Tony Stark – Marvel’s Cinematic Masterpiece

“Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” – with four words Joss Whedon defined the character of Tony Stark for a generation.  But it was never the words alone that transformed a b-level character into a worldwide icon and the anchor for a groundbreaking interconnected cinematic universe.  It was the man inside the armor delivering those lines.  While it’s easy to forget, eleven years and twenty-two films in, back in 2008 Marvel Studios was far from a sure thing.  Marvel had sold their most successful characters (Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four) to other studios and was left to make their own movies with their second tier.  Robert Downey Jr. made it work.  He incarnated Tony Stark perfectly, seamlessly blending cockiness and charisma, arrogance and vulnerability, snark and heart.  He presented a character who resonated and who meant something.  He carried the world of comic books into the mainstream on his armored shoulders, all but single-handedly paving the way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  No matter how much brilliance followed in his wake, this is why Tony Stark will always be Marvel’s cinematic masterpiece to me. Continue reading

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Nebula Was Right – or – How Nebula Could’ve Stopped the Infinity War

To get this out of the way first, this post will have spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.  All sorts of them.  Do I still need to give spoiler warnings?  I don’t know.  The movie came out in April.  It’s been available digitally and physically for a few weeks.  But people may still have yet to see it.  Not everyone lives their lives on the Marvel schedule I do.  Heck, last year a student was upset I “spoiled” an episode of Seinfeld from OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO.  So I have no idea what the appropriate spoiler limit is anymore.  But this post will spoil Avengers: Infinity War because, as the title implies, I’m going to explore how the whole thing could’ve been avoided if everyone just listened to Nebula. Continue reading

Could the Infinity Watch Join the MCU’s Phase Four?!?

With Avengers: Infinity War out on DVD last week, I obviously rewatched it the other night.  As I was watching it, a thought struck me that hadn’t before.  I’ve spent a lot of time wondering who will live and who will die? after the dust has settled from Avengers 4 but I haven’t really thought about what will happen to the Infinity Stones?  As I considered this my mind drifted to something I haven’t really thought about since the ‘90s – the Infinity Watch. Continue reading

Growing Up with the MCU: Further Reflections on Avengers: Infinity War

When David and I saw Avengers: Infinity War for the first time opening night, a lot of thoughts ran through my mind.  I wrote about many of them that weekend.  While I grant it was an ambitious event and it certainly stayed true to how a large comic book crossover works in comic books, I wasn’t impressed with how it worked as a film.  I said then and still believe now it’s one of the weakest entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far.  My initial/lasting disappointments aside, I was struck by something I saw in the theatre as the climax of the film was unfolding.  I noticed an inherent power in the film, even if it was a power unable to affect me.

As should be obvious, THIS WILL BE FILLED WITH ALL SORTS OF SPOILERS SO DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR YET.  OKAY?!? Continue reading

Considering the Defenders’ Painful Absence in Infinity War

It’s been a month and change since “the most ambitious crossover ever” hit theatres with Avengers: Infinity War so that means no one is talking/thinking about it anymore.  Haha, I’m kidding…but only sort of.  Honestly, where is the time for multiple viewings and full immersions when we jump from Black Panther to Avengers: Infinity War to Deadpool 2 to Solo: A Star Wars Story to Jurassic Word: Fallen Kingdom all in the space of a few months?  It’s nothing but tentpole blockbuster after tentpole blockbuster, all demanding my total allegiance…for three weeks and asking nothing more from me after I buy tickets to boost the opening box office weekend.  We have no time to savor anything anymore.  But that’s the lamentation for another piece.  This piece is going to examine the painful absence of the Defenders from Avengers: Infinity War as the 4,000,000,000th sign these characters do not, by any stretch of the imagination, live in the same universe. Continue reading

Avengers: Infinity War – Expectations vs. Reality

I wasn’t planning on writing about Avengers: Infinity War for a while.  My post on Black Panther has only begun to form in my mind – there’s so much to explore; I wasn’t certain what I’d say.  However, there’s not as much in Avengers: Infinity War (or rather, there’s a lot of stuff in Avengers: Infinity War but not as much depth) as there is in Black Panther.  For whatever reason, an idea began to form after my first viewing.  Now, two showings in, I’m (surprisingly) ready to talk about it.  HOWEVER – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT – THIS PIECE WILL HAVE ALL SORTS OF SPOILERS SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM YOURSELF.  TRUST ME, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR DESERVES IT.  OKAY?  OKAY.  THANK YOU.  I HATE spoilers but I didn’t want to write a vague, superficial piece.  I think the film deserves more than that too.  So, when the idea came, I decided to run with it.  With that being said, let’s begin. Continue reading

The Irreplaceable Brilliance of Black Widow

In 2010, Scarlett Johansson brought Natasha Romanoff – the Russian assassin turned S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy turned Avenger, the Black Widow – to life in Iron Man 2.  Since then, she’s appeared in seven different Marvel movies, more than any other Avenger save Iron Man (nine) and Captain America (eight (and the only reason Cap beats her is because he has cameos in TWO films)).  In addition to screen time, I would also argue the Black Widow is more important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, story-wise, than any other Avenger save Tony or Cap.  Despite that, we still have yet to see a Black Widow solo movie.  Yet, as one of the MCU’s richest creations, she’s worthy of serious acclaim.  This piece has been rolling around in my head for some time.  Given Avengers: Infinity War’s release this week has me looking back, getting nostalgic over, and celebrating the MCU, it seemed like the perfect time to finally write it. Continue reading