlefield. Was she impressive? Yes. Did she seem as much a match for Thanos as Thor? No way.

Sure, in Thor’s first fight with Thanos, Thanos kicked his ass with the Power Stone, but that was immediately after Thor was blasted to hell by the weaponry of Thanos’s ship. In fact, in defeat Thor was impressive because he was taking the continuous force of the Power Stone to his head rather than an intermittent blast. Facing off against him later in Infinity War, Thor had no problem handling Thanos even while Thanos was using the Infinity Stones, and that’s the proper metric. Thor was depleted in Endgame because the plot needed him to be. Otherwise, the battle in Endgame would have taken 15 seconds. Thanos without the Infinity Stones v. Thor with either Stormbreaker or Mjolnir isn’t even close based on what we’ve seen, and he was wielding both. Get Thor mentally healthy, and he’s the go-to guy.

Compare to Scarlet Witch

This is Feige’s current choice, but has she proven to be as powerful as Thor? It’s clear from her fights with Proxima Midnight and Hawkeye that she’s still just a fragile human with slow human reflexes and a fragile human mind (i.e., one that would descend into madness if she tried to wield Stormbreaker). If you can get past her offense, she doesn’t have much defense, at least not against someone that can fly. Thor, on the other hand, took the brunt of a neutron star. ‘Nuff said.

But what about her offense? Arguably, she was on the verge of killing Thanos when he didn’t have the Infinity Stones. When he had 5 Stones, she was at best at a standstill, but eventually lost the tactical battle. Once Thanos had all six Stones, he was the most powerful being in the universe (so far), and Thor almost killed him. Sorry, but I’d rather have Thor watching my back. Even if you could make a compelling argument that Scarlet Witch has more raw power than Thor, sometimes what matters most is willpower. Thor wins.

Conclusion

The only character for whom I have a bias is Thor. This is because of my love of mythology, and Norse mythology in particular. I’m sure that’s obvious here, so even if you have a decent counterargument, I probably won’t buy it. That’s just how I roll. But I doubt you have a decent counterargument.

A mentally and physically healthy Thor is clearly the strongest Avenger. He also had the best individual entrance in cinematic history.

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“Fat” #Thor’s #Depression/#PTSD in Avengers #Endgame @chrishemsworth @MarvelStudios #MCU

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I’m not a psychologist, but I don’t have to be for the sake of this post, and neither do you. The only expertise we need for this post is to diagnose Thor as having depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), or both. Because he’s a make-believe character, what that really means is that we have to infer whether that’s what the writers intended when writing for the character. If you’re one of the few that don’t infer that, then this post isn’t for you. I’m operating from the assumption that Thor’s physical condition is the result of one or both of those mental/emotional conditions (perhaps another that’s more appropriate), and so I will certainly not be arguing that assumption here.

Thor’s physical condition clearly sprang from his mental illness. Was that a good thing? I believe it was, both for script purposes and for real world purposes.

Script

What started in Thor: Ragnarok came to fruition in Avengers: Infinity War: Thor is the strongest Avenger. With only one exception, Thor never took a legitimate blow from the Hulk, getting hit only when he was trying to stop the fight or when the Grandmaster cheated. He developed what was probably the Thorforce from the comics, and with both Odin and Hela dead, that makes sense. He took on the brunt of a neutron star. He almost took out Thanos while Thanos was wielding all six Infinity Stones. The Russos came up with a lame excuse (Thanos was taken by surprise), but if Thor had just gone for the head . . . .

So, if Thor is that powerful, what happens in Endgame? Most likely, the battle lasts about 15 seconds with Thor saving the world. That’s not particularly dramatic. His weakness was necessary to give Thanos a fighting chance and to give us the grand finale we all wanted.

Real World

All that said, the only reason this plot device worked is because Thor was deemed worthy. Depression and PTSD are illnesses. Having them doesn’t necessarily make you a weak person, though they do give you certain vulnerabilities. Mjolnir gives us an objective standard to tell us whether or not someone is “worthy.” Thor’s ability to summon and wield Mjolnir tells us that his condition and value as a hero aren’t connected. It tells us that our own conditions and values as human beings aren’t connected. For this reason, I not only think Fat Thor was nothing worth being offended about, but was actually very important.

