Interesting Realizations

So … it’s been a while since I actually watched Avengers: Endgame and, to my very great surprise, I haven’t had the urge to rewatch it at all. In all honesty, as time has passed and I’ve really digested it, I’ve realized that I actually didn’t like it as much as I originally thought I did. It’s still a tolerably decent flick and, whenever I do get around to watching it again, I’m probably going to fast-forward to some of the more exciting scenes – Worthy Cap remains my hands-down favorite scene – but I’ve come to that uncomfortable realization that some of the stuff in it sort of fell flat for me.

For example:

  • Black Widow’s death makes no sense when you think about the Rules of the Soul Stone. In Infinity War, a superior flick, IMO, they establish that Thanos has to sacrifice what he loves … but Natasha commits suicide so Clint can’t, which means this it doesn’t quite track. I’ll have to rewatch the bit in Infinity War to confirm that this is the rule, but I’m pretty sure it was.
  • Cap’s return to Peggy just breaks his character for me. There’s no way he would just sit on his hands, knowing that his best friend is being mind-screwed and is going to murder a lot of people, including Tony’s parents. I think, in my head-canon, the last scene of Endgame where Steve is kissing Peggy isn’t indicative of their marriage, but just a quick stop-off on his part before he continued on to finish returning all of the other stones. Peggy marries the dude she was kissing at the end of her show and honestly, I’d prefer Cap to end up with Natasha anyway.
  • And how did Cap get to the planet for the Soul Stone or, for that matter, back from it?
  • Restoring everyone who was wiped out by the Snap five years later is kind of a mess. Imagine: Jack and Jill are happily married and Thanos Snapped Jill out of existence. Jack grieves for a couple of years but manages to move on when he meets Jane, whose husband John was Snapped away. They fall in love, get married and Jane is expecting a child … and the Snap is undone. Now Jill and John are back, having lost no time and their spouses are with someone else! Or what about Tom, who was in the plane that Richard was piloting. And then, Richard was Snapped away. The plane crashed and Tom died … but where does Richard return when its undone? That’s a mess…
  • And don’t get me started on Fat Thor. Ugh. It seems like they turned him into a joke so as to further ensure Carol (aka Captain Mary Sue) is highlighted as the most powerful…

Eh. The whole thing was sloppy and that just makes me sad.

And not very optimistic about the next phase of the Marvel movies. We’ve got Captain Marvel with her short haircut, old man Steve Rogers and Falcon-Cap, does that mean Fem-Thor is right around the corner? I want someone to point out to Feige that all of those changes failed 

Alas…

Avengers: Endgame Review

Wow. Just … wow. Ten years has led to this and … in the end, it was pretty damned awesome.

Yes, I have quibbles. I ultimately didn’t like the very last scene (which was a flashback) and thought it was unnecessary, and there’s a Grrrrrrlllll Power moment during the big, climactic battle that irritated me to no end, and they had the same problem with Carol Danvers that Justice League had with Superman, but apart from that, I really enjoyed it.

Plot descriptions can be found online – hell, you can find it on Wikipedia – so I’m not going to rehash all of that. So I’ll break it down into the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Amazing.

Good

The opening scene with Hawkeye at a picnic with his family and they’re all dusted (though he doesn’t actually see them disintegrate; he’s looking away when his daughter goes and while he’s looking for her, the rest of his family goes) … just oomph. That was brutal. Professor Hulk (aka Banner’s brain in Hulk’s body) was hysterical. Once again, the humor. All of the amazing callbacks to the previous movies. They got Frigga back, and Secretary Pierce, and the STRIKE team with Cap in an elevator with them, and so on and so forth. Beautifully done.

