Marvel-ous Day 4 (Part 1)

June 27, 2020 at 4:07 pm (Reviews, TV/movie review, With a list)

Spoilers. Obviously.

This is where Phase 3 officially begins. It’s eleven movies long rather than six (like Phase 1 and 2).

***CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) Disney +

One-sentence summary: Running low on baddies, the Avengers fight each other.

It’s always fun to see the Avengers working as a team. It shows their maturity that they sit down and discuss the Sokovia Accords (whether or not to submit to the UN as their boss or to continue being their own special force that answers only to themselves) without yelling or punching each other—for ages.

Oh no. Peggy is dead. Of course Steve is one of her pall-bearers.

We meet King-In-Waiting T’Challa aka the Black Panther. Moments later we see him almost save his father’s life.

The Winter Soldier is framed for blowing up T’Challa’s father. T’Challa swears to kill him.

Bucky goes to Steve, even though he isn’t yet 100% sure who Steve is. However, they fight together against a force of armed men and then against the Black Panther, who no one (including the audience) has seen before. The Falcon joins them. War Machine breaks it up, which is when the Black Panther takes his mask off for the first time.

The Avengers split into two sides:

Captain America, The Winter Soldier, The Falcon, Hawk-Eye, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man.

Iron Man, Black Widow, War Machine, Vision, Black Panther, and also introducing Spider-Man.

(Hulk and Thor are in space at the moment.)

This is a stealth Avengers film, and I’m not complaining. Also, a lot of scenes of tormented but recovering Bucky is absolutely fine by me.

*

So just now our dishwasher did that annoying thing where juuuust when you think it’s finally finished and you can watch the TV in peace, it starts up again. I had a brief Iron Man-esque moment when I said, “I hate you” and it switched off. But it was only for an instant; a completely normal pause in its normal operations. OR WAS IT????

Yeah, it was. I’m not that manic, or that tired, or that disconnected from non-comic reality. Ten and a half movies to go.

*

Oh man, the scene when Tony Stark takes Peter Parker (a teenage fan) into his bedroom, locks the door, sits on his bed, and blackmails him into joining his NON-ESSENTIAL fight? So incredibly problematic. That’s pretty much exactly how predators work. And yeah, recruiting a teenager for this is classic Stark irresponsibility but seriously? Yikes.

On the other hand, every second of that sweet child (Spider-Man) on screen is precious. So precious, I kept watching too closely for too long and as a result I burnt my popcorn. I blame Stark for that too.

*

And then there’s the airport scene, which is what everyone remembers about this movie (especially Spider-Man making friends with everyone, because he can’t help himself, and Ant-Man turning enormous). And Natasha betrays Stark and lets the others go.

Unfortunately, War Machine gets badly hurt (of course he does almost all his physio and recovery off-screen and gets magic legs, but it’s still unusual for any superhero to suffer consequences lasting more than a scene).

Stark discovers that Bucky really was innocent of this movie’s bombing, and goes to help Captain America and Bucky make sure there aren’t any more Winter Soldiers. There aren’t, but then Stark is shown a video of Bucky (clearly not himself, but certainly his body) killing Stark’s parents. And Steve admits that he knew about it.

So Iron Man rips off Bucky’s metal arm and he and Captain America have their epic one-on-one fight.

Steve: He’s my friend.

Tony: So was I.

….

Tony: You don’t deserve that shield. My father made that shield.

…so Steve leaves it behind.

 

Then, later, he writes a letter saying that if Stark needs the other half of the Avengers all he has to do is call and they’ll be there.

We all know this storyline is all about the classic game of smashing one’s action figures together. But actually, it’s an excellent movie and even though Stark in particular makes bad choices, it makes sense in the moment. It’s been thoroughly established that Stark has major issues and is often driven by fear. This is the guy that made Ultron, after all. And he and Pepper are broken up, so he doesn’t have her handling him as she does so expertly. In conclusion, I’ll allow it.

You know what? The Captain America trilogy is on a par with the Iron Man trilogy. Which, like so much of this entire saga, is incredibly impressive.

Post-credits scene 1: Bucky gets put on ice, for safety reasons, in Wakanda.

Post-credits scene 2: Peter Parker is explaining his black eye to Aunt May while carefully avoiding mentioning any superheroes whatsoever.

 

 

**DOCTOR STRANGE (2016) Disney +

Stone: Time stone. It’s green, and currently called the Eye of Agamemnon (worn as a pretty pretty necklace).

One-sentence summary: Dr Strange learns to use his annoyingness for good.

Opening scene has the baddie of the day kill a librarian (oh no!) and rip pages from a book (nooooo!) and even a super cool chase scene can’t fix it.

The visuals get the second star in this movie. It also links it to Ant-Man in my mind, because Marvel was working hard not to become visually generic. And they succeeded. Unfortunately, they didn’t do so well on the personality front. They already have an arrogant goateed genius on their roster, so a lot of this film does feel incredibly generic in terms of the main character (worse, it lacks the fun of Iron Man and of Stark himself). Both actors have played Sherlock Holmes, even.

And they made Bandersnatch Cabbage-patch use an American accent, which is highly offensive.