Moreover, once it was explicitly established that Thor’s physical condition was tied to the depression and/or PTSD, the jokes stopped coming, or at least shifted focus. “Lebowski” wasn’t a comment about weight. Endgame wasn’t perfect, though. For some inexplicable reason, Rhodey continued to insult Thor, and it didn’t come across as playful. I’ll discuss this in depth in tomorrow’s post.

Did you think “Fat Thor” was handled well?

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Good Watch: Extraction @chrishemsworth @DavidKHarbour #GoodWatch

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Last weekend was Extraction on Netflix. It’s almost non-stop action with a couple of actors I really like: Chris Hemsworth and David Harbour. I don’t recall a single other actor I recognized.

This was a frustrating movie. The “object” of the movie isn’t worth the collateral damage done on his behalf. No one deserves to be a pawn, but there comes a time where you have to say, “Enough.” However, it’s a movie, not real life. As I’ve noted before, we accept some (let’s call it) moral exaggeration for the sake of drama. Some members of the audience will miss the message unless they’re hit over the head with it, so we can forgive characters that we’d never forgive in the real world. All of that said, the movie doesn’t take the easy way out but somehow has a happy(ish) ending with a dose of (obscure) redemption for good measure. I’m not upset I watched it, but my life isn’t any richer having done so.

Sometimes you just want to see someone get their head bit off. If that’s your current mood, this may be your movie.

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Relationships in #Thor: The Dark World @CUnderkoffler @twhiddleston @chrishemsworth #MCU

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I was recently talking about the MCU on Facebook (surprised?), and Thor: The Dark World (“TTDW”) came up. My general position was painful to admit: TTDW was a bottom tier MCU film. Thor is my favorite MCU character, but this entry was a bit weak. My general sentiment, however, was that you’ll appreciate all of these movies more if you see them as episodes in a longer story arc. This led to two points being made, one by me and one by a Facebook friend, Chad.

The Thor-Loki Dynamic

Chad stated:

I -really- like the Thor/Loki dynamic in Dark World. It’s set-up in the first movie. You can’t have their relationship in Ragnarok (especially post-Avengers) without it.

I agreed to a large extent, first because Tom Hiddleston’s acting was in my opinion the best overall throughout the MCU, but second because of Chris Hemsworth, who did a great job as Thor. The problem is that this relationship was a secondary plotline. The main storyline brought the film down to the bottom tier of the MCU. That said, Chad’s observation was an important one that was in line with my other comments of my Facebook thread. Secondary plotlines become far more important when you see these movies as episodes in a longer story that’s never (to my knowledge) been done in cinema. Iron Man 2 was my least favorite MCU film, and I’ll still gladly watch it. It’s an episode in a decade-long story that I love. A weak episode (to me), but still part of the story.

I told Chad I’d re-watch the movie and focus on that relationship to see if I could grab anything new about it. On my latest viewing, I learned . . . very little. This isn’t to say I disagree with Chad – I absolutely agree – I just remembered everything about it, so there was nothing new. Although Thor: Ragnarök fully developed Thor’s dimwittedness from mythology, he showed some signs of it in the first two Thor movies, but only with respect to Loki, who was always able to fool him. In addition, their love-hate relationship ultimately favored love, made apparent in the opening act of Infinity War. That act wouldn’t have meant a thing without the context of the prior films, and that made Infinity War a better film than it otherwise would have been.

Frigga’s Death

An even better example of this effect was the death of Frigga. When I first saw TTDW, I thought her death was unnecessary and cheap. It appeared as a means to say, “Let’s have someone die to show that the stakes are high, but not someone important enough that the stakes are actually high.” In hindsight, my perspective was dead wrong. Like all the major MCU characters, Thor went on a path of self-improvement, but he hit a major stumbling block off-camera between Infinity War and Endgame: depression and PTSD. While having never slipped unto unworthiness, Frigga was the last push he needed to get back on track, and their interaction in Endgame wouldn’t have conveyed such meaning if she hadn’t died in TTDW. This is hardly novel in the MCU (or elsewhere in cinema). I’ve discussed this before with respect to Black Widow and Hawkeye. The MCU did a surprisingly good job of immersing me in the emotions of those relationships. TTDW is a good example of how they laid the foundation for one of those key moments.