Bad

As stated, I legitimately didn’t like the final scene which is Cap & Peggy dancing in the past. The movie basically has Steve return to Peggy (post-Agent Carter) and apparently marry her where he lives out his life with her. This doesn’t work for me because it means he sat by while the Russians used his best friend as a mind-controlled assassin who ultimately kills Tony’s parents, or Hydra infiltrating SHIELD, or his new friend Natasha raised to have red in her ledger by the Soviets, and all that other bad shit … but he did nothing? He just let it play out? In Civil War, we have that exchange where he talks about not being able to let a situation go south without intervening … yet I guess he was able to do it okay as long as he got laid by Peggy (who, admittedly, is hot.) For that matter, how is it that none of her co-workers (like Howard Stark, for example) actually meet him? Keeping Old Man Cap in the final scene is fine, but drop the flashback so we don’t know who he lived out his life with (even if everyone knows it was Peggy). I was also not a super big fan of how they killed off Nat at Vormir even though I went into it prepared. Would have liked for there to be some sort of way to bring her back like they did with Gamora, even if she’s still “Evil Nat” or something … at the same time, though, I do appreciate that they killed off two of the original Avengers … and they ain’t coming back. The Black Widow movie is evidently a prequel (which means they did the same thing to her that they did to Han Solo: whack her, then give you a prequel movie with her.)

And while I was admittedly pleased that Carol Danvers was barely in the movie – she showed up in the beginning to rescue Tony, then accompanied the team that went to find post-Snap Thanos, then had a brief cameo in the middle and finally showed back up at the climax – it seems clear to me that they’re not quite sure what to do with her yet. Put simply, she’s too powerful. Look, I love Superman when done right, but Justice League Supes wasn’t – once he showed up, the fight versus Steppenwolf was done, and Carol is like that in this movie. She is literally able to take on Thanos while he has an assembled Infinity Gauntlet and overpower him. This makes no sense to me. She gained her abilities via one Infinity Stone in the form of the Tesseract (I can’t remember which one that was and can’t be bothered to look it up.) He had six. He should still be curbstomping her. But … grrrrrllll power is even greater. I dunno … she just felt shoehorned into this story and honestly didn’t add anything to it.

Ugly

And speaking of Grrrrrllll Power. Seriously, there’s a scene in the big battle where all of these powered chicks form up to rush the Iron Gauntlet to Luis’ van, and it is sooooo cringeworthy that it literally made me wince. I legitimately don’t understand how anyone can look at that sort on nonsensical pandering and not be offended. Fat Thor is also pretty rough, although once he summons his armor, he actually looks pretty badass, extra gut and all. Seeing what the Gauntlet did first to Thanos, then to Banner, then finally to Tony? Brutal.

Amazing

Captain America … wields Mjollnir during the big battle. And OMFG, it was freaking awesome. He’s got his shield and Mjollnir! I was literally cheering when Mjollnir jumped back to Steve’s hand for the first and he kicked much ass with it. Not quite enough for me, a certified MCU Cap fanboy (even if I find Chris Evans eye-rollingly dumb at times.) But it was glorious.

So ultimately … yeah, I’m going to watch this again and likely love it just as much. I’m not quite sure where I put this movie on balance just yet, but it is definitely an A- or B+ for me.

MauLer’s review of & My Thoughts on Captain Marvel

Yeah. Sounds like I made the right choice in skipping this mess. Just watching this makes me think some thinky-thoughts about how I think they should have made it. Note that this is pretty much all stream-of-consciousness and would obviously need some more in depth thinkage about various plot points.

