Why I think It Is Overhyped at The Moment
The newer MCU movies are not that good. There. I said it. I am not calling them bad. They are great popcorn flix but they are not great movies.
I say this because I have a hard time remembering specific scenes or character moments from the more recent stuff but the older ones I can point to things that happened that I liked and characters or character moments that I truly enjoyed. As they progressed Marvel has figured out a formula that works for them. There are some tweaks here and there along the way for each film but nothing too different from one movie to another now. Stylistic and sometimes in the broad strokes of the story nothing is different from one solo film to the next.
The first Captain America and the first Thor and the first Iron Man film are each different types of films. You got a different vibe and a different feel from each movie. Not so much with the final one in each series.
This can in part be attributed to the endless crossovers between each film. So many characters bleed over from Iron Man to Spiderman to Thor to Ant-Man to Captain America to Captain Marvel to the Avengers. In a connected universe crossover is okay, but these crossovers occur to the point that they diminish the focus of the film off of the title character. By the second and third Iron Man, Tony Stark for example seemed to be sharing a lot of screen time with Nick Fury and the Black Widow. In Far From Home, Happy Hogan and the other students on that ill-conceived European road trip plot were sharing a lot of time with Spiderman/Peter Parker on screen. The focus on the title character was lost in both examples.
I am not against a connected universe. That is a great idea and definitely adds to the possibilities when it comes to storytelling, but you don’t need several characters to appear in a movie in order to connect a movie universe. A news report or some mentions by the characters in the movie can connect films. I know this is not technically official but a prime example of a good way to connect a movie universe was shown in the film A Million Ways to Die in the West. It was quick and fast. And did not crowd out the main movie characters.
The first was the brief appearance of Doc Brown of Back to the Future in the town. Seth MacFarlane’s character has a short conversation with him and then Doc Brown adjusts the tarp on the DeLorean. It serves the story and does not overshadow anything. The second was at the very end when Django from Django Unchained shows up. It is a good punchline for the film and again it does not overtake the story with an ancillary character making an appearance. If characters must show up that is the way you do it.
Films are essentially a business and Marvel is trying to do a connected universe so that one film or TV show feeds everything else and they have created a formula that helps feed that business model. And it works apparently financially. I am not faulting them for that. What I am faulting them for is a lack and unwillingness to be creative or to take a risk. These are all nothing but safe movies in the terms of creativity and story.
Reportedly the director that was originally to be in charge of Ant-Man was let go because of the direction he wished to take with that film. I say let the directors and the script writers give the characters and their films different vibes. Let them be creative. I am not saying turn them into god-awful camp like they did with Ragnarok. Just let them do something that the audience will know they will be getting a different film when they see Ant-Man as opposed to what they will see when they get Spiderman or Captain Marvel. Do not be afraid to take risks. Give the audience something different each time.
I mentioned Spiderman earlier. What happen with Uncle Ben? That character and his death has been a major motivation for the character since his inception in the comics but in the current crop of films I am not sure if he’s even been mentioned. Peter Parker is been all about Tony Stark. Iron Man was not much of a factor for Spiderman. He was some guy he looked up to in the comics but not somebody that affected the course of his life in the way Uncle Ben and his STILL UNADDRESSED DEATH did.
And let’s not forget Aunt May. People have said that the casting of Marisa Tomei as the character is more realistic than some significantly older looking woman. Marvel was not trying to go for realism here. They were trying to cast someone that they could insert into more scenes in more movies and possibly market more merchandise over. Do you honestly think that the actress that played her in the Tobey Maguire films would be as marketable as Marisa Tomei? Could they have a similar actress have a romance with another actor from another character’s movie in the way they did with Happy Hogan? Highly unlikely.
Iron Man became a plot device and not a character. He was either helpful and kind or he was just an asshole to hinder the character. It depends on what the story needed. He would show up with tech for Peter or to get in the way as in Civil War. There was no consistency among his depiction there. Was he the villain to create problems or was he the character to provide ways to resolve the plot? Decide something.
I much preferred Edward Norton playing Bruce Banner to Mark Ruffalo. Norton is a better actor. By light years. More importantly his version of the character was a serious take on that of Banner/Hulk. While the Ruffalo version started out serious, by the time Endgame rolled around he was a complete punchline. This serious scientist was used for jokes in that film. The most annoying was when he kept changing the age of Ant-Man while experimenting with time travel. So funny! That has never been done before in a movie or TV show. Edgy. Original. Oscar worthy.