Why Is It So Bad?

Honestly, I have no idea why I place the TTDW in the bottom tier of MCU movies. It should be great. It has well-defined villains, a well-defined primary antagonist, plenty of action, plenty of humor, plenty of human drama, and perhaps even more is at stake than in Infinity War (but at least as much). I can’t explain why it’s not one of the best; it simply isn’t.

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Travelling through the #MCU: Phase 3 #CaptainAmerica #CivilWar #DoctorStrange #BlackPanther #Thor #Ragnarök #Avengers #InfinityWar #AntMan #Endgame @hannahjk1 @karengillan

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In an earlier post, I pointed out a few things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”) that I really enjoyed. Since that post, I’ve started to watch the entire MCU in movie-chronological order: Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, etc., and will continue through the entire MCU that’s on Disney+ or otherwise available to me. This probably excludes the Spider Man movies and the Incredible Hulk.

There’s been so much ink on these topics that it’s rather pointless to try to leave an impression. These will be short observations of the things that either I liked the most about them or suspect many people didn’t really notice. I’m going to avoid most of my major dislikes. There’s no sense in raining on anyone’s parade (including my own). In case you have the time, I found it fun watching these movies knowing where these characters wound up.

Captain America: Civil War

Like all the MCU movies, I liked this one. It wasn’t even close to the bottom of my list, but it doubled down on the ridiculous trope that I mentioned while discussing Ant-Man. I get that the world governments want to have a say in how the Avengers operate, but I find it frustrating and incredulous that people can characterize them as the bad guy because of the damage done.

I get that Cap had a 70-year shift, but it’s still weird to fall in love with someone, never really get over her, then knowingly date her niece. It’s better than Leia kissing Luke, but still. . . .

The scene when the cops came to arrest Bucky seemed to be a mix of the Daredevil fight montages and a Jason Bourne car chase.

More foreshadowing: Vision spending time with Wanda.

It made no sense for Cap to shift his arm when he’s trying to hold down the helicopter. Well, not from a physics perspective.

I love the nodding from the VW Bug. 🙂

Introducing two new MCU characters (Black Panther and Spider Man) for the big fight was a great idea considering their upcoming movies, but Black Panther’s “I don’t care” ran a sore point into the ground for me. The established Avengers should have had a little more trouble throwing punches at each other. Every single shot should have taken something out of each of those characters. For example, Black Widow and Hawkeye joked about still being friends after the fight. That’s fine, but when Wanda threw Black Widow with her red goo to save Hawkeye, they should have cut to Hawkeye’s face giving a look of concern. Such a quick, subtle, but powerful moment of pain would have given us a better appreciation of what was at stake for these friends. Instead, it reminded us that no one was actually going to die. We knew that, but good filmmaking allows you to forget that. The Russo’s seemed more concerned with action than the characters themselves. It wasn’t terrible, but it could have been much better.

Paul Rudd looked as surprised as the rest of us when he grew. “Does anyone have any orange slices?” Rudd was perfect casting for that role. There’s a lot of perfect casting going around the MCU.

I never noticed that Howard Stark recognized “Sgt. Barnes,” which of course made perfect sense. Such a tough moment.

Well, Stark finally put the suit on, and we saw what happened. Of course, Cap had some help, but I’ll bet my money in Vegas on anyone who can punch metal repeatedly without hurting himself.

Doctor Strange

Shit’s about to get weird. Even weirder than a talking racoon.

I should just copy and paste, “Arrogant jackass,” about 30 times in a row here, shouldn’t I?

The Ancient One’s reluctance to teach Strange seems, well, strange in light of her conversation with Banner in Endgame.

The visuals in the mirror dimension were stupendous.