  1. First. Recast. Brie Larson is flat-out wrong for this character. Carol should actually come across as tough, not … this. Katee Sackhoff would have been 100% better.
  2. Do NOT set this in the 90s. She should never meet any of the characters back then, particularly Fury. So they couldn’t screw up his awesomeness.
  3. Begin in media res during Thor: The Dark World. Carol and Monica Rambeau are Air Force pilots who are responding to the insane portal stuff that is going on. They are sent tumbling through different portals and Carol crashes…
  4. She wakes somewhere else and discovers that Mahr-Vehl has saved her life. He reveals that they had to make some bio-enhancements to her to ensure that she survived, so she is faster, stronger and tougher than she was before. As this is a post-Avengers setting, she should make a comment about them turning her into Captain America … which they do not get. Mahr-Vehl acknowledges that they had to ensure she was not one of their ancient enemy…
  5. Mahr-Vehl is an older character – I’m thinking mid-50s to early-60s – but in tremendously awesome shape. He knows of Carol’s species because of certain Kree experiments in the past, a clear reference to Inhumans. Eventually, it will be revealed that Mahr-Vehl has been effectively exiled to this world to stand as a sentry or protector or defender – Carol could inject “Avenger?” during this as a reminder that they’re running around at the moment.
  6. Eventually, Carol should be well enough to want to go home, but Mahr-Vehl will reveal that she is stuck here. There is no way off this world because it is “outside reality” (or something like that) and is used to watch for a great and terrible destroyer of worlds that left this galaxy long ago but could always return. The powers that Mahr-Vehl has at his disposal should let him stand against this entity, though they have never been wholly tested and that’s just a theory.
  7. Skrulls attack the Kree community and many are lost. Carol witnesses firsthand the level of power that Mahr-Vehl has at his disposal, but then also sees the toll it takes on him. He reveals that the power he has comes at a cost – it is tearing him apart from the inside (cancer callback to the original Mar-Vell’s death) and the Nega-Bands (rename?) he wears helps him keep this cancer at bay. But one day, it will kill him, leaving the Kree scientists on this world defenseless … unless he can find a proper successor. (Obviously, he’s talking about Carol and she should be smart enough to know this fact.)
  8. Training montage as Carol learns about becoming Mahr-Vehl’s replacement, along with hints by various scientists to her that her human side should prevent the same fate from affecting her … although this will eventually be revealed to be a lie. Also during this, Carol should start noting things that indicate the other Kree (not Mahr-Vehl) are lying to her about stuff. None of them buy this whole destroyer of worlds thing; they’re here to study Mahr-Vehl’s abilities and try to harvest them when he dies. And he’s here because he offended the Supreme Intelligence by not being a mindless drone but rather being a truly honorable dude.
  9. Eventually, Carol discovers that her close friend, Monica, also survived the portal trip but appeared in a different part of the galaxy where she was taken by other Kree … who are experimenting on her! Also, Carol should learn that there is a way to escape this world … but the Skrull have it. So she tries to defect to them…
  10. Mahr-Vehl is given instructions by the Supreme Intelligence to capture/kill her for … reasons, and he swears to do so without actually swearing to do so. Exact words and all. Something like ‘I’ll stop her or die in the process’ with his actual intent being ‘die in the process’ because his arguments with Carol have reminded him of who he was before he was exiled here.
  11. Surprise reveal: the Skrull are as big of scum as the Kree and they use Carol as bait to capture Mahr-Vehl, then blast him with some doo-hickey that mostly strips him of his powers. He and Carol must now fight side-by-side against a “super” Skrull (to establish the precedent should future MCU Fantastic Four want to use this.) In the process, Mahr-Vehl actively sacrifices himself to save Carol, thus ensuring that she is the receptacle of the his abilities … and this should be hideously painful for her, revealing the need for the nega-bands.
  12. Carol kicks some butt (but clearly doesn’t fully know how to use her abilities). She wins clear of the Skrull … then is promptly attacked by the fricking Kree! Both sides kind of suck. She escapes the planet (should be narrowly) and finds herself in space … this part is problematic, I think. Maybe makes more sense for there to be some sort of pseudo-Stargate thing that she can power up with her abilities that takes her to the Kree homeworld? Even then, she’s going to be surrounded on all sides by enemies so … maybe have Mahr-Vehl have provided her with coordinates to Nova Prime …
  13. Oh. Yeah. She needs to arrive at Nova Prime after Thanos has attacked (pre-Infinity War). And then she needs to learn that he’s going after Earth (maybe through John C. Reilly’s character from Guardians of the Galaxy?) That would be a decent ending to the flick, I think.

And then, the stinger. Back on the planet Carol just escaped, one of the Named Kree who survived is picking through the wreckage when an alarm begins sounding. S/He reacts and looks up in horror; to another Kree, she reveals … its coming. The devourer of worlds is coming! (Guess who the big bad of phase 4 to 5 is?)

RIP Stan Lee

Saw that he passed away today at the age of 95. While it’s sad that we’ve lost him, 95 is a very respectable age. After his wife passed last year, I figured it was only a matter of time before he went too since they were married for seventy years. Seventy. Man. They were married for longer than I’ve been alive…

He’ll be missed, that’s for sure. I’m just glad he got to see the amazing movies based on his work…

Excelsior, Stan!

