MCU Theory: Ultron Won #MCU #Avengers @Avengers @MarvelStudios

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So, here’s stupid theory for you, but one that doesn’t turn out to be so stupid in the end (in a meta sense). Short version: Ultron defeated the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This guy doesn’t look like a loser to me.

He did so by imprisoning them in a virtual reality. That’s what we’ve seen played out over the course of the films since and including the first Ant-Man film. There are many issues with this theory, not the least of which is a lack of any hint that it occurred, which is why it’s stupid.

However, this is something that the Marvel elites should keep in their back pocket. One of these days, the MCU will have to be rebooted. When that happens, this gives them a decent way to do so without strictly invalidating what happened in the prior movies. Obviously, none of what we saw really happened, but it was what the heroes really experienced, and there’s at least some logic behind it. What they saw was their opportunity to pass the torch to the next generation so that they could retire in peace. Sure, there were some tragedies, but only enough to maintain the verisimilitude of the illusion (c.f., the Architect’s explanation of the Matrix). Of course, this isn’t as elegant a solution as the multiverse, but it works if you want to use the same actors to do the torch passing. That lessens the blow of rebooting for the crowd attached to those actors.

Still, some of those who saw these movies as kids, teenagers, or young adults would complain, “You’re ruining the MCU!” Yeah, yeah; we’ve seen this before with Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc. fanbases. But much like me now, these people won’t matter at that point. It’s always the younger crowd that has the disposable income, and that’s for whom screenwriters, musicians, etc. create art. If you’re lucky, you’ll turn out like me (in this narrow regard) and just roll with the changes.

<Goldmember voice>”REO Speedwagon”</Goldmember voice>

Try to remember, kids, that the old stuff (Star Trek: The Original Series for me) still exists, and you can watch it anytime you want. The new stuff doesn’t have to be the same (though sometimes it is). If it’s different but still likeable, watch it even if it violates canon. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, and stick with the old stuff. After all, you will also be old at that point. It’s really that simple. Whether or not this theory is used to reboot the MCU after I’m dead, one way or the other you’ll be in my current position. Choose to be okay with it. This sort of thing isn’t your lawn.

Getting old sucks, and it’ll happen to you too.

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Spoiler Free Comments on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever #BlackPanther #Namor #MCU #spoiler #GoodWatch #DerrickBoseman @chadwickboseman @theblackpanther @MarvelStudios

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I saw Black Panther: Wakanda Forever this afternoon. It was fun, but it was more about setting up Namor and his culture than it was about Wakanda itself. The first sequel is usually about the enemy, so this isn’t surprising or a bad thing. However, because they certainly intend to use that culture again in the MCU, it was more of an origin story than you usually get. When you have 2 hours and 41 minutes of movie, there’s time for that.

I’m glad they made the cultural shift for Atlantis to being Mesoamerican. I’ve commented on this blog before about this, and I know I’ve said this to friends: Because Marvel Studios is charting a cosmic direction for the MCU, I’m hoping they pull in more gods to match up with the likes of Thor. I’m a mythology nut, so seeing those characters in their own stories. If they have Thor fighting enemies, why can’t they have Bast, Tezcatlipoca, Osiris, Shang-Ti, et al. being part of the MCU’s cosmic stories?

R.I.P.

The movie did a good job of respecting the loss of Chadwick Boseman. I hope his brother was satisfied. I know he wanted T’Challa recast.

Wakanda forever!

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Inktober for Charity, Day 18: Thanos #Inktober #JDRF #StillBrave @JDRF @stillbrave @KevinBednarz

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September’s series of musical selections is officially over! It’s October! Or should I say . . . Inktober?

Do you remember what happened the last time I celebrated Inktober? No? Well, you’re not going to like it. You’re certainly not go to like this one. You see, a friend posted to Facebook a list of Inktober assignments, and being the smartass I am, I’ve taken on (synonym: stolen) those assignments despite my . . . “modest” drawing skills. Look, mine will be funnier, okay? I’d link to his (which are going to be much better), but he protects his tweets. You’ll have to settle for mine.

He’s drawing for a charity by offering his drawings for sale, the proceeds for which go to the Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation. Noble, but my choice of charity is the JDRF. Unfortunately, no one will buy my work, so until their link breaks, you can directly donate here. Or you can donate to Stillbrave. I won’t get angry. Here are the assignments:

I don’t know all of these things.