I still cringe at the horrible attempt at comedy in which the Cloak of Levitation wipes away Strange’s tears.

“Oooooo, that’s funny.”

I really hope Mordo comes back as a villain. The most interesting villains are the ones that think they’re heroes, and Chiwetel Ejiofor is one hell of an actor.

Black Panther

A friend commented that he thought the world-building in Wakanda was great. I agree, though I think a lot of the MCU movies do so, just in different, non-literal ways. Perhaps in Black Panther is more pronounced because the world-building you see is relatable. It shows a world that we’re all waiting to see.

If you’re watching these movies in movie-chronological order, this one should absolutely come before Doctor Strange. I can’t think of a single reason why Marvel suggests Doctor Strange to go first. Black Panther takes place one week after Captain America: Civil War, and one post-credit scene in Doctor Strange is a preview from the very next film, Thor: Ragnarök.

The one thing I didn’t like about this movie was that they determined their king via fistfight. It’s bad enough to have people lead just because they’re born into a royal family — I know that opinion’s not going to sit well with certain real-world cultures — but to have them fight among themselves to determine who’s on top? How stupid.

Ulysses Claue is such fun character. Even though he’s a horrible crook, his lack of respect for the danger he’s in makes me laugh. I wish he hadn’t died.

“I’m kidding. We are vegetarians.”

“Whassup?”

Those hovercraft are reminiscent of the “whale ships” that Thanos uses.

Someone on my Facebook wall argued that Marvel films are formulaic. I don’t think that’s fair. There are only seven basic plot structures in all of storytelling. To that extent, everything is formulaic, but applying that as a criticism unfairly diminishes the contributions of creators. There’s still something new being added when a good creator creates. There’s one consistent theme in comics that does annoy me, and it’s present here. The enemy too often mirrors the protagonist. Kaecilius is just an evil sorcerer, Abomination is just another Hulk, and Killmonger is just an evil Black Panther. That’s a theme I’d rather they break except where it makes sense for other reasons (i.e., the Winter Soldier). Perhaps it makes sense here because of the strong theme of family in the movie, but in general this is the only way in which I see the MCU films as formulaic in a bad sense. Otherwise, Black Panther is like most of the MCU films: It carves it’s own path. As I said, the world it builds is different from what we’ve seen elsewhere. It focuses on a culture that we don’t normally see as the focus of American films.

Thor: Ragnarök

Like Winter Soldier, this is another movie that won’t leave my watchlist just because of this mass-viewing of the MCU. I’ll watch this one over and over again.

This is the Thor that I love. Thor is my favorite MCU character because I have always been fascinated with mythology, and most especially Norse mythology. The character of Thor is supposed to be dimwitted, which gets him into trouble, but never prevents him from busting his way out of it. This is that Thor, and Hemsworth continues to play him perfectly. This is one of the more quotable MCU films as a result. But then they had to ruin it for me by making Hela the sister of Thor. 🙂

Great use of the Immigrant Song.

“Tex-ass.”

As a fan of the theater, I’d like to see the entire Tragedy of Loki of Asgard on stage with those specific actors. 🙂

“Father.”
“Oh, shit.”

Cate Blanchett was ridiculously good.

Why kill off the Warriors Three, two of which so unceremoniously?

Elephant in the room: Why does Sparkles have any sensitivity to electrical jolts at all? That compliance device shouldn’t have worked at all.

Okay, enough criticizing one of my top three MCU films. Good stuff only from here . . . but Thor should have been a redhead.

Jeff Goldblum is even better than Blanchett.

“That’s exactly what Doug used to say. See you later, new Doug.”

The fight scene with the Hulk was huge. It proved that Thor had continued his evolvution into the strongest Avenger (as it should be). Hulk got in only one legitimate series of shots against Thor. All others came from the Grandmaster’s cheating or Thor’s reluctance to fight, which is a virtue in and of itself.