Captain Marvel trailer

So … it doesn’t totally suck but neither is it especially good. If I had to pick a word for it, I’d use … underwhelming. I’m still not sold on Brie Larson – she has, it seems, exactly one expression and that’s not even taking into account that she sounds 12. I maintain that Katee Sackhoff would have still made a better Carol Danvers, though I guess the fact she’s almost 40 now makes her too old in the MCU eyes.

And how sad is it that I’m more excited to see Young Nick Fury and Young Phil Coulson than Captain Marvel?

Avengers: Infinity War Review

Yesterday after work, I saw “Avengers: Infinity War” … and I freaking loved it. Honestly, I’m unsure how to review this without spoilers, but I’m going to try (and then I’ll review it with spoilers). So … here goes.

First, it’s frankly kind of amazing they managed to get this far. Ten years ago, Iron Man came out and from that, we’ve added a gajillion movies of varying quality – as much as I loved A:IW, I still think Captain America: The Winter Soldier is hands-down the best movie in the MCU – and so many of them have led to this. They teased Thanos in the first Avengers movie, but this is the first time we’ve seen him in action and boy, does he deliver. If you saw Thor: Ragnarok and sat through the credits, you likely know how this movie begins and within the first 20 minutes, Thanos is definitely established as a force to be reckoned with.

Second, it’s kind of amazing that the directors – the Russo Brothers, who did The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War – managed to handle all of the characters without seeming to short-change many. As a big Cap fan, I did notice he was definitely not as prominent as one would expect – ditto that with Black Widow and Falcon – but he had several moments of pure awesome: there’s this quick little bit in the Wakanda fight that’s all over the trailers where he and Black Panther are sprinting ahead of everyone else and it’s wicked cool (also very evocative of The Incredible Hulk (the one with Edward Norton that is actually part of the MCU) when the Abomination (can’t recall his civvie id; the guy Tim Roth played) is still human and races ahead of the soldiers. There are like a billion characters in this movie – no Hawkeye or Ant-Man (though they’re both mentioned) – and they juggle them really well principally by splitting them up into smaller teams. Off the top of my head, I think there is just one bit with a single Hero character where they’re by themselves and even then, Thanos is there so …

Ultimately, this is Thanos’ movie. He’s essentially the main character in this flick though Iron Man and Thor are also very prominent and are likely the characters with the second most screen-time. Since it’s Thanos’ movie, it basically becomes … well … it’s sort of a chase movie. Thanos is moving to seize the Infinity Stones because he’s basically a radical environmental nutjob who wants to wipe out half of the life in the universe so all of the universe’s resources won’t be consumed. Meanwhile, there are various teams are arrayed against him as they try to stop him. Keep in mind that two heroes have stones – Doctor Strange has the Eye of Agamotto which house the Time Stone and Vision has the … Mind Stone, I think? in his head. So naturally, they’re going to run afoul of him.

I’m unsure at this point if it was just the theater I saw it at, but the visuals were really dark at times so it was difficult to fully understand what was happening during at least one action scene I can think of. That said, it could have just been the mediocre theater – I’ll amend this after I see the movie a second time in a far better one. There was also a few instances of strange CGI for me, principally around Thanos himself – sometimes he just looks … weird, which admittedly probably should be the case for a giant purple alien dude with a weird-ass chin.

This is also a very fast-paced movie. A friend of mine who went with me to see it has already griped about the timeline not quite meshing for him, but I think that’s nitpicking because it was intentionally meant to feel fast for urgency’s sake. There are several major action set pieces in this – there were … five, I think? Maybe only four – which has really big fights. From the trailers, you can identify three of them easily – New York with Iron Man & Doctor Strange; Wakanda with Cap, Widow, Panther, and all the rest; the alien planet with Iron Man, Strange, Spidey, & the Guardians vs Thanos – and they’re all fairly well done with some genuine “Oh, crap … are they really going to …” moments throughout. There are also a couple of … let’s call them minor skirmishes along the way that don’t quite count as full-on action pieces, but exist to push the narrative along.

