Franchise Fever: MCU Part 3

Hello, Weirdos. My apologies for the delay on Part 3. I’ve been working on some other projects which I can’t wait to share with you soon. Also, in an attempt to shorten things up, I reduced the categories within each film to keep post concise. Check it out and share your thoughts below.  

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Director: Anthony & Joe Russo.

What Holds:  For me, the difference. Having watched all these in a row they started to become repetitive. But Winter Soldier was a breath of fresh air. More focused than the first Cap. and since the origin was established, it was able to tell an interesting story. At times it was different enough to the point it almost didn't feel like a Mavel movie, but instead resembled a spy/espionage film. 

What’s Weak:  Alas, at its core it was still a Super Hero movie. In the end there was a big plot to cleanse the world which ended in a massive city destroying battle. And nothing was at stake. They tricked us to thinking they’d actually kill a main character. Nope. He came back right on cue: right after Black Widow did her Mission: Impossible face reveal. Another weak point was when Cap. and Widow got blown up in that bunker. That entire place got demolished to the point they were now at ground level, but they’re good because they hid a couple extra feet lower. 

Final Thoughts: Strongly written, and fantastically directed by the Russo brothers made Winter Soldier shine. Pierce was an interesting, sadistic, behind the scenes villain, and Redford played the role with charm--almost enough for you to like him. The Winter Soldier himself was interesting as well. He was mysterious and, well...a badass. Even having watched it multiple time, the part where the Winter Soldier caught Cap.'s shield was still cool. Steve got more development which started in The Avengers as far as things not being as black and white as they used to be. He begins to have to question himself and why he was fighting. We also got to see him dealing with the past in a grounded way. He went to Vet. meetings and visited Peggy. Also, Hydra returned and made Rogers question everything he had done. Always interesting, and continued to to build the multiple film arc.

In Comparison: For me, this was in the top three of what I've watched thus far; up there with Iron Man and The Avengers. It had more interesting villains than half the franchise, and strayed slightly from the Marvel format.

Guardians of the Galaxy:

Director: James Gunn.

What Holds: The visuals were stunning. And as with The Winter Soldier, Guardians was different. Took us off Earth and presented us with another branch of this massive universe. And the make-up was amazing. At times I would forget it was make-up because the characters resembled what otherworld characters might resemble.

What's Weak: The plot itself was basic. Luckily the journey was what kept this picture entertaining.

Final Thoughts: Guardians of the Galaxy was fresh and fun. It took tropes from previous MCU films and toyed with them. Each member of the GOTG got bits of development throughout (even the talking tree) which gave the film depth and emotion.

In Comparison:  As Marvel shifts its focus from gritty and grounded to comedic, more family friendly, and fulfilling the giant story arc, Guardians benefits by being a comedy with action versus an action flick with misplaced comedy.

Avengers: Age of Ultron:

Director:  Joss Wheden.  

What Holds: I liked the idea in the beginning that the Avengers were going on missions we werent privy to. There was no set up, we were thrown into the middle of an outing. Along those lines, I thought them celebrating together worked to show them bonding and becoming a team.

What’s Weak: Nothing was at stake. No one got hurt or died that we cared about. Sure Quicksilver died, but he spent half the movie being a villain, and that was more or less a plot device for the Scarlet Witch's character arc. Also, Ultron could have been interesting, but instead he felt like an unfleshed out idea. It was as though the writers didn't know if they wanted The Office James Spader or The Blacklist James Spader. At times he was intimidating and scary. Other times he was doing deadpan comedy that didn't land with me.

Final Thoughts: Avengers: Age of Ultron felt like a filler episode of a TV show—there to let us know what the characters were up to, but with having done little for the overall plot. Ultron was self-contained. Tony created a problem, then Tony and the gang fixed the problem. We got Vison and Scarlet Witch out of it, which is cool, but outside of that it didn't do much.

In Comparison: Ultron was as though you were a kid at school walking to your table with your tray in hand and you tripped and spilled your milk. After you spilled your milk you cleaned it up and that was it. Where as the original Avengers was comparable to you walking to your table at lunch and a group of kids from another school came in and started a food fight.

Ant-Man:

Director: Peyton Reed.

What Holds: All the characters worked. Maybe one member of the heisting crew could have been cut, but outside of that no-one felt like fluff. Since this film had a lighter tone (no one is trying to destroy the world, or humanity, or the galaxy) the comedy worked better than in previous films. Marvel was able to poke fun of themselves with this one. The biggest example being the "epic" toy train battle.

What's Weak: Formulaic. Marvel knows how to do an origin story. A classic hero's journey. And in true Marvel fashion our hero battles a bigger version of himself in the end.

Final Thoughts: Ant-Man was a straight forward introduction to a new character. While nothing new was brought to the table, Ant-Man was able to make an entertaining story of redemption.

In Comparison: Middling. Not at the top of the Marvel chain since it didn't present anything fresh from a storytelling perspective, but not at the bottom either since there was character development and an interesting angle.

Thanks, as always, for checking out Franchise Fever. I have already watched the next set of movies which includes Captain America: Civil WarDoctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Part 4 will be coming shortly! Let me know your thoughts on any of the MCU films. Keep on Creepin'.