In contrast to Black Panther, they got royalty right in this one. A bad queen shouldn’t be allowed to be queen. Birthright is bullshit to anyone that believes in democracy or a republic. Maybe gods can live up to otherwise unrealistic ideal of a truly benevolent dictator, but when they don’t (and humans never do), revolt! Shuri got that, but only because T’Challa was family. Thor said it best: “Technically [you] have a claim to the throne . . . but it can’t be you. You’re just [beat] the worst.”

My cousin, John, is right. Thor should have never gotten his eye replaced.

I love that Fenris was able to pierce Hulk’s skin. We’ve gone cosmic. The most powerful creatures you meet on Earth aren’t so extraordinary out there.

Again, great use of the Immigrant Song. “Valhalla, I am coming.”

Bullets, laser beams, magic, and spears all in the same movie.

Is Hela really dead? Did you see the body?

That’s a really big ship.

This after-credits scene comes close to beating shawarma, but not quite.

Avengers: Infinity War

Despite the advice of the above-linked page, I believe you should watch this before Ant-Man and the Wasp, so I did. That’s how they were released in the theater, and it made the end-credits scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp so good.

So, we had an entire movie in which Hulk wouldn’t go away, and now we have an entire movie where he won’t come out. I wonder how that’s going to resolve itself in Endgame? 🙂

Lord Voldemort (Ebony Maw) is a total suck up.

In terms of acting in general throughout all his roles, Tom Hiddleston probably did the best job of anyone in the MCU.

The most annoying character in the MCU is Pepper Potts.

Doctor Strange calls someone else a douchebag? Even more amazing, it sticks?

“You know you can’t eat dumbbells, right?”

More examples of how Nebula is the character who grows the most of any MCU character, and thus exemplifies one of the central themes of the MCU. No character has a longer journey of redemption.

I don’t think the Star-Lord, Drax, and Mantis should be a match for Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange. I’ve heard that Drax is far more powerful in the comics, but that’s not my frame of reference. This brings up something that’s bugged me about the MCU. They never seem to get the power curve right. It makes no sense that a character that’s a match for Thor and Hulk is also a match for Black Widow and Hawkeye. Sometimes they explain it (e.g., Thor’s deterioration in Endgame), but for the most part they handwave it. It makes writing scripts easier but feels wrong to me.

“Why is Gamora?”

Improvised line. Bautista did such a great job.

14,000,605.

And I thought my family was screwed up.

I’ve admitted my bias for Thor, but I can’t think of another character entrance into a scene that even comes close to Thor’s arrival in Wakanda. It still raises the hair on my neck.

I know it’d be a cheap line, but I still wish Spider-Man had responded, “Well, actually, arachnid; specifically: Araneae.

Star-Lord is directly responsible for the Snap. In all 14,000,605 realities, he was a dumbass, and that’s why Black Widow, Vision, and so many others are dead even after the Hulk Snap. This isn’t a criticism of Star-Lord, of course, because he’s not real. The screenwriters shouldn’t have thrown the character under the bus like that. That said, it is the kind of thing he’d do.

The power curve problem rears its ugly head again. Why are Black Widow and Okoye able to put up a fight against Proxima Midnight, who’s a cosmic character that otherwise can give Scarlett Witch and Vision so much trouble? It doesn’t add up (and neither does the prior scene where Black Widow, Captain America, and Falcon best her and Corvus Glaive).

I can’t look past the fact that Wanda is in a relationship with a robot. I like my toaster, but don’t like like it.

When Thanos reversed time to bring back Vision, did he create an alternate timeline? If so, the timeline we were watching the entire movie isn’t the one we watched as the movie ended. I’m always a little bugged by infinite timeline stories. Even the infinite happy endings are nullified by the infinite unhappy endings that necessarily occur. The reality we’re shown is arbitrarily chosen by the director, but I can’t ignore all the other ones in which the protagonist loses. I know they’re there.

If Thor wasn’t the most powerful Avenger, he is now. It’s clear Thor is my betting favorite to beat Thanos without Infinity Stones. He almost beat him with the stones. The explanation the Russos gave was that Thanos was taken off guard, but Stormbreaker still made it through. Thor’s a badass who’s PTSD and depression weaken him so that he doesn’t overpower Thanos in Endgame.

