I’ve talked about how excited I am with Marvel Cinematic Universe plans in a previous post and now that 2013’s part Phase 2 is over, I thought I’d revisit the subject. I have not been disappointed. Spoilers will abound, so read ahead at your peril!
Iron Man 3
Despite, hating Iron Man as a kid I consider the Iron Man movies my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. My deep loathing of the character was soley based on my perception of him being a rich guy with an overinflated ego with parent issues. Granted, none of that has really changed from the core of the character, but Robert Downey Jr. has found a way to make him utterly likeable, without all of the smarmness of the 1990’s cartoon that I watched.
Iron Man 3 opens a little while after the end of the Avengers. Right at the end of that movie Tony makes a move in an attempt to sacrifice himself for the good of mankind. This is a totally and utterly uncharacteristically of him, and the Avenger’s Movie kind of glosses over that. Hulk brings him back to life, Tony cracks a joke about everyone taking the day off and they go eat Shawarma to celebrate. It’s all very amusing. But in Iron Man 3, Tony is left to deal with the fact that he almost died, went through a portal to another demention/part of space, got rid of aliens or whatever and they might be coming back, who knows? So he does what he normally does freaks out, tinkers with his suit and refuses to deal with the issue. His girlfriend Pepper is really at a loss, she tries to be supportive but Tony is in utter denial about what he’s going through so nothing she does seems to help.
Bad guys come, yada yada. We get reintroduced to Extremis as a weapon again, and the bad guy is of questionable ethnic origin, again. Honestly, this isn’t a movie about the hero defeating an external enemy, this is a movie about the hero finally dealing with his internal demons. In the earlier movies we saw Tony switch his alcoholism and playboy behaviour for saving the world, but in the third installment he’s finally forced to stop hiding behind the suit and deal with his life.
The pacing is great, the script is solid, and it feels like a comic book movie. It really sets the scene for what the rest of Phase 2 is going to look like and feel like.
Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
A lot of people are disappointed with this TV show because they expected The Avengers, the TV show. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but that is clearly not what this is about. S.H.I.E.L.D is about bureaucracy in the super hero universe, and it delivers on that.
The first couple of episodes take a while to get going, the characters are unfamiliar and at times the dialogue can be a little clunky. But the scenarios themselves are believeable in the context of the universe. While Iron Man, Thor and Hulk go off and beat the bad guys in a huge cinematic fight to the death, SHIELD agents are the ones who gave them the intel, who do the recon work and who ultimately have to work to put it all back together. For a job that can be very demanding, pretty tedious and unglamorous Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has managed to work a little bit of intrigue, mystery and adventure into the mix. There are a few overarching storylines that they really need to feed into more as I’m struggling to be very invested in them. Because it’s a TV show things move a lot slower too, so relationships that you’d expect to blossom quickly are not. That can be a bit frustrating, but as we’re currently only nine episodes into a twenty-two episode season, I say they’ve got time to work out the kinks.
Thor: The Dark World
Phase 2 is all about character development and I have to be honest, I don’t think Thor really did much growing in this movie. That’s probably because they did all of his growth in the first movie as I think by then the blueprint for The Avengers was already in motion. This movie is still great because we get to spend a lot more time in Asgard and that place is beautiful.
There isn’t a lot I can say about this movie because I don’t know the character very well, and because it was a great movie experience. It’s a filler movie, but not a bad filler movie, so I can’t complain. The tone is a lot more serious than Iron Man 3, with not only the fate of the Earth in peril, but the fate of the seven realms on the line. Thor is the great leader that his father always imagined him to be, yet he cannot fully shed himself of his love for the Earth and the woman he fell in love with there. Loki is an insufferable asshole that has a moment of redemption and then shows his true colours again. At this point I’d liken his character to Shakespeare’s Iago, evil and manipulative for the sake of being so. Loki claims he wants the throne but his actions show that he just really enjoys the mischief.
2014 will give us two more movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Here’s the trailer for Captain America’s new movie.
Topical huh? I can’t wait for this movie to come out.