Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Retrospective: An Introduction

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I may not be the target audience for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I never read comic books as a kid and I genuinely would not know the difference between a Marvel and a DC character.

I guess that would make me a Philistine to many a Comic Con denizen.

Perhaps this is why I have not and cannot join in the fun so many of my fellow critical brethren shared at many a MCU film, particularly the final few of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.  Truth be told, out of the 'Phase Three' of what I call the world's longest and most expensive soap opera, the only ones I have genuinely enjoyed have been Doctor Strange and Black Panther (Captain America: Civil War was so-so for me).

I won't even dive into Marvel Studios' television franchises, though I have heard good things about Agent Carter.  I tried to watch Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I could not muster the interest.

All the intricacies and plot points and Infinity Stones and post-credit scenes are either lost to me or of no interest to me.  I know that these films are connected, but I also know I shouldn't have to bring a playbill to try and sort out not just who is who but what happened "Previously, on 'The Avengers'", let alone have to "stay tuned for scenes from the next episode of 'The Avengers'".

Worse is the idea that I would have to watch one of those short films attached as a special feature to a DVD to understand the nuances of another MCU film.

I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea that people would devote days to sitting in a theater for a MCU Marathon, judging to see which movies to sleep through, possibly not bathing and eating poorly just to laugh at a bad Chris Pratt wisecrack.

However, as I look back at this long, long series which for some of its more devoted followers has marked turning points in their short lives, I have decided to go back and revisit every Marvel Cinematic Universe film as of today, from 2008's Iron-Man to 2018's Ant-Man & The Wasp.

I've already reviewed them, but I saw them out of order, sometimes leaving before the credits finished, with several years between one film and another.  I am an old-fashioned sort, to see a film as a stand-alone project, not the newest episode in this long-continuing saga that makes Wagner's Ring Cycle look like a YouTube cat video montage.

As such, I have decided to watch them all in order, all the way through to the end.  I will examine the following criteria:

The Hero
The Villain
The Love Interest
The Stars
Other MCU Characters
Post-Credit Scene(s)
Stan Lee Cameo
Stand Alone Film or Essentially Another MCU Film Trailer
The Good
The Bad
Final Conclusions

This is independent of a review itself, though I might add a Revised Grade based on my Second Look.

Finally, I will also look back at my original reviews and see whether I still agree with my first impression.

I hope to get through this Marvel Cinematic Universe Retrospective before the year is out.

Iron-Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron-Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The Avengers (2012)

Iron-Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018)

Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Conclusions

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