I would not trust Thor to deliver me a pizza let alone save me from anything. At least not the most recent version of Thor. I am not a fan of camp and that is what Ragnarok became. Worse yet it was an example of lazy writing. The second Thor had potential for a very good plot. Loki had change places with Oden. That could’ve been a very interesting story (and something that felt like it came from the comics) but instead in the first 15 minutes or so it was tossed aside for that goofy storyline. I do not care that Oden died in the movie. I care that they dumped a good storyline for the mediocre material we got instead. And Banner was all punchline whiny bitch in that movie.
And Captain America decided to screw with the timeline just to get some tail? I would’ve been okay with him taking a few moments out to tell Peggy Carter everything he didn’t have a chance to say but he went back in time to spend the rest of his life with her and that reality alone does not jive with everything else that happened with his character up to that point. I’m not talking character wise. I am talking about the storyline. There is a lot that the version that traveled back in time had to avoid doing or had to avoid interacting with in order for everything to turn out like it did. In a superhero movie it seriously strains credibility. Methinks they half-assed it on how they wanted time travel to work.
And why does Thor turn leadership of his people over to an individual that ran from everything the moment things got tough? I know at this point based on numbers Valkyrie is a glorified mayor, but you get my point. When things get tough, she runs and hides. That is not a responsible authority figure.
And in the first movie they definitely implied that the Asgard had some type of empire. They were definitely a force to be reckoned with in the MCU. At least as aliens. I was wondering at the end of Ragnarok why they did not relocate to one of their other worlds. What happened? They had no place left to go so they all went to Earth? And what happened to their empire then? Or was Asgard all they really had?
Another irritant for me is they tend to bastardize the characters when they put them up on the screen. As mentioned earlier Peter has a strong obsession with Tony Stark in the MCU. This was something not present to the best of my knowledge in the comics. In the MCU Tony is a father figure to Peter and not just someone he idolizes. There is a difference. Uncle Ben was his father figure and a father figure that he failed. Yet in the current crop of films he is not a factor and someone whose absence doesn’t seem to bother Aunt May. Is there even what could be construed as a picture of Uncle Ben present on the walls in any scene in the Parker residence?
MJ or Mary Jane has no connection to the Vulture in the comics. None. Yet here they created a character like MJ to give the feel of MJ with the initials of MJ that is not MJ. And that is quite possibly the most disinterested girlfriend put on screen in ages.
And then there is the Guardians of the Galaxy. While an enjoyable movie what they put on screen has no relation to what the Guardians of the Galaxy were prior to the film being released or even announced. Marvel has since created a GOTG team in the present day, but the original Guardians were a team of superheroes from about 1000 years in the future of Marvel comics. What was in the comics was definitely something weird. I was excited when I first heard the movie announced but then I was severely disappointed when I found out what was going to be in the movie.
Marvel has reached a point where they do not even need to really try. I present to you Captain Marvel. The most egregious part of that movie was that the climactic end scene between Captain Marvel and Yon-Rogg was just her tossing him in a spaceship and sending him off. That is it. That is on top of shoving it in the faces of the audience every few minutes that it was happening in the 90s. Every other scene was some forced period reference. The music choices were just bad. There was nothing ironic or in any way appropriate to the scene in which they were used. They just happen to be from the time, and they got slapped in the movie. You could have cut out 20 or 30 minutes of that movie in just establishing shots and era references and had a much tighter narrative and better flowing story and still effectively communicated to the audience when it was set.
And why did they take a poop on the Skrulls. The Skrulls are some big bags in Marvel Comics. They are not nice guys but here they were turned into likable refugees. We maybe could have gotten a Secret Invasion storyline but the way they are portrayed now it’s highly unlikely that we get anything close to that. Imagine a movie where nobody may be who you think they are.
This is just how I feel and what I write down here is off the top of my head. I am not saying they are bad movies. I am just saying that they are not as good as some express they are. People are tricked by the spectacle. In a few years whenever that will be when they stop production on these movies, I would challenge anyone to recall a particular scene or character moment from these movies other than Tony Stark’s death. I do not think it will happen. By and large these will be tough to remember films. They are good but they are not great.