<< Prior | Next >>

And here is today’s entry.

Day 18: Thanos

As I said on Day 16, only Star Trek ranks higher for me as a film or TV intellectual property. I thought this one would be relatively easy.

Good gravy, I suck. At least they’d have a hard time suing me for copyright violation.

Before you laugh, try to remember that it’s for charity. Then laugh.

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Spoiler Alert: The She-Hulk Finale #SheHulk #MCU #spoiler #GoodWatch @SheHulkOfficial @MarvelStudios

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Spoiler alert!

I enjoyed She-Hulk immensely. As with every series that came before it, it did a few things that the previous series didn’t and carried with it its own tone. In this case, one of those somethings was breaking the fourth wall. I’m not a comic book reader, but I know that breaking the fourth wall is big in both Deadpool and She-Hulk, so doing so in She-Hulk is being faithful to the comic and not a cheap rip-off of Deadpool. In fact, she did it first. I get all that and have no (more of a) problem with She-Hulk doing it as I do Deadpool doing it. That’s to say that I think it’s overdone but doesn’t ruin either character, TV show, or movie for me.

Once again, spoiler alert!

That said, the final episode of She-Hulk overdid it. Once you get past the marvelous opening, it was ridiculous. The fourth wall breaking was too much. Consider when in Me, Myself, & Irene, Irene asks Hank, “Did you just refer to yourself in the fourth person?”

As you know, there is no fourth person in English grammar. Her point was to say that Hank’s use of grammar to describe a weird situation involving multiple personalities (as Hollywood defines them) was outrageous. In a metaphorical sense, Hank’s grammar was so bizarre that it would transcend known dimensions beyond what we could sense. She used a funny, shorthanded way of saying that and then moved along because all jokes get old eventually. If they linger too much, they quickly become cheap gimmicks that distract from the actual story. This is especially true where the specific way they presented it is screwed up. For example, I didn’t find “KEVIN” either funny or clever (though I did like the line, “Everyone signs the NDA”). I didn’t like the fact that she was supposedly outside of TV land, yet everyone treated her existence as normal or expected. Is she outside the fourth wall or not? That can work with the Monkees, but not with a huge, green superhero that can’t exist in the real world.

Moreover, when Jennifer Walters returned to TV land, she didn’t really get what she asked for. Sure, she got the ending she wanted, but that doesn’t address all her complaints. She was focused on how she wanted the story leading to the ending to play out. She didn’t merely want to win. How she won mattered. She wanted to be the hero, not Bruce. She wanted Abomination to learn a lesson rather than relapse. All we got from that new story was the conclusion with no showing of how exactly it played out to reach that conclusion.

The same could be said about the (ante?)penultimate scene. I don’t want to go all lawyer on you (<– lie), but why did the prosecution drop the charges against Jennifer Walters? The fact that they goaded her, even criminally, doesn’t relieve her of responsibility for her actions (i.e., she can’t justify putting all those people in harm’s way and destroying property as “self-defense” from an invasion of privacy that’s already resolved). Importantly, the script pointed that out! When her coworkers came to visit her in prison, Jennifer defended her actions, and then the attorney continued Jennifer’s story, adding additional facts that pointed out that Jennifer was still culpable. The attorney didn’t have to say that. She could have kept her mouth shut, and everyone would have assumed that Jennifer’s rant had legal merit. All the lawyers watching would have said, “Oh, yeah, drama wins out over law. Got it. We can move forward without complaints.” Instead, they made Jennifer’s culpability the fundamental basis of the episode starting with what was said in the previous episode, but they just abandoned it without explanation. Seriously, WTF? It would be as if She-Hulk were purple in the final scene, and no one seemed to notice or care. Well, I’d notice, and I’d care, and I’d write a post about it.

Wait a second. Purple Hulk is a thing? Okay then, imagine she was orange.

God dammit.

So, this isn’t a matter of me refusing to suspend disbelief in the law or science. If they say, “gamma radiation turns people into hulks,” “everyone’s entitled to one phone call upon arrest,” “vampires exist,” or, “Me, Myself & Irene is a treatise on multiple personality disorder,” I’m 100% on board, but they must stick with those premises. Otherwise, the show becomes an inconsistent and unsatisfying mess. Granted, some issues are trivial things on their own, but combined with everything else, you get a stupid episode without true resolution. The writers were just daring me to find things to dislike about it and left a bunch of things in there for me to find. (Do they think that’s what’s meant by “Easter eggs”?) Also, the structure for the episode can be summed up like this: “Once upon a time — here’s something that didn’t happen — they lived happily ever after. The end.”

