The Good, The Bad, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron

I finally saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and while it’s very good it definitely wasn’t Marvel’s best film. I’d rank it 4th or 5th in my ranking of the Marvel movies,. It was still a damn good blockbuster and being in the top five Marvel movies makes it better than most movies. Here are my thoughts on the movie.

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Marvel: Don’t let Spider-Man Go to Your Head.

We’re all excited Spider-Man is going to be in Marvel Cinematic Universe starting with Civil War but the link to the io9 article brings up some good questions.

“How much creative control does Sony have? Does Marvel have any input into the Sony-produced movies? Can Sony use parts of the MCU in return? Will the studios skip the origin story this time around?”

Let’s not forget an important fact, Sony still has the rights to Spider-Man, this is just an agreement and until we get more details who knows if they can pull out on this deal at any time. I mean, what did we learn from Sam Raimi about making a Spider-Man movie, and we’ll probably here this about Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the coming years, Sony executives can’t keep nose out of the creative process when it comes to these movies. The fact that their still going with that Sinister Six movie they have planned, although will probably now have Spider-Man in it, doesn’t make me feel any less cynical about this.

The other part people should remember, if Marvel Studios had the rights to Spider-Man when we started this business of a shared universe, and hey let’s throw the X-Men in there too, we probably wouldn’t have Iron Man, Captain America, Thor or the Avengers. At least, not yet.

Before Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. brought Iron Man to the big screen he was not a popular character or a big draw. In fact, the Avengers only a resurgence in the comics, thanks to Brian Michael Bendis, three years before the first Iron Man movie came out.

Also, I’m sure a lot of people have forgotten but nobody thought the first Iron Man movie was going to be any good. Statements likes Downey Jr. being washed up, Jon Favreau being inexperienced with directing, Iron Man not being a viable character were thrown out there. Marvel Studios success and all their plans were relying on this movie and all because they couldn’t rely on their biggest characters.

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So when they announced Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel, three films I am far more excited for,  were pushed back my first reaction was definitely pessimism.  Sure, Kevin Feige has the whole three movies a year rule but until I hear or read from him that this was the reason for the push back I can’t get the idea out of my mind they did this to please Sony.

Think about this, if Marvel had Spider-Man from the beginning we probably never would have had Guardians of the Galaxy. I mean, which movie would you make? Another Spider-Man film or who the hell are the Guardians of the Galaxy? Yet that movie, in my mind, was far superior to any of the Spider-Man films so far.

Here’s my hope for the deal. It goes a little something like this: Sony now handles part of the marketing, makes a big part of the profit, but is otherwise hands off. They get no say on what happens to Spider-Man in his guest appearances and no creative control over the movie because if it was up to them they’d put Venom in every movie and each movie would have 23,095,480,324,587,102,935 characters.

So Marvel Studios, don’t forget Spider-Man didn’t bring you success. It was your less popular characters that did so because you didn’t have a choice. You had to make great movies because you couldn’t rely on the name alone. DON’T FORGET.

Here’s hoping “Civil War” is better in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Reported yesterday, Robert Downey Jr. About To Join Captain America 3 And It May Be Civil War. If you don’t know, the basic premise of the Civil War storyline was a rift between Captain America and Iron Man over how superheroes should be handled. After a very public tragedy Tony Stark joins the government in establishing a superhuman registration act where every superhero must register their secret identity with the government and work as a kind of police force rather than vigilantes. Steve Rogers believe this is a violation of every superheroes civil liberties. Be warned after this there will be spoilers.

Last chance before spoilers.

Last chance before spoilers.

Forget the movies for right now. Let’s just talk about the comic for a minute. When it came out Civil War was a big deal for Marvel and selling very well. In the early 2000’s the Avengers had disassembled, gotten back together and reformed with new members so after all these years of building them back up Civil War had a high potential for exciting drama by breaking them apart again. Here’s the problem, it was so poorly executed.

In the main series Mark Millar claims he was trying to show both side of the argument, you know with Iron Man and Maria Hill acting like fascists, cloning their dead friends whose clone kills another one of their friends, imprisoning their friends in another dimension and generally attacking anyone who is anti-registration. We’re not talking about arresting his friends after a trial, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man planned on imprisoning them indefinitely essentially taking away their civil liberties. Then, at the end, we’re supposed to believe Iron Man is in the right because a bunch of emergency personnel stopping  Captain America from taking Tony out to prevent more bloodshed? It’s such a sloppy ending, trying to put all the blame on Cap like Iron Man isn’t responsible at all for the collateral damage going on. I mean, by the end Iron Man needs to control villain with nanites in order to have people to fight against Captain America and we’re supposed to believe he is in the right?

All the other writers working on their respective titles didn’t help either. While Millar was trying to avoid any one side becoming the underdog in the main title, which I believe he failed miserably,  it was more black and white within the other books. Thinking of it now, if in his mind both sides had a fair point it paints a clear picture of Millar’s politics. Iron Man was clearly the villain and Cap and his team were the underdogs. In the aftermath, Cap ends up being assassinated making him a martyr and Tony is left being the most hated character in the Marvel Universe. It Takes Matt Fraction to make Tony Stark completely braindead and forget all about the Civil War when his brain is rebooted in order to return Iron Man to a more favorable light.

Okay, now onto the movies. Presumably Tony will create Ultron in Avengers 2 as a force for a good to protect the world which will fail. Feeling guilt ridden over this he’ll appear in Captain America 3 to begin the rift between Steve and himself. I’m not sure how they will execute it but this is supposed to lead into a Civil War storyline in Avengers 4.

The problem so far is that out of all the superheroes that exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now, only Daredevil, which has not even been released by Netflix yet, has a secret identity. Tony Stark outed himself in the first Iron Man, Steve Rogers is a legendary WWII veteran, Thor has no secret identity, Black Widow outed herself, Sam Wilson and probably Clint Barton in bringing down S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury is in Europe, Coulson is underground rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Hulk has caused enough destruction at this point that Bruce Banner is probably known.

There’s definitely potential for their to be enough superheroes for a Civil War by the time Avengers 4 comes out. So far we know we’ll have Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, The Vision, Quiksilver, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. So if there are three years between Avengers sequels and Avengers 4 comes out around 2021…

Oh god, 2021? Could they really have long term plans for that long? Will I even care about these Marvel movies?

Anyway, it might be a better idea to have Tony and Steve’s fallout center not around a government legislation as Tony has already proven to not trust the government with his tech but maybe centered around something else, like say, the creation of a killer robot? Maybe that creation of the killer robot is what causes Tony to not trust himself while Steve, due to the S.H.I.E.L.D. fallout from Winter Soldier doesn’t trust the government thanks to Hydra infiltration. Then again, if Tony already doesn’t trust the government I can’t see him trusting it anymore after he learns everything about the Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. scandal.

So there’s potential to have a whole slew of super heroes running around by the time Avengers 4 comes out. For me though, the heroes versus heroes storyline is kind of boring. It may be a trope but I’d much prefer if by the end of Civil War a much larger threat reunites Cap. and Iron Man to take on said threat. That’s just me though.