In case you didn’t read it elsewhere, Groot’s final “I am Groot” translated to “Dad.”

Great job, Thanos! You killed half the population, leaving the other half to double itself fairly quickly (less than 50 years for humans)! What, you don’t know how exponential growth works? Maybe you should have killed of 99% of sentient life. Dipshit.

The post-credit scene foreshadowed the return of Captain Marvel. The fact that she’s been away from the MCU for so long (in movie-chronological order) now matches the fact that it’s been about 25 years since she was on Earth. It has a better feel to it. That alone makes watching these in movie-chronological order the right way to go. Streaming is awesome.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Why did Janet van Dyne age as much as Hank Pym? According to everything we’ve been told about the quantum realm, time passes much more slowly; specifically: 1 hour in the quantum realm for each year in the normal world. Janet was stuck down there for 30 years, so she should have aged just a little more than a day. It would have saved a little bit of special effects money to have cast a younger actress in the role.

Marvel should sign Michael Pena to a lifetime contract.

I loved the casting for Ghost. At the risk of getting a little creepy, Hannah John-Kamen’s eyes are haunting. That’s the best word for it, but she also did a good acting job, so yeah, great casting.

Quantum entanglement?

ThatWord.png

Walter Goggins is also really good casting. Very few can do sleezy like Goggins.

21 ft. v. 65 ft.. Easy joke, but it worked.

“You can do it. You can do anything. You’re the world’s greatest grandma.”

If Scott Lang went to the quantum realm to get particles to help Ghost, but was stuck there for 5 years, what happened to Ghost? I’m sure the answer depends on 1) whether Hannah John-Kamen signs another contract; and/or 2) whether a future storyline can use her. There will be a Ant-Man 3, so I guess we’ll see.

When Janet tells Ghost, “Your pain; I can feel it,” I fully expected Ghost to respond with, “What do you know of my pain?”

Jonn.png

That mid-credits scene just made you want to see Endgame even more.

Avengers: Endgame

I’ve beaten this dead horse quite a bit on this blog and on social media, but damn, that scene in the ship with Tony and Nebula is the best bit of acting I’ve seen in the MCU. Karen Gillan took over. Expressing confusion by what it means to have a friend, play a game, and have fun, and then giving the last food to Tony and making sure that, when he dies, he dies as comfortably as possible rather than on a cold floor, all with only two lines of dialogue (9 words and 3 grunts) and facial expressions buried in makeup. It’s almost like she’s taken over the entire MCU without anyone in the real world noticing.

“I thought you were a build-a-bear.”
“Maybe I am.”

If Scott kept the van (seen in the Avengers facility camera footage), why was he walking through town and at the monument with his stuff in a wagon? Why wouldn’t he leave that stuff in the van?

Namor should be the villain in Black Panther 2.

I’m with Scott Lang. Professor Hulk freaks me out too.

“Shit!”
“Shit.”

“Somebody peed my pants, but I don’t know if it was old me or baby me. Or just me me.”

An idiot and his tacos.

At the start, Fat Thor was a funny joke, but once it became obvious that his condition was based on depression and PTSD (Hemsworth’s acting was great), they stopped making jokes and handled it quite well, even overtly stating that he was still “worthy.” However, much later in the movie, Thor asks, “Do you know what’s running through my veins?” Roadie answers, “Cheeze Whiz?” That wasn’t a funny joke, especially considering the moment. Suddenly they went back to making jokes, and at that point it was punching down. Funny joke, but not a good move.

The explanation for time travel was crappy to start, and I bet some just gave up and didn’t fully understand it. That would be too bad. The time travel explanation they used was actually the best one to use to justify fixing things. Assuming they chose instead to go with those movies and TV shows, I don’t think killing baby Thanos would be a bad thing.

“. . . the chick with the antenna . . .”

I read something online stating that past-Gamora and past-Nebula were fighting Beta Ray Bill’s species in the fight scene where the two first appear. Considering there was originally plans to include Beta Ray Bill in Endgame, that would make sense. I really hope he’s in Love and Thunder.

