Loki and Questions of the MCU’s Multiverse

I just watched the first episode of Loki and decided to sit down and write about it.  This NEVER happens for me!  Normally I’ve too many thoughts to order as I write or life is too busy to go from reading/viewing to writing to posting or both.  Either way, here we are :).  I didn’t go into Loki planning to write about it.  But as I watched several serious questions began swirling around in my head.  And I figured, “What the Hel?  Just write.”  So here we are.  If you’ve not seen it, I won’t discuss any major surprises but I’ll be exploring the basic plot setup and the questions it’s presentation of the multiverse gives us.  Coolio?  Coolio.  Let’s jump into all the first episode of Loki gives us to consider about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s concept of the multiverse, shall we?

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How to Top Thanos Vol. 3 – War of the Realms

This is the third installment in my li’l series where I try to figure out where the Marvel Cinematic Universe should go after Thanos.  As I know Kevin Feige and co. are regular readers of the blog, I like to help them out when I can.  What can I say?  I’m a giver.  For ten years all the narratives across the MCU slowly converged, bringing all our heroes together to battle Thanos on his quest for the Infinity Stones.  While Covid has delayed the beginning of the MCU’s Phase Four, we’ve still got a new overarching story about to unfold.  So what has the gravitas to follow the MCU’s epic, medium-defining Infinity Saga?  My first two ideas were character-centric, considering which villain could be intimidating and powerful enough to follow the Mad Titan.  This time I’m focusing more on tonal issues.  What type of story would be a worthy successor to the Infinity Saga?  Turns out the best way to follow Thanos is with a Marvel Cinematic Universe rendition of the WAR OF THE REALMS.  Huzzah!

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Iron Man, Endgame, and the Thanos of Pandemic Teaching

Amidst the sea of emotions pandemic teaching brings, I find myself often thinking of Tony Stark’s character arc through Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.  So the other day, to explore these thoughts (and avoid thinking only of school once I was home), I decided to rewatch both films back to back.  I realized two things.  First, I was very critical of Avengers: Infinity War when it first came out and, while I stand by my critiques of the glaring plot holes throughout, I grant the film works much better when watched with Avengers: Endgame.  On its own, it’s disappointing.  But as the first half of a six hour movie, it’s far more enjoyable.  Second, Tony Stark’s journey is a surprisingly solid metaphorical stand-in for what teaching feels like right now.  Or, so as to not universalize my feelings for every teacher everywhere, Tony Stark’s journey serves as a surprisingly solid metaphorical stand-in for what teaching feels like right now for me.  Would you like to know what pandemic teaching is like?  Well, if you’ve seen Infinity War and Endgame it turns out you already kinda know. Continue reading

Spider-Man and the Avengers: Considering the Web-Head’s Place Amongst Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

I feel I write about Spider-Man and his being a member of the Avengers tangentially in a lot of posts.  It’s often an aside, here or there.  Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of Spidey being an Avenger (or part of the Fantastic Four’s Future Foundation or anything).  I’ve always seen Spider-Man as a solo act, Peter Parker’s character not readily lining up with the whole “super team” thing.  Plus, is swinging around and sticking to things really the type of small-time power set you want when battling Thanos, Kang the Conqueror, Annihilus, or Ultron?  Still, that’s my bias and it’s anchored in my preconceived notions.  So I decided I wanted to sincerely look at the idea of “Spider-Man, Avenger” with an open mind.  The time to make an informed decision had come! Continue reading

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Problem of Fat Shaming

In a recent post about the first teaser trailer for Black Widow, I discussed my excitement for the film while pointing out the criticism Marvel received almost as soon as the trailer premiered for fat shaming again.  In addition to all the (fair and deserving) praise Avengers: Endgame received, it also received some (fair and deserving) criticism for fat shaming in their presentation of Thor.  The trailer for Black Widow does the same with the character of Red Guardian.  A comment left on that post led to the idea for this one.  While putting together my reply, I decided it warranted its own post.  I write often of the intersection of comic books and social justice issues on this site so it’s not just natural but important I address this because fat shaming, or weightism, is a justice issue.  It’s also one, sadly, many people in our culture don’t understand or, worse, don’t even acknowledge as an issue at all.  Thankfully that’s starting to change and now seems like an opportune time to add my voice to that chorus. Continue reading

#DontSpoilTheEndgame – What Compels Us to Spoil Things?

In the weeks leading up to Avengers: Endgame, I did what any conscientious fan has to do now – I got off social media, stopped reading any and all articles online, and stopped viewing video clips and interviews with the cast and the Russos.  I didn’t want the conclusion of a story I’ve watched unfold for a decade inadvertently spoiled for me.  In the days leading up to the film and the days following its release, the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame began to trend as the stars of the film and the Marvel Studios/Disney marketing machine urged people not to ruin anything for the fans who hadn’t seen it yet.  Of course people still did.  Then Marvel Studios/Disney did.  Apparently the whole “don’t spoil it” thing’s cutoff is two weekends.  Then the spoilers came fast and they were BIG.  It leaves me asking, what is wrong with people??  Why must we publicly discuss twists/the end at all? Continue reading

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

Best MCU Viewing Order / My Avengers: Endgame Preparation!

It’s that time of year again.  It’s time for me to add stress and pressure to my life by trying to wrap all daily obligations around a now TWENTY-ONE FILM movie marathon before seeing the twenty-second entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame.  Last year I said the MCU was getting too large for this.  I can’t marathon their entire catalogue three times a year with each new entry.  But I also admitted I’d have to do this at least once more because Avengers: Endgame is the closing chapter of the MCU’s first generation.  If I marathoned it all for Avengers: Infinity War, then I had to for Avengers: Endgame.  I figured I’d discuss my preferred viewing order now too.  Why is it the best?  Um, well it’s the one I’ve chosen for myself and why wouldn’t I pick what I like best for myself?  Do you agree, dear reader?  Well, there’s only one way to find out…read on and let’s get our Mighty Marvel Movie Marathon on together! Continue reading

The Imperial Avengers Assemble!

Since I pushed Mike to present his Avenger’s Dream Team he, in turn, told me that I had to share my own squad of Avenging superheroes. As I have been soaking up Marvel stories lately, and not really interested in the Star Wars content being pumped out by Disney (which has resulted in my having absolutely nothing to say about Star Wars over on my site), I figured I would take Mike up on the offer and share my own team – “The Imperial Avengers.” That said, I should note that whereas I am a savant with Star Wars, my knowledge of the Marvel-verse is plebian compared to Michael. Soooo, you know, just bear with me here as I struggle to explain my rationale for choosing my team. Continue reading

My Avengers Dream Team

Reading Brian Michael Bendis’ The New Avengers lately (first the issues in “Civil War” and now I’m wading through the equally lengthy “Secret Invasion”) I can’t help but think: He just picked whatever superheroes he liked and made them Avengers.  I mean, c’mon.  Spider-Man?!?  Wolverine?!?  Luke Cage and Jessica Jones?!?  I love Spidey but he’s a neighborhood guy.  The same goes for Luke and Jessica; they’re street-level heroes.  And Wolverine?  The guy’s not a joiner AT ALL let alone randomly becoming an Avenger.  Jason Aaron’s done the same thing with his new team.  Ghost Rider?  Doctor Strange?  What the heck??  But then I realized THAT’S WHY YOU’D WANT TO WRITE AVENGERS BECAUSE YOU GET TO DESIGN YOUR OWN TEAM.  Moments after this realization hit it naturally led me to consider – Who would fill my Avengers dream team? Continue reading