So, I didn’t like the ending, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to miss it just because it ended poorly. It was a solid season introducing a fun character that should appear in the movies. Besides, you may not have a problem with the finale. Reasonable minds and all that.

You’re probably better off watching it — warts and all — than not.

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Mythic Watch: Moon Knight @moonknight @MarvelStudios #MoonKnight #MCU #GoodWatch

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So, Moon Knight. Today’s the season finale.

As always, I got up early to watch it.

This isn’t a traditional review that implicitly claims that a show is good or bad based on some make-believe objective standard. I hate that pretentious nonsense. Whether or not you like a movie, song, TV show, or food is purely subjective. Instead, my approach to reviews is to explain why I like what I like and hate what I hate. If what makes me like/hate it applies to you, then maybe you’ll like/hate it too. I say, “maybe,” because there are other factors beyond what I can possibly express, but at least you have a better chance of predicting your reaction.

So, here is the context to understand the place from which my feelings arise:

  1. I grew up reading about dinosaurs and mythology, so anything involving either one of them has an advantage in gaining me as an audience, but are still not all winners.
  2. I’m not a fan of the comic book genre. However, when I was in elementary school, I’d sometimes hang out with my cousin. When it was too hot or cold to play outside, we’d read his comics. I remember them oddly well, but there were very few that grabbed me.
  3. I’m an apologist for comic book movies.

So, what do I think of Moon Knight? I love it. Considering the context given above, I don’t think I need to say much beyond that, as the explanation has already been given. However, I don’t want any of you asking for your money back, so here’s a little more. As with Shang-Chi before it, Moon Knight is opening the door to folklore, legends, and myths of a culture rarely addressed in western media. I’m sure most (non-bot) readers of this blog get that, but for our society as a whole, these other cultures are untapped resources. Disney is just scratching the surface with Egyptian and Chinese cultures. Give me Quetzalcoatl! Give me Shango! Give me Raijin! But please keep Chris Hemsworth as Thor. 😊

I suspect the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is going to have me lose my shit for the same reason.

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One Year!!! #blog #StarTrek #MCU #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #ADnD

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With this post, I’ve posted every day for an entire year. That’s right. The last day that I didn’t post was May 1, 2021. Before that, I was last discussing Key Lime Kit Kat bars.

No wonder I stopped.

This blows away my current record streak.

Nice.

But wait a second. Is this even real? Can the post announcing that I’ve posted every day for a year be the anniversary post itself?

I say yes, and if you disagree, just keep in mind that I posted a bonus post on April 9, April 13, April 19, and April 25, so there have already been over 365 posts in this time without this one. There may have even been a couple more bonus posts, but I’m too lazy to look.

But okay. Let’s give this post some substance.

  1. Star Trek: The Original Series is my favorite Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise is the most underrated Star Trek series, but Anson Mount has overtaken William Shatner as my favorite starship captain.
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite MCU film.
  3. 4th Edition D&D is my favorite edition of D&D.

On another note, today is the first day of May. May is hockey playoffs, college lacrosse playoffs, preparations for the summer, and — most importantly — the month when all the cool people are born. Plus, I was born in May.

So, in 11 days, the streak will die. I want to focus on other things, and consistency hasn’t led to a large number of non-spam followers. Rarely does anyone retweet the tweets linking to these posts (likes merely gauge your footprint, not increase it), and almost all comments occur on other social media platforms, so my streak hasn’t done anything to improve my online footprint (except for a brief moment). Besides, many of my recent posts have been rather lame. If I didn’t have something to say, I’d write anyway, and it shows. I have a few more posts scheduled for this week, some others in my head that will come soon, and a handful scheduled to publish as far out as December. However, going forward, if I don’t have something to say, I won’t say anything. I’ll never feel rushed, and anything goofy will have to be funny enough to be worth sharing.

So, this post counts.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Happy Arbor Day! #holiday #ArborDay #MCU #GotG

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Here’s your friendly reminder that Arbor Day is a marketing ploy of the tree industry to get you to visit arboretums.

Sponsored by Charmin probably.

But this wouldn’t be nerdy enough without . . . .

That should get you nerds on board.

Today, we’re all Groot.