I was also surprised with how adeptly the Russo brothers juggled the humor. There’s still the trademark Marvel jokes scattered throughout – Thor consistently calls Rocket “Rabbit” and it’s funny each time – although I will admit that there were a couple of moments (principally surrounding Starlord’s initial attempts to out alpha male Thor) where it sort of fell flat for me, but overall, it was pretty solid and amusing.

And ultimately, this movie definitely does not end with the usual “The good guys kick a lot of butt and then soundly defeat the bad guy(s).” I’ve seen people refer to this as the Empire Strikes Back of the MCU movies and yeah … it does have that kind of vibe. Some people have mixed feelings about how this ended but knowing that Avengers 4 comes out next year and is basically Part 2 of this, I’m satisfied.

So overall, I loved this movie. I give it a solid 8.5 to 9 out of 10 (points off for some weirdness with the CG in a few places, a couple of failed jokes, and the darkness on the screen … which admittedly may have been the crappy theater.) It is, IMO, one of the best MCU flicks they’ve made mostly because Thanos lived up to his rep…

And now … SPOILERS…

You’ve been warned.

Seriously. You’ve been warned.

Upon your head it be.

Right. Okay. Where to start? Plot sequence? Nah. You can get that by going to the wiki – I will make some comments about the various sequences though and am following along with the sequence:

We pick up right where Thor: Ragnarok ended, with Thanos & Co. having butchered a bunch of Asgardians – no sign of Valkyrie, so we don’t know if she kicked it or not – because he’s here for the Tesseract that Loki nabbed from Odin’s vault in T:Ragnarok. This leads to the funny callback to Avengers 1 only this time it is Loki saying “We have a Hulk” – that was pretty cool, though seeing the big green guy get thoroughly demolished by Thanos pretty much set the stage for what was to come. I actually wasn’t that surprised when Loki was killed but Heimdall’s death did catch me a little off-guard.

As a fan of the original Infinity Gauntlet comic, I was amused by how Hulk replaced the Silver Surfer in crashing into Strange’s Sanctum with the “Oh, crap! Thanos is coming!” bits. Stark is quickly brought into the story – I was a little unclear about his exact status with regards to Pepper; this seemed to imply that they’re married now? That sort of fits with Spider-Man: Homecoming & the ring bit at the end, but again, I wasn’t sure if Strange’s brief “Congrats on the wedding” was supposed to be a “Hey, I can peer into the future & I know you’re getting married” or if they already tied the knot. Going to presume the latter.

Anyway, this quick recap – Banner: Thanos is coming! Thanos is coming! We’re all doomed! – leads to the first major set piece in New York as well as the reveal that Banner can’t seem to transform back into the Hulk. This was never explained, so I’m just presuming that Hulk is terrified by Thanos after being curbstomped by him. Spidey gets involved – nice way to involve Ned, however briefly; I really liked their friendship in Homecoming so seeing it again was cool – and this led to the Iron Spider suit … which was rather interesting to see. Not something I would want him to wear all the time – honestly, I liked the Stark-built suit in Homecoming but would have liked most of the tech in it stripped out somewhat. So now Iron Man, Spidey, and Doc Strange are off-world…

I think we jumped to the Guardians here … may get the exact sequence confused so some of the stuff may be out of sequence. I was really impressed with how well the Russo brothers managed to emulate the tone of those movies with this bit. Funniest background event for me here was after Starlord told everyone to put on their “mean faces,” Mantis could be seen behind him making a positively TERRIBLE “mean” face which totally tracks with her character. Intro Thor who survived the prologue & then everyone admiring his awesome muscles while mocking Quill. This leads to another quick data-dump and is where some of the comedy fell flat for me with Quill trying to out-macho Thor. It fit his character, but still, it just didn’t quite work for me. The team splits up – Rocket (who Thor calls and keeps calling “Rabbit” through the rest of the movie, much to my hilarity) and teenage Groot go with Thor to … Nidavellir (had to look up the spelling) so he can get a new hammer while the rest of the Guardians go to Knowhere in an attempt to retrieve the Infinity Stone that Odin (or was it Loki Disguised as Odin? Not sure) sent to the Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World.