“Hail, Hydra.”

The Ancient One says that taking the time stone from her would wreak havoc on her reality. Assuming that’s true, didn’t Thanos’s Second Snap create major issues for the movie’s reality? Did we really have a happy ending? As for the Ancient One’s reality, isn’t it destined for its own Snap, followed by its own Thanos Second Snap wreaking havoc on her reality anyway (assuming a best-case scenario where Thanos loses for her reality as well)? If so, wouldn’t giving up the time stone to another reality do far less damage to her reality, preventing any of the snaps from occurring? Am I saying “reality” and “snap” too much? This whole plot is so riddled with scientific and legal issues that it was impossible to get right. (After the Snap, would Tony still be a billionaire?) I don’t mean to shit on the movie (which I loved); I just think this is a lesson in just rolling with it. After all, as I said above, the time travel explanation they used was the best one to use.

“I’m totally from the future.”

It was a great moment that Thor really needed.

“So, he’s an idiot.”
“Yeah.”

Roadie has no idea.

The music playing when Steve saw Peggy through the window is an excerpt from This is My Choice, which was from when Steve went into the ice.

Hulk did his snap, and Clint’s wife, Laura, immediately called him. Did Clint keep her phone line alive for five years? Okay, I know. Just roll with it.

All those portals opening to start the big battle was awesome (“on your left”), and it was amazing that they were able to have such a huge battle but give everyone their individual moments. With an army that large, though, I think there’s be far too much cross-chatter on their coms. The funniest part of that battle was Paul Rudd punching one of Thanos’s whale ships. Not Ant-Man, Giant-Man, or Scott Lang, but Paul Rudd. I just find that funny.

“Your choices were him or a tree.”

They should have included both deleted scenes in the theatrical release (i.e., Tony in the Soul World and everyone taking a knee upon Tony’s death).

I’ll mention it again: when all was said and done in Endgame, Tony finally completed his evolution. He made the sacrifice play, laid down on a wire, and let the other guy crawl over him. I thought it quite fitting that the music played at his funeral was thematically very similar to the music from when Steve rode the plane into the ground. But, ummmm, couldn’t they have brought him back to life with the Soul Stone? Never mind. Don’t answer that. Just roll with it.

They signed their names on the credits? Star Trek VI, baby.

What’s Next?

I dunno. Watching the Star Wars movies, maybe? Nothing I’d blog about though.

I throw in this list as a suggestion for movie-chronological order, which differs from what’s suggested by Marvel itself (again, omitting the Hulk and Spider-Man movies). The difference is that Doctor Strange follows Black Panther, and Ant-Man and the Wasp follows Avengers: Infinity War. YMMV.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain Marvel
Iron Man
Iron Man 2
Thor
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man
Captain America: Civil War
Black Panther
Doctor Strange
Thor Ragnarök
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Avengers: Endgame

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Travelling through the #MCU: Phase 1 @chrishemsworth @twhiddleston #CaptainAmerica #CaptainMarvel #IronMan #Thor #Avengers

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3

In an earlier post, I pointed out a few things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”) that I really enjoyed. I don’t think the MCU gets the credit it deserves. Sure, everyone likes the sound and visuals, but no one expects these films to win acting or directing Oscars. I’m not sure that’s fair, but I digress. Since that post, I’ve started watching the entire MCU in movie-chronological order (Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, etc.) and will continue through the entire MCU that’s on Disney+ or otherwise available to me. This probably excludes the Spider Man movies and the Incredible Hulk.

There’s been so much ink on these topics that it’s rather pointless to try to leave an impression. These will be short observations of the things that either I liked the most about them or suspect many people didn’t really notice. I’m going to avoid most of my major dislikes. There’s no sense in raining on anyone’s parade (including my own). In case you have the time, I found it fun watching these movies knowing where these characters wound up.

Spoiler alert, I guess?

Captain America

In my last post, I spoke about the music. I love the music in this movie. I also loved Captain America’s team, the Howling Commandos. It’s a shame that, by design, they’ll get no more movies. I don’t think they could head up an entire (commercially successful) movie on their own, and their story with Captain America is done.

