Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Part 1

I've been a bit MIA because of school and work and just general craziness, but I'm back and I'm here to talk a little about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I'm not claiming to be any sort of Marvel expert (I leave that to my older brother) but I do have some thoughts, so I'm gonna share those in a series of posts as I watch the movies/shows through again chronologically... So spoiler alert, since I'm giving short summaries of each movie.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Not counting flashbacks and such, this is where the series starts chronologically (it could be argued that the whole movie is just one long flashback, but I'm gonna put it here anyway). World War II and some scrawny kid named Steve Rogers wants to kill some Nazis. However, he's kinda not qualified, because of his long list of medical problems. Meanwhile, a German scientist, Schmidt, is trying to use a weird blue cube (called the Tesseract) that has some origin in Norse mythology to create weapons for the war. Back to America, Steve gets picked as a subject for the Super Soldier Serum experiment. Bibbity bobbity boo. Suddenly, Steve is strong, tall, muscular and basically had the body I wish I had. He even has suddenly gained the interest of the beautiful Agent Peggy Carter with his new pecs.

Fast forward through some embarrassing stage performances, Steve has been named Captain America (for publicity sake) and with the help of Agent Carter, Howard Stark, Bucky, and a select group of soldiers help take down Hydra bases, fighting the evil Red Skull along the way. After a SWEET fight scene, Red Skull accidentally kills himself (or so it appears) by touching the Tesseract. In a last ditch effort to save everyone from the explosives in the plane, Cap crashes the plane in the Arctic Ocean while having a super sad goodbye with Agent Carter. Fast forward 70ish years, and Cap has been found in the Arctic and he's been revived by SHIELD. Yikes. What now? Well, the Avengers.

Random Trivia/Connections:
·         Howard Stark is obviously Tony Stark’s father, having previously been featured (though by different actor) in Iron Man 2.
·         Jenna Coleman, better known for playing Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, briefly appears in this movie as Bucky’s date at the expo. Gotta say that Bucky has good taste in women. Personally, I have a little head canon connecting Doctor Who and Captain America here, but to avoid minor Doctor Who spoilers, I won’t post it here (message me and I’ll be happy to share it though).
·         Captain America had been hinted at for a bit. A prototype of his shield had been seen in Iron Man (when Tony is taking off his suit) and in Iron Man 2 (when Agent Coulson was talking to Tony).
·         Tony held the Stark Expo in Iron Man 2, obviously based off what his father did here.
·         Howard Stark shows a flying car here that closely resembles Lola, Phil Coulson’s flying car from Agents of SHIELD.
            I’ve heard some criticisms of this movie, especially in comparison to The Winter Soldier (odd that a sequel is better liked than the original), but I’ve gotta give some credit to this movie. As far as I’m concerned, it did a great job of setting up Cap’s character and bringing him into our time period. His heartfelt goodbye to Peggy is beautiful and it fits his character well, that he puts humanity ahead of his own “happily ever after” with Peggy. (Spoiler alert) I am very glad that he got to reunite with her in Winter Soldier.

Agent Carter
Last year ABC started a series about Agent Peggy Carter, originally introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger. I don’t have a lot to say on this, but that’s mostly because I haven’t had a chance to watch it. If anyone knows a place online that I can watch it (preferably legally and preferably for free) please let me know.

Iron Man
Billionaire playboy. Not one of my favorite superheroes, but he’s had some character development over the years and I can’t exactly be too upset that he’s the one who got this whole Marvel Cinematic Universe started. This was the first movie in production order for the Cinematic Universe, telling the origin story of Tony Stark, who became Iron Man.

Tony Stark inherited the empire of his father, Howard Stark. While demonstrating some of their weapons in the Middle East, he’s captured. Made out of necessity, Tony Stark made the original Iron Man suit to escape capture of terrorists. Clunky and likely awkward, it’s a far cry from the Iron Man suit we see in later movies, but he didn’t exactly have a lot to work with. After returning home from the Middle East, Tony is preoccupied with perfecting his Arc Reactor to provide clean energy and making a new Iron Man suit.

Throughout all of this, Tony’s assistant, Pepper Potts, stumbles upon some evidence on the computer of Tony’s right-hand man, Obadiah Stane, showing her that he has been selling weapons to terrorists and he set Tony up to get captured. With his own suit, Obadiah and Tony end up fighting, but with Pepper’s help, Tony is able to stop him. In the aftermath, despite Agent Coulson’s recommendation, Tony outs himself in front of a room of reporters as this “Iron Man”.

Random Trivia/Connections:
·         As mentioned before, Captain America was foreshadowed here, when we get a glimpse of Cap’s shield (or at least a prototype of it) when Tony took off his suit. It would be a few more years until we got Captain America: The First Avenger.
·         Also, as mentioned above, Howard Stark, Tony’s father, is seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, working with the US army.
·         The actor for Rhodey changed between Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Maybe someone more versed with Iron Man can tell me why, but I thought it was worth noting. Ever since Iron Man 2, we’ve had the same Rhodey.
            I’m not the biggest fan of Iron Man, but watching this the other month made him grow on me. I definitely disapprove of his morals, but I find his character development interesting. He changes his values in a way, but keeps the same snarky, obnoxious personality… but with a more humanitarian outlook. I enjoyed his relationship with Pepper, which was one of my favorite things about Iron Man 2 (but more on that later).

Alright, that’s all for the Marvel Cinematic Universe for now. Next time I write about the MCU, it’ll be Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, andThor (which all chronologically take place within a week of each other).

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