And although Tilda Swinton was and always will be brilliant, this is the second time Marvel has used a white actor for an Asian character. Not cool.

*

Hey kids, don’t use your phone while driving.

*

Oh! I just realised the first case offered to Dr Stark as he’s driving is Rhodey!

*

And yes, as a disabled person, I’m aware that the visceral horror of physical imperfection is deeply problematic. But I enjoy the fantasy that physical impairment can be turned into superheroism—Bucky’s prosthetic arm, Dr Strange’s magic, etc.—even though I’m aware that the fantasy itself is problematic. I like the element of truth buried inside it: yes, being disabled does make a person stronger in other ways. (Unfortunately most of that strength has to be spent in pretending to be normal in order to get by socially and financially. Still.)

*

And then there’s the iconic moment when The Ancient One pushes Dr Strange’s Astral form out of his physical form…

…followed by an extremely trippy second trip into the astral plane.

Followed by Dr Strange, kneeling and wind-blown, saying, “Teach me.”

*

His powerful, opinionated, and affectionate cloak is iconic. I’ve seen a whole lot of glorious cosplay of Dr Strange featuring beautifully-made red cloaks, and I hope to see plenty more.

*

The time manipulation of the final scene is beautiful and unique, and the most iconic part is Strange annoying Dormammu into leaving our dimension. Excellent.

Post-credits scene 1: Dr Strange chatting with Thor (while magically refilling his beer as he drinks it) about Loki aka “a worthy addition” to the list of major entities that could threaten this dimension.

Post-credits scene 2: Mordo (payed by Chiwetel Ejiofer) is evil now. I imagine he’ll show up again in another movie (although he doesn’t show up within Phase 3).

 

***GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017) Disney +

Opening scene is fun, as we see Peter’s parents and know the dad is alien. It’s very gently ominous.

It’s amazing to me how often I have utterly forgotten the actual opening scenes of these movies, but vividly remembered the second. I think it’s a deliberate strategy: draw people in with a solid scene, then bowl them over with a brilliant one. That’s definitely the case here, as the second scene is one of the greatest of all time.

There’s a bit of bickering, re-establishing character, and then a fabulous fight versus a tentacled beast. Fun on its own… but baby Groot (and the way all the other characters are keeping one eye on him during the fight) blasts this scene into the stratosphere.

I had to pause it while writing this, because I couldn’t bear to miss a second. There are a thousand still shots that are joyful, kinetic, hilarious, and just as poster-worthy as this one:

And let’s not forget his own epic fight with a rat-like thing.

Drax is iconic in this scene too.

The soundtrack of Guardians continues to be exquisite, and the combination of 80s pop and technicolour space adventures is a beautiful thing.

*

The golden people are deliciously hateable.

*

Another Howard the Duck cameo. (He also appears—just—in the final battle in Avengers: Endgame.)

*

We see a lot more of Nebula (aka the green meanie), and her journey to redemption begins here.

And this film is where we meet Mantis, the empath.

From here, the Guardians gang is two members bigger.

*

I’m resisting the urge to quote virtually every line of this film. It’s so good, you guys.

*

Yondu’s character gets a whole lot more complex in this film, and gets three iconic moments in a single film:

-The scene with his arrow killing just everyone, to the tune of “Come a Little Bit Closer”

-“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”

-His surprisingly touching death and funeral.

*

Ah, sibling relationships. Scenes of Gamora and Nebula attempting to kill one another are always so relatable.

*

And in the final wonderfully psychedelic battle, poor Rocket attempts to teach Baby Groot a simple sequence of steps that are necessary to save the universe. And sweet little Groot just can’t remember NOT to push the button that just kills everyone.

And all this adorableness, highly marketable cuteness, and hilarity is also relevant to the theme of family and (particularly in this movie) fatherhood. Quadruple-duty writing for the win.

Post-credits scene 1: The ‘good’ ravager practising controlling Yondu’s arrow, and accidentally hitting Drax in the next room.

Post-credits scene 2: Other ravagers getting back together and deciding to “steal some shit”.

Post-credits scene 3: The gold-skinned high priestess invents “Adam” to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s comics-famous, but hasn’t appeared within the MCU yet.

Ooh, and Jeff Goldblum’s character from Thor: Ragnarok appears in the credits too, for those who are paying attention (or who, like me, glance up at just the right moment—after having seen future movies).

Post-credits scene 4: Sullen teenage Groot getting told off by Peter Quill. Beautiful (and preps us for teen Groot next movie).

Post-credits scene 4: David Hasselhoff saying, “We. Are. Groot.”

Post-credits scene 5: Stan Lee’s rambling old man character getting snubbed.

Clearly, the writers had too many cool ideas. I’m not complaining.

*

I’m still going strong today, but I’ll release my Phase 3 reviews in groups of three. Since I actually started these last night, I’ll most likely have another three-movie post later today (for the most flexible possible definition of “today” ie before I sleep).

1 Comment

  1. Summary of a Saga | crazy talk said,

    […] 3 (part 1, part 2, part 3 aka Infinity War, part 4, part 5 aka Endgame, part […]

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