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Improvisation in Avengers: Endgame @karengillan @RobertDowneyJr @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios #MCU #Nebula #Avengers #Endgame

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I move away from the for a short commentary because of an anniversary. Two years ago to the day, I published a long post arguing that Nebula’s character arc in the MCU was the greatest redemption arc in cinematic history. In it, I specifically pointed out how brilliant Karen Gillan‘s performance was in the second scene of Avengers: Endgame. While Robert Downey, Jr.‘s performance was typically wonderful, Gillan acted circles around him and yet doesn’t get the credit she deserves for that scene. I also pointed out that Gillan has the chops to win an Oscar one day (for whatever that’s worth).

I have a friend? What’s a friend?

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article in which Gillan states that that entire scene was improvised. I point this out only to say that the jobs both of them did are all the more impressive.

But especially Gillan’s.

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Once More for Those in the Back . . . . @delverpg @InsideTheMagic #MCU #copyright

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Blog posts cannot substitute for legal advice. If the topics discussed in this post are relevant to a real case you have, please consult an attorney.

Note: This post was written almost two weeks ago, but last Thursday night, this topic came up again with my friend, Stephen Radney-MacFarland. It’s an issue that just won’t die, especially in the gaming industry because of WotC’s ridiculous OGL claims.

I read two online posts in as many days making a persistent claim that continues to astound and annoy me. One article here.

Let me make this clear once again: You can’t copyright a single word.

Yeah, that even includes supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The music can be copyrighted, and the lyrics as a whole can be copyrighted, but not that one word. You may trademark a single word, but the protection for trademarks is different. There’s a lot more flexibility when it comes to using a word that’s trademarked.

I completely understand that you don’t understand copyright law. That’s no crime; it’s complicated. However, if you don’t, you should be asking questions, not making authoritative statements on the issue. I don’t know the first thing about performing brain surgery. I’m not ashamed of that, nor should I be, but the day I give advice on how to perform it, please call me out for those ignorant ramblings.

If you’re making an argument relying on the copyrightability of a single word, name, or title, your argument is legally and logically invalid. If your conclusion is correct anyway, it’s mere coincidence.

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Shang-Chi Re-watch, CGI, and the Eternals @MarvelStudios @shangchi @TheEternals #ShangChi #MCU

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I watched Shang-Chi again Thanksgiving morning before 9 hours of football. It’s still really good. The one consistent criticism I’ve heard is that the final battle is CGI. I don’t have a problem with that at all. In fact, I think the MCU uses CGI battles in a powerful way.

Chinese mysticism is hokey nonsense, but so is Norse mysticism, Greek mysticism, etc. As an amateur student of mythology (and legacy D&D player), I may appreciate eastern mythology more than most Americans, and I can assure you that those stories are a generally untapped resource. The MCU is the perfect universe to capitalize on that resource. Shang-Chi was just the start. If you can suspend your disbelief with superheroes, you can accept giant dragons, hokey martial arts moves, and magic in general, and those things often require CGI.

Some of those stories involve creatures that simply don’t exist in the real world, and to do things as grandiose as the MCU does, CGI is a requirement. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but you’re being a bit unfair if you claim that the CGI dominates the scene. As large as it was (spoiler alert!), the good dragon didn’t win the day. He was defeated. He was about to die. Human beings with whom we can relate, Shang-Chi and Katy, made the difference. If you want to criticize something, criticize that Katy managed an impossible shot with less than one day’s training with a longbow. Many of you have. I’m with you on that.

Side Note: I’d love it if Thor used the Bifrost to take Shang-Chi to visit Shang-Ti in later movies. We’re now dealing with celestial-level threats. We need an Odin equivalent. They should also use Black Panther to introduce Egyptian (Bast) and other African (Shango) mythology.

Tie in with the Eternals?

I had a thought. The ten rings looked remarkably similar (spoiler alert!) to what Phastos used in the climax of Eternals. Moreover, the mid-credits scene of Shang-Chi tells us that the ten rings are a lot older than 1,000 years, and the fact that the MCU has so far faced only titan-level threats, not celestial-level threats, is consistent with MCU characters having not yet dealt with that sort of energy signature. A quick search on Google reveals that my idea isn’t novel, <whining voice>but I wanted you all to know that I thought of it all on my own</whining voice>.

So when does Eternals come to Disney+? 🙂

Shang-Chi and the Eternals were fun. I have high hopes for the next few phases.

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