Jump to Scotland where we reveal Vision & Scarlet Witch are a couple. This was a nice callback to the comics where their counterparts married. Two more of Thanos’ “children” show up and kick them around a bit … until my boy, Cap, shows up with his work-wife & their flying sidekick. Nice, quick fight here that highlights how utterly badass these Secret Avengers are. I really, really liked the quick displays of teamwork they showed – honestly, I kind of want a short movie that just has them kicking everyone’s ass like this because it was neat. They all go to New York where Rhodes is talking to holographic Secretary Ross – nice bit with Ross ordering Rhodes to arrest them all, but him basically ignoring the guy. Banner is back and, as someone who really didn’t like the whole Black Widow/Hulk near-romance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was rather glad they didn’t even bother touching on that more than Nat saying “Hello, Bruce” & Falcon murmuring that this was awkward. What’s awkward, Bird Boy? The fact that they pretty much always had Nat standing alongside her work-husband, Steve? Heh.

Thor ends up with a new hammer – Stormbreaker, which is the name of the hammer that Beta-Ray Bill had in the comics, though this one looks a little more like Ultimate Thor’s version of Mjollnir. The handle is made of Groot arm, which was pretty cool (but does lead to an interesting question later.)

Gamora ends being killed by Thanos so he can recover the Soul Stone – this had a neat (and surprising) cameo by the Red Skull who is now quite a bit older (and sadly but not surprisingly, portrayed by someone other than Hugo Weaving who notoriously loathed the makeup process so badly he said ‘never again.’) Her death later causes problems as the characters on Titan – Stark & Co. plus the Guardians – ambush Thanos with a plan that comes very close to succeeding … until Mantis (who is using her mind powers to incapacitate Thanos while others try to pry the Gauntlet off) reveals that Thanos is grieving & Nebula (blue Amy Pond & Gamora’s sister) realizes that Gamora is dead. This results in Starlord freaking out and punching Thanos … which knocks Mantis free. Things go … poorly from that point. Thanos kicks much ass here, up to and including him throwing a moon at the heroes. Highlight of this for me was that Spidey immediately went into life-saving mode – as I recall, he rescued an unconscious Mantis like four times, as well as Drax & Starlord, which was pretty awesome. Eventually, it came down to Thanos vs Strange (Thanos won), then Thanos vs Iron Man (Thanos won again) – the latter bit ended with Thanos stabbing Stark rather seriously which made me wonder if they’d actually have the stones to kill him off right there … until I remember the set leaks for Avengers 4 that have Stark in them. Strange surrendered the Time Stone to Thanos in exchange for Stark’s life … which leads me to believe that this is part of the “only one good future where they win” that he mentions earlier in the Titan scene.

Finally, the big battle in Wakanda. The trailers that have a bunch of people running forward, including the Hulk? You know, the one that I used on this? They’re a lie. Banner NEVER Hulks out again after getting curbstomped by Thanos early on which is touched on but not explained. In fact, that running scene never happens. Banner is in the Hulkbuster armor though. Some highlights of this Wakanda fight for me are (as stated) Cap and Panther sprinting super fast ahead of everyone else, and then Thor shows up with his new hammer to start curbstomping the enemy army while bellowing “Bring me Thanos!” – Nice bit here. When the Bifrost opens and the lightning starts raining down, Banner pops open his helmet and shouts that they’re all screwed now. He knows what’s coming. And brother, Thor brings the whoop-ass. Another hysterical moment has Rocket (on Earth) and shooting at the bad guys – he’s about to be overwhelmed when Bucky grabs him with his robot arm, then begins to spin while shooting his machine gun in the other arm while Rocket continues to shoot. Very funny.

