Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marvel Cinematic Universe-Where are we now?

With Iron Man 3 breaking box office records, I think it’s safe to say that reviewing it would probably be a waste of time. Suffice it to say that the film was full of good ideas, at times to the point where it had a hard time allowing anything really breathe or develop, but the graphics were good, the characters were great, and the big twist was the biggest and twistiest yet. I think now though is a good time to take a second and look at where Marvel is now and where they’re going and how excited we need to be.
Iron Man 3 starts what Marvel is calling their “Phase 2”, the second step in creating their cinematic masterpiece… thing…The thing is nobody has ever tried this before so it’s hard to find a word to call it. Series seems to be the closest fit, but even that doesn't fit exactly. “Phase 1” included (arguably) two Hulk movies, two Iron Man movies, Thor, Captain America and Avengers, most of these becoming box office hits. Avengers alone became the third highest opening weekend hit of all time, making over a billion dollars in its opening weekend. Needless to say, any doubts we had, which were many, have been washed away at this point.
So what makes these films so good? Well the fact is that these films for the most part are just that, they’re good. They’re not really breaking cinematic expectations as far as storytelling, characters or acting, but at the same time they’re not doing anything stupid either. The films are just solid entertaining fil
ms, with likable characters having big expansive adventures in an interesting world. In that sense the films are a lot like the comic books they’re based off of. This is great for comic book fans, since they get the adventures they fell in love with in the first place, and non-fans get an easy introduction into the world.
What about the acting? A lot of people have praised Robert Downy Jr. for being the perfect Tony Stark, but is this good acting or just good casting? If someone was trying to cast an overweight comic book geek with too much time on his hands, I could easily play the role, even though I’m not that great an actor. Don’t get me wrong, Downy Jr. is a really good actor, if you want to really see something great check out the film Chaplin, but it still begs the question: Is he good as Stark because he’s a good actor or because he’s a good Stark? As for the others, the only thing most people know Chris Hemsworth, AKA Thor, from before Thor is briefly being Kirk’s dad in Abram’s Star Trek, and Captain America is formerly known as the Human Torch from the mediocre Fantastic Four movies, so how are they? Well again they both seem to be perfect more because of who they are and not how they act. Thor is essentially Boromir after he joined WWE, and Captain America is pretty much just a BYU student with boxing lessons so there’s not much to do here. On top of that Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner have both worked as Black Widow and Hawkeye, but before the Avengers film they didn't have that many lines. The Whedon touch to the Avengers film is an exception to all of this, however, since Whedon could remake Twilight and make the characters interesting, but again nearly everything these characters do in this franchise is pose in cool super hero poses for the camera, and for that they do a good job.
Here’s my overall point: while the Avengers films are entertaining and fun they don’t have anything else going for them which does put them in a precarious spot. If we've learned nothing from the Schumacher disasters Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, we learn that it only takes a few bad choices to bring an entire franchise to its knees. We can even tentatively compare the Marvel cinematic universe in its current state to Batman Forever, since despite its flaws that film was still fun with a few things for the adults and longtime fans to enjoy, even if Chris O'Donnell was WAY too old to be adopted by a billionaire. Fans had issue with how awful Batman looked (Though I argue that Robin actually looked pretty cool) and how corny the villains were, the one people really hate is Batman and Robin, where they went all out for the wacky super hero adventure and completely ended the series. Marvel’s second wave includes films that seem to put the heroes into darker situations, so they may sidestep the Schumacher thing by going dark instead of light but that may have the same results. Ask around sometime and see how many people you can find that are actually excited to the new Man of Steel film, and how many will take their kids to it over Thor. Dark isn't
My Lego Avengers :)
 always the way to go either.
In the end, I’m not trying to be an internet troll or cause trouble. I like the Marvel cinematic universe. I loved the Avengers and overall like the rest of the films, my problem though is probably that I’m just cynical. I've had my hopes up before and had them dashed by bad decision making, and I ‘d hate for something that’s doing so well to end up being a geek joke in ten years. So by all means get excited, get ready for a fun time with the new stuff, but keep in mind that not even in the Marvel Universe not every story ends in a happy ending.

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