Hey folks. Nick’s taking a break for Endgame. So to keep this one-Marvel-post-per-day train chug-chug-chugging along, I want to spew my thoughts about the franchise while I have the chance.
I’ve seen every Marvel movie in theaters. I was super young when I saw Iron Man, and I remember being scared by him getting blown up. Fast-forward ten years later, and I haven’t stopped. I was never a huge comic book guy, but I knew the basics – Spider-Man, Batman, Wolverine. My knowledge this whole time comes from judging the movies as movies, and not as prior comic book stories.
I want to talk about three movies in particular – one, my favorite; one, my least favorite; and one, the most disappointing.
Like I said, I wasn’t the most comics-knowledgeable guy, but I knew Spider-Man. The cool web-swinging guy. The Raimi Spider-Man movies were my first entry into superhero movies. And when Tom Holland popped up in Civil War, I was stoked. Holland nails every appearance in the MCU, and his feature movie epitomizes the best qualities of the MCU.
Small, character driven story!
Sympathetic villain (Michael Keaton and Thanos make a total of two)!
Actually funny dialogue!
No world-ending threat!
All that to say, I could watch this movie over and over. While the movie sometimes slows a little bit, some of the jokes don’t land, and the CG-Spider-Man suit is a little obvious sometimes, everything else is so good that it doesn’t matter.
It helps that Tom Holland is by far the most relatable character since Steve Rogers (pre-serum). Rich inventor? Eh. Amnesiac alien pilot? Eh. Actual god? I dunno, I’m not getting it. But as just a high school kid with this gift, trying to do the best he can, it’s relatable.
Here’s my favorite part of the movie, showing just a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Good lord this movie sucks. It had the unfortunate luck of coming right after the jaw-dropping Infinity War, and the differences are astounding. The first Ant-Man, on the tail end of what I like to call the bland era, is pretty entertaining, mailny because of Paul Rudd’s charisma and the few Edgar Wright-ian bits that still remain.
AMATW (alright) has barely any of that. The story feels just…messy. Go here, get that thing. Uh oh, that didn’t go as planned, go get this thing to get that other thing. It’s a roadmap that feels really small, and not in a punny, Ant-Man way.
I like to judge these standalone, non-ensemble movies by asking: “if this had nothing to do with Marvel, would it be a good movie?” (Obviously with some things changed). Spider-Man: Homecoming? Hell yes. AMATW? Not at all. If this movie didn’t have the Marvel Studios logo attached, it would disappear in a blip. Probably wouldn’t even get off of the script in the first place. It feels uninspired, and, kinda like some of the movies from the bland era, only exists because it had to. This wasn’t because someone wanted to.
One other thing I want to point out is the “tech” stuff. Most Marvel movies toe the line between total nonsense and sci-fi, but AMATW goes all out, and because all of the weird tech shrinking and growing is happening so much, you start to question how it all works, which you never want.
The best thing about the movie is the Stan Lee cameo. My absolute favorite in the MCU.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Nick’s review said 100% of what I was going to. Just go read it, there isn’t much more to say.
All in all, I love these movies. Some of them are dumb, or a slog to get through, but the sum – the MCU – is so worth it that it doesn’t matter. For every AMATW, there’s a Spider-Man: Homecoming, or an Iron Man 3. I suppose in that vein, it’s okay for an MCU movie to be less than stellar. It has plenty of predecessors and postdecessor to prop it up.