And then, Thanos arrives. Wanda blows up the stone in Vision’s head (at his request & much to her anguish), but Thanos has the Time Stone now, so he backs it up, then yanks the unbroken stone free, killing Vision in the process. Now he’s got the whole Gauntlet … and then Thor arrives to plunge the axe portion of Stormbreaker into his chest. In a lesser flick, this is literally the deus ex machina (since Thor is technically a “god”) … but Thanos tells him he should have aimed for the head. He snaps the fingers on his Gauntleted hand and teleports away. A moment later, people start disintegrating. Not everyone – curiously, ALL of the original Avengers present in this movie (Cap, Widow, IM, Thor, Banner) survive but nearly all of the other hero characters die. Bucky. Falcon. Groot. Starlord. Mantis. Black Panther. Scarlet Witch (who was cradling Vision’s body and almost looked relieved to be dying.) Drax. Spider-Man. And then in the final scene (after some seriously long credits), Maria Hill and Nick Fury himself!

I actually think they missed an opportunity at the end. Everyone in Wakanda is looking at Cap and saying ‘What happened?’ and he says “Oh, God…” – I think they should have done a callback to the first Avengers and have him say “We lost…” (if you recall A1, when they woke Tony with Hulk’s yell, Steve said “We won…”)

Right. So the casualties. Holy crap, that was a lot of dead people. Now obviously, a lot of them aren’t going to stay dead – Black Panther and Spider-Man both have sequels greenlit so they aren’t staying dead – and it seems clear to me that this is the only way to “victory” based on Strange’s comment, but I figure that all of the deaths pre-finger snap are here to stay. So Loki is dead (which causes millions of fangirls all across the world to scream in anguish), as is Heimdall, Gamora, and Vision. (Don’t think any of the others were killed prior to the finger-snap.) Unclear is Valkyrie (since we didn’t see her in the open)

But yeah. Definitely a downer ending. The Villain won! And a lot of people died.

And it was glorious…

MCU: Incorporating the Fantastic Four & the X-Men

So, I made the mistake of watching X-Men Apocalypse last night and … blech. That was a boring movie. The trailers for it looked so bad to me that I only just bothered watching it and my concerns were clearly borne out.

But while watching it, I kept thinking “How does the MCU incorporate these guys or the FF since they can?” With the X-Men, Magneto is almost required since he’s so closely tied to Xavier (the Malcolm X to Charles’ MLK Jr) but having him be a Holocaust survivor grows increasingly more and more difficult as time goes by. Right now, if Magneto showed up in 2018 and was about 10 or so in the Holocaust, that puts him in his 80s. So that isn’t going to work.

However, it occurs to me that we’ve already got the framework to explain him in the existing movies with Hydra and the mid-credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This one.

It covers all of the needs. Hydra are Nazis, after all, and von Strucker clearly indicates in this scene that they’ve killed a lot of people in their tests – the so-called “volunteers”, all of whom (but the twins) are dead and will be “buried so deep their own ghosts can’t find them.” This is perfect in every way. Imagine the scene: Magneto (recast, but old enough to be the father of Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver) is experimented on by Hydra operatives. He screams and screams and screams before seemingly dying. Von Strucker could totally have a walk-on scene here – the wasting of Thomas Kretschmann in Avengers: Age of Ultron still kind of pisses me off; he would have been an awesome bad guy but they just killed him off for no stinking reason – and they declare this subject a failure. Cut to our recast Magneto buried with a whole bunch of other bodies … but he suddenly wakes up and discovers his magnetic abilities.

And then, Sokovia collapses around him just as he’s emerging from the chaos.

Fast-forward to whatever the present is and bam, he’s ready-made for the modern age, complete with Nazi Holocaust-slash-ethnic cleansing ties.

As to the Fantastic Four, I actually think I’d do thinks a little differently. Have them start out in the 1960s so you can have the whole space race thing present. Play with the whole “Fab Four” Beatles thing as well. I like the idea of John Krasinksi as Reed Richards & Emily Blunt as Sue Storm (let her use her natural accent, so Johnny is also British), although if someone is going to absolutely insist on some ridiculous diversity casting, recast Reed as the black guy so the era – 1960s – explains why he isn’t as well known as Stark. They go for the space thing – maybe a moon shot? – and BAM! They vanish. Everyone presumes they’re dead.

But surprise! They suddenly reappear following a timeskip, now with powers! And the world they return to is drastically different from what they left. And of course, Doctor Doom is done right this time, dammit. FOLLOW THE FRICKING COMICS!

Just thinking out loud…