Captain Marvel

Like everyone else, I loved the Stan Lee tribute and his cameo.

I love that they made the Skrulls sympathetic. It was an interesting twist even for an MCU fan with no appreciation of the comic books, though I know that it was a twist for those that do. It also made for a good story, and I’m happy that the Skrulls are going to continue to play a role in the MCU (see Spider Man: Far from Home).

Iron Man

Some time ago, I read an article pointing out that the entire twist in Iron Man was given away in the opening scene. Knowing that the average American doesn’t speak Urdu, the scene showed Tony’s captors giving their demands in that language. As a result, many people overseas had the movie ruined for them. Duh.

Most interesting is how well this movie has aged despite being the first MCU film. The only thing tough to watch with this movie is the complete disregard for the laws of physics. But hey, you must suspend your disbelief in order to watch a superhero movie.

Iron Man 2

This is my least favorite MCU movie, but all its faults get a pass because it’s part of the larger story. I liked Howard speaking directly to Tony in the video. Tony’s realization that he was, in some sense, wrong about his father was handled well. I also loved Pepper and Tony’s “married couple” fight towards the end when Pepper learned Tony was dying. This despite Pepper Potts being the most annoying protagonist in the MCU.

Thor

When I was a kid, I wasn’t into comic books, but I was very much into mythology. The Norse legends were my favorite, so it shouldn’t surprise you to know that Thor is my favorite Marvel character. Origin stories are always tough, but I still love this movie. Maybe it’s my bias, but with Marvel going cosmic, perhaps this is the second most important movie in the first couple phases (next to Iron Man). Though Thor should be a redhead (damn it!), I thought the character was well-treated. At the risk of getting ahead of myself, his development through all three solo movies and the Avengers movies led him from a spoiled brat to the strongest Avenger, and with Ragnarök he finally became the near-invincible, dim-witted character I know from mythology (more on that later). It had to start somewhere, and this was a good start. A lot of this comes from Chris Hemsworth’s performance, which was stellar throughout. I hope he plays Thor forever.

And is there a better villain than Tom Hiddleston’s Loki? I also like the fact that Loki was a frost giant, which is consistent with his character in mythology. I did find it weird that his father was Laufey. In mythology, his mother was Laufey, and his father was Farbauti (though there are sources that don’t attach Loki to either).

Moving onto the movie itself, I do have a couple of issues. First, it seemed odd that Odin was ready to hand over the throne to such a dipshit, but it did make Thor’s banishment more profound. Second, why didn’t Heimdall get punished for helping Thor go to Jotunheim? Third: “Oh. My. God.” Worst. MCU. Line. Ever. Fourth: “Son of Cole.” Favorite. MCU. Line. Ever.

As for the music, it was appropriately majestic considering that the movie was dealing with royalty.

The Avengers

This was also an important movie in the MCU, as it was the first ensemble movie. Thor wasn’t nearly as powerful as he should have been, but he needed to be weak enough so that he didn’t trivialize the plot.

Shawarma. I know it has a lot of competition, but it remains my favorite end-credits scene in any movie.

And then there’s this guy, the biggest hero in the movie without a superpower to speak of.

Old German Man.png

One criticism: As soon as the nuke hit the mother ship, all the Chitauri dropped dead, as did all the “whale ships.” The entire enemy force just collapsed. I know this dead horse has been soundly beaten, but I have different questions. Why was there still a rush to shut the portal? The threat was gone. Why couldn’t they give Stark as much time as he needed to fall back to Earth? Why couldn’t Thor fly through the portal, attempt to find Stark, and bring him back? The answer, of course, is “drama.”

What’s Next?

That’s it for now. When I have some time, I’ll be moving on to Phase 2, which includes (in order) Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: the Winter Soldier (my favorite MCU film; expect a long discussion), both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. GotG2 isn’t actually Phase 2, but I’m watching these using in-movie chronology, so watching in phases isn’t quite going to work.

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Follow Tom Hiddleston on Twitter @twhiddleston